tv The Bush Years Part Three A Family Triumph CNN March 10, 2019 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
to save 30% on all the medications we carry. so go directly to petmeds.com now. >> george h.w. bush is determined to get to the white house and his former rival puts the dream within his grasp. from one generation to the next, the bush family are on a mission to win. >> but will scandal destroy his chances? >> i was aware of our iran initiative and i support the president's decision.
>> george h.w. bush is fighting to be the republican party's candidate for the 1980 presidential election. >> some of those other bigger shots out there, they don't need you as much as i do. i need your help at those caucuses. >> his five children, wife barbara have been with him every step of the way. >> it's a great training ground. it's really excellent. >> i think it's going pretty good. >> but it hasn't been enough. >> dad didn't win the nomination. but for a guy that went into the race with below 1% recognition nationally as a candidate, he came from major underdog status. and yet he had ultimately just fell beneath ronald reagan.
>> george bush represents a moderate republican. >> his only hope is that reagan might choose him as his running mate. >> when we arrived in detroit, there was no warmth between reagan and bush at that time. they had been in a bitter primary battle and there were rumors that reagan was going to pick anybody but bush as his running mate because he didn't like bush. >> gerald ford emerged as the favorite and there's this great speculation that there could be a dream ticket. ronald reagan as president, gerald ford, former president, as vice president. >> we came not asking for a job. we came here not expecting --
>> dejected, george and his team watch as gerald ford interviewed by walter cronkite. >> it is true that i did have a meeting with governor reagan. >> it's looking more and more likely like ford is going to be reagan's pick to be vice president. and we were quite down. we thought it was over. we were making plans to leave. >> george begins to pack his bags to go back to texas. it's getting on to midnight. he then gets a phone call. >> and i answered the phone and this voice on the phone that i recognized said governor reagan would like to speak to ambassador bush. >> turns out that ronald reagan has also been watching the cronkite interview.
>> i would not go to washington and be a figure head vice president. >> it's got to be something like a co-presidency. >> that's something that governor reagan really ought to consider. >> reagan is not happy with the idea of gerald ford as co-president. that is not on. >> reagan says, george, i'm just about to go back to convention hall and i'd like to announce that you're my vice presidential nominee. how do you feel about that? and george said yes, sir. yes, sir. yes, sir. and then he went like this. >> i am recommending to this convention that tomorrow when the session reconvenes that george bush be my nominee for vice president. >> down in the deepest depths and suddenly with one phone call you're on the top of the
mountain. >> just a few minutes before he appeared at the convention, out of the clear blue sky, i might add, governor reagan called me up and asked if i would be willing to run with him on this ticket. >> i was actually in the hallway outside the hotel room that night and he and barbara come out of the hotel room having had a little bit to drink during the time they thought the race was over. >> i was surprised. >> the look on their faces was of unexpected joy. they thought it was the end and now it was the beginning. >> i was actually in germany on honeymoon. i was dying to know what was happening at the convention and there's a german headline and it had a picture of reagan and dad. so we had somebody translate that dad had been picked by reagan. >> it's a great thrill to see your father be nominated vice
president, but after governor reagan made his decision that bush would be the running mate, there was no question. >> i feel honored that i would be selected to be on the ticket with ronald reagan and i'm going to work hard to see that he is elected the president of the united states. >> reagan and bush sweep to victory against jimmy carter. >> vice president elect george bush waving to supporters. >> bringing george bush to within a heartbeat of the presidency. >> he's done it. he is now one of the power brokers. >> it's a great pleasure to have our family here. >> bush is now number two but he can't imagine what's going to happen next. everyone's got to listen to mom.
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i george herbert walker bush. >> i george herbert walker bush. >> do solemnly swear. >> for my dad to be on that podium taking the oath of office for vice president of the united states was amazing. >> at some point during the inaugural helen leaned over and said who would have thunk it? not too bad for two guys from texas without any vision. >> with george bush winning the
vice presidentcy, that changes everything in the family. >> george and barbara are settling into their new home. the naval observatory in washington. >> george bush wanted to be president since his childhood and now he's a step away. now this doesn't mean that reagan and bush are all that comfortable with each other. >> reagan and bush were very different in a sense. different backgrounds. ronald reagan was a product of poverty stricken situation where he grew up in iowa. not a man of great wealth. >> bush was an elite. he was a person who was ivy league educated. reagan had gone to a small college. bush was a war hero. reagan had been an actor and worked in propaganda films during the war. aside from being republican,
these two men had very, very little in common. >> bush was on his first trip back to texas and just as the plane was gathering speed to take off from the air force base the word was flashed to the head of the secret service detail that there had been an assault on president reagan. we all turned on the television that was in the cabin. >> shots were fired at president reagan in washington as he left the hilton hotel. it appears that there were three men apparently that had been hit. >> the bullet ricochetted off a car frame and imbedded itself in reagan's chest close to his heart. >> it was reported that the bullet had punctured a lung. >> george bush is then flying back to washington.
he is told that he should land on south lawn. >> bush says, no, only the president of the united states lands on the south lawn. i will not do that. please take me to the vice presidential residence and from there i will go on to the white house. >> bush shows in that moment that he is not clamoring the limelight looking like he's in charge. >> i have a very brief statement that i'd like to read. >> it shows his natural humility and his respect for the presidency. >> i can reassure this nation and a watching world that the american government is functioning fully and effectively. >> it immediately impressed the reagan circle that george bush was indeed a member of the team and a local reaganite just as they were. >> after 12 days in the hospital, the president returns to the white house with a new
appreciation for his second in command. >> the president between the two of them grew week after week, month after month. they would meet every thursday for lunch and have tex mex in the private dining room in the west wing and they're able to talk freely among themselves. >> he became a very, very close friend of reagan. they had a great association. >> president reagan's message to all of us in the white house was to make sure the vice president was in all the meetings and had all the information so that if anything happened vice president bush was ready to step in. >> he was intensely loyal to ronald reagan. there was no question about it. and he was careful not to ever step on the president's lead, if you will. >> george bush was the perfect vice president for ronald reagan. he would give the president his best advice, but he would do it
privately. >> president reagan likes bush and likes barbara. nancy, not so sure. >> nancy was a fierce protective of hermann like barbara was of george. so there was a rocky kind of relationship. >> nancy reagan did not like barbara bush at all. george would say it was because they weren't in the same class. but others would say it's because nancy was jealous of barbara bush. >> barbara bush was the matriarch of this big clan that seemed to love to spend time together. nancy reagan had very toxic relationships with her children and step children. nancy was beautifully dressed in designer clothes, always perfect. barbara bush didn't really care about that stuff. she didn't dress as well. she let her hair go white. nancy reagan almost never has the bushes up to the private
family quarters in the white house. she doesn't invite the bushes to one of the most glamorous events they had at the white house which was the dinner for princess di. >> while the reagans hold court at 1600 pennsylvania avenue, george and barbara escape the pressures of office at the family home in maine. >> it became the refuge. it was a wonderful place to be. the sound of the surf. it makes you feel so good at night when you go to sleep. just complete relaxation. >> my grandfather was not a rules guy. he was always a have fun guy. my grandmother would stop him and say no, no, no, pierce has to do his summer reading. >> we had a very big family, so so many cousins our age and we would play outside all day long and then at night we would always have dinner together as a family. we still do. my grandmother would come up and
we would all lay in bed and she would tuck us in. >> barbara bush had been the glue for this family from the start. and it was important to both of them that they had this clan that stuck together. ♪ ♪ do you love me? ♪ ♪ i can really move ♪ ♪ do you love me? ♪ i'm in the groove ♪ now do you love me? ♪ do you love me ♪ now that i can dance? ♪ watch me now! ♪ work, work, ah work it out baby ♪ applebee's 3 course meal starting at $11.99. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. if old sphow will theyense helps know i worked hard?, i've gotta make stuff harder.
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good morning mr. vice president. >> good morning, jane. >> from left to right i think i know george and jeb and marvin and neil. george, you and i think a couple of your brothers have been active in politics. what is it like, though, following in those kinds of footsteps? >> it's very easy, jane, because he's never put any amount of pressure on us. he's never put his expectations on us and let us be our own type people. but you're right being a george bush in this day and age has got some unusual straights to it. >> but actually george w. always felt the pressure of expectation of his dad. to live up to him in school and business life and political life. >> george w. and laura are living in midland, texas. like his father, george has set up an oil company. it's spanish for bush. but it's struggling to make money. and laura is concerned about her
husband. >> he wasn't just the life of the party. he was the party. when you spend time around him you could see why. he's fun and he loves people. so you can see in your 20s or your 30s how that could lead to excess. >> he likes to indulge in what they call in west texas the three bs, bourbon before dinner, beer with dinner, brandy after dinner. and laura bush says that leads to the fourth b which is he turns into a bore. >> by contrast his brother is doing fine in miami. >> he's settling in with columba and his three children, george, noelle and jeb jr. and the world is his oyster in miami. >> he has a successful career in real estate and wants to follow his father into politics but first he must convince his wife. >> columba bush wants no part of
politics. she sees it as a losing proposition. she doesn't like the scrutiny. >> but jeb sees this opportunity to become chairman of the republican party of the county. he decides this could be the start of his political career. >> in the end she has no choice because jeb bush decided that politics is where i'm aiming for. he is a real issue guy. >> jeb bush is a hardcore conservative, building his own political machine. george and barbara bush are looking and thinking maybe, just maybe, he's the one.
>> when the bush family does something, they're all in. >> glad to see you. thank you for coming out today. >> the current trend continues and there is every expectation that it will, this is going to be perhaps an historic night. >> as the 1984 ends with a landslide for the ticket, george realizes it's probably not too early to think of what will happen at the end of the second term of ronald reagan. >> george bush came out of the re-election campaign in 1984 wanting to seek the presidency. but george is keeping his cards close to his chest. >> would you like to run for president?
>> i know this is going to strain your credibility but i honestly don't think about that. >> away from politics, george and barbara's family is growing. like jeb, neil, marvin, and doro are also married with young children. and george w. and laura have twins. jenna and barbara. >> my mom had grown up as an only child and every night she would wish upon a star that she had siblings. having kids was something that they had deeply wanted and then they got two of us. >> anyone who is going to seek the presidency is going to put tremendous demands on his or her family. it's just the nature of campaigning. >> guys, has your father discussed '88 in anyway, shape, or form? >> sure. we all think he would be a great candidate in '88. >> total agreement. i believe he would be a great president of the united states. >> yeah.
>> but he's the republican county chairman of dade county, florida, miami. you want to ask jeb, don't skip him. >> i hope he runs and i look forward to it. >> i think george is going to have to decide what he is going to do. >> george h.w. bush holds a family summit and invites his political advisers. >> very pointedly, the family sits on one side of that long table and the political operatives sit on the other side. it's a very clean sign that blood is thicker than water in the bush family. >> george w. was always a little skeptical of this group around his father. he wanted to make sure that our agenda was his father's agenda. >> the team is lead by lee atwater. a young politico with a ruthless reputation. >> lee atwater is a master of
negative campaigning. you have to smear and crush your opponent. you have to damage their reputation. and george w. says to lee atwater, how do we know we can trust you? you got to understand, we love this man and we're going to do anything we can to protect him. and lee atwater suggests that george w. come to washington to help run the campaign. and his father says, if you want to join me, i'd love to have you. >> but george w. bush doesn't know his father is going to be in a controversy that's very toxic and might even destroy any chance he has for ever being president. what does help for heart failure look like? it looks like george having a busy day. ♪ the beat goes on
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vice president bush thinks reagan's second term is going to be a good launching pad for his campaign for the presidency. >> george bush needs ronald reagan. he knows he has to be loyal in order to have any chance that they'll support him. >> bush made a pledge to ronald reagan that he would always support him. that he would always have his back and he made good on that pledge. but in november 1986, a story breaks that puts the entire reagan presidency, including bush's vice president on the hot seat. >> good evening, there's a number of reports tonight that the united states arranged for the shipment of military parts
to iran as part of a deal for the release of three american hostages. >> this was in direct violation of u.s. law which prevented the sale of arms to any country on the terrorist list of the united states. >> the president is refusing public comment. >> this is a plot that's been cooked up in the inner counsels of the reagan administration and president reagan and vice president bush know about it. >> the scandal escalates when it emerges that money from the sale of arms to iran is channelled to the guerrillas in central america. >> the press considers iran contra to be reagan and bush's watergate and at every opportunity they were asking bush about it.
he's suddenly consumed by scandal and people in washington are using the word impeachment. >> the vice president boys to pressure. he admits he knew about the sale of arms to iran but denies he was aware of the transfer of funds. >> vice president george bush is trying to put some distance between himself and the arms deal which he acknowledges probably hurt him politically. >> if the truth hurts so be it. we have to take our lumps and move ahead. thank you very much. >> after a lengthy official investigation reagan and bush are cleared of any illegal wrong doing but the damage to their reputations has been done. >> iran contra was a serious blow. it becomes a dent in bush's armor. >> bush hoped he would going to sail into office on reagan's coat tails. now there aren't any coat tails.
>> he's thinking about trying to run for the white house with lead weights on his feet. >> i am here today to announce my candidacy for president of the united states. >> 1979 when we were campaigning, dad was not known at all so there was the underdog approach. by the time '88 rolled around, everyone knew who vice president bush was. >> his justification for running for president was that he was a continuation of the ronald reagan presidency. he believed in the reagan policies and supported it and made changes in his own position over the years so he was very much somebody who the american people could expect to perform as did his predecessor.
>> he's a better vice president when she's around and he's a better candidate when she's around and as advisers go i don't think there's one more important. >> for 43 years i found the way for us to have a successful marriage is for george to stay out of my household business and i stay out of his office business. >> we're going down life's highway together after 43 years of marriage. >> i'd like to be like mrs. reagan. i'd like to look like her and i would like to have run the white house as she had done. but i wouldn't be like mrs. reagan, only because i'm larger, different, i'm barbara bush. >> barbara was tough. she could be grandmotherly on one hand and a lot of people loved her but you didn't want to cross mrs. bush. and i think that she had no
hesitation at all about telling her husband or sons exactly what she thought and there wasn't any question about her loyalty or what she wanted for her family. >> george w. is becoming a key player on his father's campaign team. >> i'm so glad to be back in texas. because east texas and texas are going to be george bush country this november. >> george quits the oil business and makes a life changing decision. >> george w. bush goes to colorado with laura to celebrate his and her and the 40th birthday of several of their friends. >> i happened to be there the night that he had way -- that all of us had way too much to drink. >> the next morning he wakes up and he feels terrible. he has an awful hangover.
>> george takes his morning jog and he stops in the middle of it, which he had never done before and it's at that point that he realizes, it has to stop. >> he committed to never taking another drop of alcohol. i think he was wise in saying when i drink i drink too much. i don't want to do that anymore. >> he had things that were so important in his life. his marriage to my mother. his relationship with my sister and me. his career. he's always been very driven. and that drinking was crowding out the things that were most important to him. >> once he pulled his life together and quit drinking he made up for lost time. he said i got to get back together and get moving and he moved quickly. >> it's with great pride that i
introduce my big little brother georgie. >> one reason we're working so hard is because our dad needs a real job. thank you very much. >> george w. was very much involved in the campaign. almost there to make sure that the campaign was run the way his father wanted it to be run. >> he's become his father's surrogate and most trusted adviser. his father really sees his political chops during the course of the campaign and george w. bush makes a real contribution. >> laura and i sold our house to come up to washington to be in the campaign, which has been, by the way, for a political junkie a fantastic experience to be close to my dad during this. >> he starts asking himself and even other people what might a future in big league politics look like for me?
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the bush family are campaigning hard to send their family to the white house. but the candidate has a problem with his image. >> we thing we almost hear is good guys finish last. your father is a nice guy. is that going to hurt him this time around? does he need to get more tough with everybody? >> i don't think toughness equates. you can be a nice guy and make tough decisions. >> he's been a loyal vice president up to now and it's going to be his time in the sun. he has not tried to up stage ronald reagan during the past several years. >> george bush has to stop being seen as ronald reagan's number two. he has to be seen in the eyes of
the american public as a president in his own right. >> there was a lot of suspicions about whether bush was strong enough and tough enough to be president of the united states. >> newsweek magazine, we do a cover story. >> he wrote in his diary that it with was the cheapest shot he had ever seen in his life. >> people on my aircraft carrier in combat didn't feel that way. the people in business didn't feel that way. the people in the cia didn't feel that way and the american people won't feel that way. >> where did the term come from? >> i've given you my answer. >> having participated in the story, i can tell you, it was a mistake. it's too harsh. bush was not a wimp. we shouldn't have done that and bush was right to be mad. >> it effected me because i know he's no wimp.
when you're loyal and subservient to a president and you give your soul to that person, of course people are going to frame it in this case the wimp factor. >> in the iowa caucus, bush can't shake the wimp factor. he comes in a distant third between bob doyle and pat robinson. >> what happened in iowa is we got whipped. we wanted to win but we understand the road to the nomination is a very long road. george bush is a winner and no one is going to out work him to see to it that he wins this nomination. >> to stay in the race, george bush must win the next state primary. new hampshire. thank you all for that warm welcome. it's warm in new hampshire.
>> iowa picks corn, new hampshire picks presidents. in new hampshire a campaign is what we call see me, touch me, feel me. you have to go look the voters in the eye. >> how are you? >> h.w. puts in long hours on the road in a desperate attempt to reignite has campaign. >> his greatest strength was the way he interacted one-on-one with people and we worked very hard to make sure that he shook as many hands as possible. >> the meet the people campaigning pays off. >> we won new hampshire by 9.5 points. >> reports of my death were greatly exaggerated. >> george h.w. bush arrives at the republican convention having swept aside his rivals.
>> texas cast all her votes for her favorite son and the best father in america, george bush. >> thank you very much. >> george h.w. bush makes his pitch to be elected leader of the free world. >> i have fought for my country. i have served. i have built. and i'll go from the hills, from the cities to the suburbs to the loneliest town on the quitest street to take our message of hope and growth for every american to every american. i will keep america moving forward always forward. for a better america and endless enduring dream. this is my mission and i will complete it.
>> i just remember being inspired and moved and proud of him. we talked about how he wanted to call upon the greater good in all of us to serve our nation. >> george also makes a pledge he will live to regret. >> my opponent won't rule out raising taxes but i will and the congress will push me to raise taxes and i'll say no and they'll push again and i'll say to them read my lips, no new taxes. >> even though he got the nomination he still has a mountain to climb if he's going to prove he's worthy of being president and win the election. >> bush is up against liberal democrat michael ducaucus. he presents himself as the liberal underdog.
>> there's a sense in which bush's baggage has finally caught up with him. the baggage of being having no political backbone of his own. >> the polls are too close to call. time to take the gloves off. >> vice president bush did not have an instinct for the jugular. lee atwater was born grabbing someone's jugular. atwater frequently said to me and to others, this is war. so you use every weapon at your disposal. ♪ ♪ ahhh, ha.
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win in 1988. but winning in politics often means getting down in the mud. >> george bush understood that politics was a blood sport, and he was willing to get out there and do what he needed to do by way of going on the offense and that sort of a thing when he had to. but he wasn't particularly comfortable with it. >> one of the things that bush's campaign are determined to do is hammer this idea that bush is strong on crime. michael ducaucus is soft on crime. >> bush's campaign about furloughs for convicted criminals. >> remember clinton he looked him in the eye and said make my
day. my opponent looks him in the eye and he says have a nice weekend, and that's the difference between me and him. >> and that comes to the specific case, which was willy horton. >> willy horton who murdered a boy in a robbery stabbing him 19 times. >> an independent group -- not the campaign but an independent group makes an ad about willy horton. >> despite a life sennance horton fled, kidnapped a young couple, stabbing a man and repeatedly raping his young girlfriend. >> the infamous willie horton advertisement focuses just on willie horton's face. and it is the face of a black man. >> it does something that's frankly despicable that goes back to jim crow era if not before reminding voters that crime is something to be worried about, and frankly that a
african-americans, black men in particular are dangerous. >> it's never been proven with absolute certainty that bush himself knew, but certainly the super structure of the bush campaign was well aware of who was doing this and how they were doing it. >> the commercial had been running for nearly a month before the bush campaign intervenes. >> i wrote them a letter as chairman of the bush campaign saying we don't want you to run this anymore and we weren't happy with it. >> but even if they eventually denounced the willie horton advertisement, it takes them some time because they recognize politically it's expedient and there's something in it for them because it hurts michael ducaucus. >> michael ducaucus ran a miserable campaign and really had no idea how to deal with the foreign policy questions. george bush had the better
agenda on both foreign policy and domestic policy. >> bush was able to say i'm kindler, gentler. ducaucus was a horrible candidate, really bad. and bush was just more likable. >> as the race enters the homestretch bush pulls ahead in the polls. he returns home to be with his family on election night. >> he's been exercising and relaxing and jittering around, getting a little nervous. and he's not jumping up and down for joy because he's not counting this victory yet. there's still polls open all over america. >> george is not taking his lead for granted. >> the apprehension, the nervous waiting and anxiety. it'll be all or nothing. >> the vice president seemed a
little nervous. barbara bush seemed much more relaxed. it was all small talk and almost trying to avoid discussing what was happening. >> i hate to comment before we know the final score. >> we have begun to receive some very early numbers of the presidential race. >> it was just an amazing moment to have all the family gathered. >> bush 70%, ducaucus 33%. >> things were coming in. it all looked very positive. >> and finally the wait is over. >> nbc news now projects that george bush is president-elect of the united states. >> it's hard to put in words the feeling that your dad had become president of the united states. >> hard to contain yourself because you just feel like you're knowing to explode.
it's such a wonderful feeling. >> and i want to talk about my family. fact is i'd be nothing without them, our four sons, our daughter and my own barbara bush. and i guess -- i guess i shouldn't say she's my own anymore. for soon she'll be the first lady of all the united states. >> it's the fruition of his dreams. he has finally achieved the ultimate political prize. and that's a triumph not only for george bush but for the bush family. >> next on the bush years -- >> i think our family would do anything for each other. >> i jfb great confidence in the integrity and honor of my son. >> george w. bush now has the opportunity to step out from under his father's shadow.
>> tonight the battle has been joined. >> this was bush speak for we're going to throw that man out of kuwait whether he likes it or not. a search for answers and repercussions for a major plane manufacturer after a horrific crash kills everyone onboard an ethiopian airlines flight to nairobi. plus president trump settles in for another fight as he proposes slashing the u.s. budget drastically on health care and education in order to pay for his border wall. at the top critic of venezuela's president nicolas maduro says the country has already collapsed. juan guaido sits down with cnn for an interview. hello and welcome to our viewers joining us in the united states and oall around the