of the country. we are going to continue in our coverage tonight of the life and death of president george h.w. bush. our 41st president who served eight years as vice president and director of central intelligence, among many other things. tonight he is gone. ♪ >> shannon: if you are joining us, breaking news coverage of the death of president george h.w. bush. i'm shannon bream at fox news world headquarters in new york. president bush 41 has died. he was 94, the oldest president in u.s. history. bush 41 spent the summer at his home in kennebunkport, maine. condolences and fond memories are pouring in from presidents, former advisors, and well wishes from around the world. he's being remembered as a statesman, an icon of the greatest generation, and one-of-a-kind. bret baier looks back at the life of this american hero. >> for a new breeze is blowing, and a world refreshed by freedom
seems reborn, for in man's heart, if not, in fact, the day of the dictator is over. >> bret: george bush as hard as test as president was giving the green light for operation desert storm. but he is credited with rescuing the tiny, oil-rich nation of kuwait from saddam hussein's million man army of iraq. the forge george herbert walker bush took his first step into the white house, he learned to walk in kennebunkport, maine. during to born june 12th, 1924, and the town of milton, massachusetts, to a family alrey deeply involved in public service, he was the second of five children to dorothy and senator prescott bush. with high school behind him, george was accepted at yale university, but put his education on hold. the start of the second world war beckoned him to serve his country instead. in 1942, george bush celebrated his 18th birthday by enlisting in the u.s. naval reserve. within a year, he was ensign
bush, the youngest fighter pilot in the navy. taking part in 58 combat missions in the pacific theater, bush was flying his plane on a special bombing mission over china when he was shot down by the japanese and was forced to bail out at sea. he survived, though his crew did not. >> i'm floating around in his raft, paddling, and then all of a sudden, saw this tower come up and saw the submarine service. >> bret: by the end of the war inside, bush set his sights on barbara peers. the two wed in 1945 while bush was still in the navy. they would have six children, including our 43rd president, george w. bush, and popular florida governor, jeb. bush left the navy and graduated yale before he and barbara moved to texas to find his dreams on an oil field. by the age of 30, he was cofounder and president of zapata offshore, which pioneered experimental drilling equipment.
but just like his father, bush was attracted to public service and politics. after losing his first political race for a senate seat in 1964, he was elected to the house of representatives two years later, serving two terms, encouraged by richard nixon to run again for the senate in 1970, he was defeated a second time. he moved on to high government positions. in 1971, richard nixon appointed him ambassador to the united nations, and in 1973, he became chairman of the republican national committee at the height of the watergate scandal. in that role, bush urged nixon to resign for the good of the party. >> i shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow. >> bret: president gerald ford sent bush to china as chief of the u.s. liaison office. a short time later, he called him home to be director of the cia, and bush was credited with bringing morale back to that agency. bush left in 1977, when
president carter entered the white house. by 1979, he was ready to get back into the political ring. >> ladies and gentlemen, i am a candidate for president of the united states. [applause] >> bret: bush was seen as a moderate alternative to ronald reagan, but dropped out of the presidential campaign after poor primary performances. a short time later, he accepted reagan's offer to be his running mate. reagan won in a landslide. during his eight years as vice president, bush was credited with softening reagan's view of the soviet union and pressed hard on issues like deregulation and the war on drugs. international progression, bush became the republican party nominee in 1988 with senator dan quayle from indiana as his running mate. the republican team defeated massachusetts governor michael dukakis and texas senator lloyd benson. >> i, george herbert walker bush, do solemnly swear... >> bret: during his president,
the soviet union dissolved, the berlin wall fell, and manuel noriega was arrested, securing the panama canal. everything came to a head when iraq's saddam hussein invaded neighboring kuwait. >> we are not walking away until our mission is done, until the invader is out of kuwait! >> bret: president bush reacted quickly, committing over 400,000 u.s. troops, and building a strong coalition of allies. operation desert storm had begun. the majority of america supported the president's decision to throw saddam hussein back into iraq and bush's popularity rating hit an all-time high. most thought he was unbeatable for a second term. but a broken campaign promise... >> read my lips: no new taxes: to. >> bret: would come back to haunt the 41st president. in the fall of 1992, with the war a distant memory,
george bush lost reelection to former arkansas governor bill clinton. bush traveled to kuwait to commemorate the gulf war in 1993. an assassination plot on his life was uncovered by bush was unharmed. it was later discovered the part of poorly orchestrated plan was the work of the iraqi intelligence service. the kuwaiti court would convict all but one of the defendants. bush retired to texas with barbara, getting in a few rounds of horseshoes and celebrating countless birthdays buy birthdays by parachuting out of planes. spending time with her family in maine and reliving memories of when he was a boy. >> i can honestly say that the three most rewarding titles bestowed upon me are the three that i have got to left: husband, father, and granddad. >> bret: while retired, his life was active until the end. joining forces with former political flow bill clinton to raise money for the victims of
their 2004 indian ocean tsunami, and hurricane katrina in 2005. the former presidents formed a close friendship, continuing their charity work and enjoying annual lunches at busch's home in kennebunkport and using his experience and insights to serve as a quiet advisor to his eldest son, the 43rd president. here, attending george w. bush's presidential library dedication in 2013, and sharing a few words. >> glad to be here. god bless america and thank you very much. [applause] >> bret: bush even kept up with public debate by joining twitter, where he often shared photos of his colorful socks that began part of his signature look. each brought health challenges, of course. a form of parkinson's disease that left him in a wheelchair, and brief hospital stays in his 90s for pneumonia, bronchitis, and a fall in his home.
but not enough to keep them out of the limelight, throwing out the first pitch before a 2016 baseball game, and pregame ceremonies months later at the super bowl in his houston home town. reuniting with his former running mate and vice president dan quayle in july, and then catching a glimpse of the rare eclipse that crossed the country alongside his family in maine in august. one of bush's last public appearances was that his beloved wife, barbara, a part of his funeral, where he met with former presidents, first ladies, and the current first lady, melania trump. he recently returned to his vacation home town of kennebunkport, maine, joining fellow veterans with a pancake breakfast before he was hospitalized. this was the first time in decades that neither he nor his wife attended the annual memorial day parade. he wrote in a tweet, "i am forever grateful not only to
those patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, but also the gold star families heritage is imbued with their honor and heroism." known for his maturity and straightforward approach, george h.w. bush called this country to be better in hopes of inspiring the people to be great. >> i think historians are going to say that we did pretty well, and that's all right for me. i'm not in any rush. in heaven, let down and let them make that determination. >> shannon: tonight, bret baier is with us, anchor of "special report" in the geopolitical anchor. bret, you think about that, he talks about being in heaven, and we are all thinking about him and his reunion that he is having with his wife and their young daughter that they lost many, many decades ago. >> bret: shannon, tonight i'm at the reagan presidential library ahead of the reagan national defense forum this
weekend. behind me, air force one, where president reagan took it around the world on his vice president, george h.w. bush. i think the world will probably, as the president said, smiled down. history will tell how the world remembers the term of president george h.w. bush. but what i am struck by is the family relationship. i mean, think about this, 17 grandchildren, eight grandchildren. his oldest daughter, robin, died when she was four years old in 1953. when barbara bush died, his wif wife, there was that moment where, at the funeral, president bush was sitting in his wheelchair, doro bush, his daughter, behind him, and he is looking at the casket. it was a moment that really, i
think, captured the feeling of this family, as he was saying goodbye to his wife of so many years. the other thing that captured the imagination, i think, of the american people, was a cartoon actually that barbara bush is seen going to heaven and reuniting with her daughter, 4-year-old daughter, who died, robin. now, as you look at these pictures, you think about that reunification, and you think about the love of his life who he is now with, and obviously, with robin as well. i think history will look back at president george h.w. bush is an honorable, decent man, and as a good president, who change the trajectory of the united states. >> shannon: certainly on the world stage. with the cold war in his foreign policy as well.
we will bring in chris wallace. we want to read a tweet from jeb bush. "nothing gave him his leadership taught us to be kinder and gentler, true love each other. we will miss him dearly. chris, that is going to be a very interesting conversation for this country to have. as we talked about, it will likely be very bipartisan over the next couple of days, as we remember the life of this very special man and former presiden president. >> chris: absolutely. there is a sense in the country now that it's a zero-sum game, that one side wins, the other side loses, and that was not the way that george h.w. bush view to life and certainly not the way he viewed politics, as i said earlier, he was very competitive, very tough, fought hard for a variety of positions, fought hard to become president, and was certainly
crossed for a short time when he lost in 1992 to bill clinton. but he had a sense of the community that this country is, and there is much more that unites us than divides us, and boy, if we can have more of that conversation over the next few days as we celebrate his life and observe his death, that will be a very -- his last contribution to this country. i wanted to mention, shannon, there was a lot of talk today amongst people that president bush might be in trouble. we have heard this a variety of crimes, that he might be near death. he was a tough bird, and a number of times, he was hospitalized. things seemed serious. i wrote to a couple of his top staff people, one of them, jim mcgrath, his press spokesman, and i said, i hate to ask this
question but is he in trouble? and he wrote a note back and basically said, it yes, he's having a tough week but he's haa lot of tough weeks and he bounces back and he then said, this morning, less than 24 hours ago, he had three eggs for breakfast and is at home resting comfortably. so the people closest to him were not at all convinced that this was going to be the end for george w. bush. i also wrote a note to a wonderful woman, really, who's been so close to him, his chief of staff, and one of the things i always got a kick out of, and i have been in touch with her over the years, since he left office, we arranged a variety of interviews, the president and all of his staff's email address was flfw.com.
i always wondered what that meant. i finally figured out, "former leader of free world.com." that was kind of the light way in which george h.w. bush obviously, he took the presidency seriously, but he didn't take himself seriously. the idea flfw.com was his email address. >> shannon: very lighthearted. we talk about just how much he loved to joke, a good punch line, even if it was that as his expense. he accomplished so much on the world stage that it's impossible to go through his entire resume and to remind people about all the things he did domestically and internationally, and what a brave navy aviator he was, going straight into the war, getting up on his dedication, getting through yale into an half years, and accomplishment for anyone. but he just kept charging and we talked about how he was a
risk-taker and people remember him as somebody -- as we are showing him skydiving, which he loved to do, too -- he was somebody who was not afraid to strike out and business, and family, government. he was always, it seems, rising to a new challenge, chris. >> chris: i asked him about skydiving, and his decision to do that. even loud, he put not just as a lark or a personal adventure, but as a public service. he said, i am trying to send a message to old folks like him at that point, he was in his 80s. he said, you don't have to sit -- i remember he put it this way -- drool in the corner. you can get up, you can do something, maybe not skydiving with the golden nights, but you can do something, and don't put yourself in the grave before you are really there. you talk about his sense of humor, i had the great opportunity one time after i had
interviewed him in houston that he invited me, and my producer, to go off and have lunch with him. and we were talking -- remember in 2005 after the terrible tsunami in asia, he and his son, bush 43, assigned him and bill clinton to go tour the area, and part of it was to raise money. now george h.w. bush and bill clinton did not seem like a natural fit, among other things, bill clinton had beaten bush and the '92 election. in addition, their personalities could not have been more different. president bush 41 regaled us at lunch about their trip together through southeast asia. one of the things he said was, we are so different. he loves to talk and opines about everything, and i am more measured. but a lot of what he said was very interesting and among other
things, if i was having trouble talking about something, i knew that bill would fill the space. another thing that, frankly, drove him crazy about bill clinton was the fact that bill clinton, and anybody who's ever covered him do this, was always late. he would get involved in a conversation, and we always talked about operating on clinton time. they agreed that they would get up and go at let's say, 9:00 in the morning, and their trip to southeast asia, and bush would be in the car at 9:00 or maybe 8:57, and clinton ritual but he did and he said, it is clearly -- it clearly bothered quentin that he was always keeping bush waiting so one day at about 8:55, he came downstairs like he was going to beat bush into the limousine, taking them around, but bush, not knowing this, not doing it on purpose, had gotten in the car at 8:50. the look of disappointment on bill clinton's face when he looked in the car and he thought, this guy beat me again.
the one thing that bush very much respected, they were traveling around on the presidential jet, was the deference that bill clinton showed him, and that clinton, obviously, bush considerably older, always insisted that george h.w. bush had to the presidential cabinet, sleep in the presidential bed, and clinton would find a couch on air force one, or sleep on the floor, but always paid respect. went to great pains to make sure that bush 41 was comfortable. >> shannon: as we watch this treasure trove of memories that we have, all these pictures and we think about -- you see they are the banners the kuwaiti people, and that of course was a big moment in his presidency, the coalition that the u.s. was involved within there, going
into defeat the iraqis, a flash point in that region, so much that he accomplished on the international stage. we see him there with the troops, obviously having served himself, he always had a great fondness for the men and women in surveys, and he continued throughout his life to do things with the wounded warriors, well into his retirement, and ways that he hoped would inspire other people. bret, it seems that what us what he was always about, to give more, serve more, and to be better. >> bret: shannon, listen, you look back at his life and legac legacy, and you see these pictures of him shaking hands with troops there. think about that moment. remember that it was at that point defense secretary dick cheney, it was luminaries in his white house,
george h.w. bush, rallying around him, forming a coalition that really had not been formed before on the international stage when it came to a goal number one. he was the template by which other presidents looked out and said, if i can get the world to rally around me like george h.w. bush did with gulf war one compass will be a success. if chris is still on the phone, i would love to ask him about the transition from president reagan, as we are standing here in the reagan library with air force one, where reagan traveled the world to all kinds of places. the transition from president reagan to then- then-president george h.w. bush. their relationship and how it may be, chris, you perceived that? >> chris: i can't say that they were close friends, and, in
fact, the very fact that bush was named as vice president, if you remember, back in 1980, reagan was enamored with what i think everybody ended up thinking was a terrible idea, of a kind of copresidency was gerald ford. he was involved in negotiations in detroit at the republican national convention, and then it all fell apart. suddenly, wednesday night, they don't have a vice president. obviously, bush had run the strongest race, had gotten the most delegates, second only to reagan, and reagan come at the last minute decided, let's go with bush. so it was not his first choice but i think that they had a close political partnership, if not a close personal partnership. and lord knows, george h.w. bus george h.w. bush, and eight years, there was never a hint of any dissent, of any separate agenda, he was just utterly loyal, at least to what the
public could see to ronald reagan, and reagan, i think, one, was certainly respected him, and thought, i think presidents always feel that the vice president is the one who, because of the amendment that they can only serve to regrow terms, can carry on their legacy, and at that if you get somebody from the opposite party, in this case it would have been michael dukakis, they will undo a lot of what that president has accomplished in his eight years. so reagan was very supportive of george h.w. bush, bush 41, and it was a kind of seamless transition from one to the other. it was interesting, though, -- there was one question, you pointed out earlier, bret, reagan was so much larger than life, in a way that bush would have admitted he wasn't, that he needed to establish a separate identity and one of the things that he did at that new orleans
convention in 1988 when he became the nominee, was to talk about a kinder, gentler presidency and approach to thing prayed that that thousand points of light, to sort of establish what his agenda was going to bet different than but as something of a departure, something of a turn from reagan's agenda. >> bret: a lot of people, chris, don't remember the assassination attempt in april of 1993 after president h.w. bush left the white house, he went to kuwait to be commemorated for his role in the first gulf war, and there was an assassination attempt. kuwaiti authorities arrested eventually 17 people they felt were around this conspiracy to kill than the former president using a car bomb. there was a a lot of talk about possibly who was behind this.
united states sent to various personnel to kuwait to investigate on their own, and they eventually came to the intelligence of the united states government concluded that iraq was behind the attempted car bombing. when we talk about president george h.w. bush we often don't talk about the assassination attempt after he leaves the white house, but it was real. >> chris: correct my memory, but as we are talking about this, i believe that bill clinton, his successor, then had a missile strike on baghdad on a couple of installations there as punishment for this attempt. >> bret: that's exactly right. >> chris: there was always some thought that when bush 43, his son, got involved in a rock, that there was a census obviously wasn't the prime reason, but of envision's business, like saddam hussein wt after his father, and that was
perhaps in the background a motivation for bush 43. >> bret: i should point of that they are cleaning up for the national defense forum dinner here. so as you hear the glasses clanking behind me, that is the cleanup crew behind me for the reagan national defense forum, as they are preparing for tomorrow for you to speed when you get a little ambient noise they are a very busy night. chris, thank you very much for joining us. i want to bring in more folks with close ties to the president. we have dana perino, a former advisor to president george w. bush, and juan williams joining us now. juan, i want to start with you. we talked about the bipartisan appeal of bush 41, and he worked across the aisle, and he was willing to compromise to get things done. your thoughts on him tonight? >> juan: the emotion flows out
of me because i was the white house correspondent during the reagan years, and one of my jobs was to travel around the country with george w. bush, especially in the '84 cycle when president reagan was up for reelection. as you have heard, they weren't particularly close, but george h.w. bush was a great, great emissary for the reagan administration, because he had been head of the republican national committee. so he knew people all across the country in every state, he could tell me names of people in an unbelievable fashion. just incredible. and we would sit together, and i remember one thing he told me, shannon, was that i should write notes to people. he would write notes, five and ten notes a day out of habit, just to stay in touch with people. certainly with all the prominent republicans around the country, but he would write to friends and people, and everybody would
respond to him, not as the vice president at the time, but as george h.w. bush, somebody that they knew and felt a very personal connection to. when i had the chance to travel with him, to talk with him, i was so -- to this day, so impressed with him, among all the politicians i have ever met, because he was not only a war hero, but remember, he had been our first envoy sent by richard nixon to china. when i went to the olympics, i guess it was 2008 in china, i remember talking to him about china, and remember, his son, george w. bush, spent a lot of time in china because his dad had been there as the envoy. and then of course he goes on and heads the cia, the republican national committee, vice president, having previously served as a congressman, and then president of the united states.
i don't think we see, if you look at it in historical terms, anybody with that level of public service commitment, experience, and, as i said to you, the greatest measure would be his personal connection to people, especially republicans come across the country. people in the party, hardworking, to build party structure throughout. he really had that kind of personal connection, that kind of political connection that i think is extraordinary in these times. people just loved him. one of the things that happen for me tonight as i heard about president bush's death as i just went to the wall, and i don't know if you can see this, but i brought with me a picture of a young version of me, and a fairly young version of president bush. and here we are on what was then air force two, traveling around the country, as i said, going to
all kinds of picnics and festivals in order to help ronald reagan win reelection in 1984. and then recently, five years ago, i sent him a note and i say he was such a great note writer, and he sent me back a note. this one came from maine, from kennebunkport, and he wrote about remembering the good old days, traveling on air force two, as he said, and just wrote to some kind words to me. this was really very special. this hangs on the wall and my home here in washington. the other thing that strikes me at this moment, so emotional about him, he was one tremendous baseball player. he was captain of the yale team. as you know, his son went on to own the rangers but he is a big houston astros fan to the end. we would talk baseball -- now he is a left-hander, shannon. you know something about baseball, i know you were a
baseball fan, and george h.w. bush was an astute -- i don't say this lightly, i am not trying to, you know, celebrate him in some way that is unearned -- but george h.w. bush could tell you about major-league players on a level that i don't think any other politician i have ever met could do. i don't think general manager manager is good talk about baseball and baseball players with the depth of understandingf the game that george h.w. bush had. so for me, it was, like, people would say, i would come back from a trip with george h.w. bush, and my wife would say, what is going on, how are you doing? i would say, here's the latest on what we can expect from the orioles and the astros and the yankees, from the very top of american political life. this guy was so extraordinary, such a statesman, and such a friend. as you said, able to work across the aisle. we have heard from bret and chris about his work with
bill clinton, but you should know that even recently, you had barack obama going down to houston and stopping in to visit. and that kind of relationship, again, so extraordinary in these days, utterly polarized politics. >> shannon: a beautiful statement for both the obamas tonight. i want to jump in here -- we'll come back to the panel, and bret standing by, but because you mention the love of sports, we want to bring in sportscaster jim gray, he interviewed the former president more than 20 times. you know, jim, may be more than the rest of us, just how much he loved sports and had such a depth of knowledge, especially about the game of baseball. >> he loved it, he followed it. in fact, one of the great things that he used to talk about, he met babe ruth in 1948, and he used to carry around a little card from time to time and he gave me one of the signed cards that he had with him pictured with babe ruth, as you see right
there on the screen. unfortunately at that time, mr. mr. ruth was ravaged with cancer but he was able, as the captain of the yale baseball team to be able to meet him, and it was a proud moment for him, and you saw that pitch he throughout and it always bothered president bush that he bounced that ball. he was a great baseball player in college and so when his son, george w. bush, throughout the first pitch after the terrorist attacks of september 11th, 2001, he always remembered that his father bounced the ball and how much it bothered him so when derek jeter came in and told them, don't bounce the ball, mr. president, it refresh all of those memories and president bush 43 went out and threw a perfect strike to help lift the nation to get onto some sense of normalcy. president bush sr. -- he also loved golf. he was a terrific fan of the game of golf. he would show up and i would
interview him regularly at the ryder cups and the psident,s, and his father, his grandfather, george herbert walker, created h come along with the ryder cup, one of the staples and traditions of golf. i also got to see him and play golf with president bush, 1995, a tremendous story when he golfed with president clinton and president ford. they joined bob hope and he won that day. he shot a 92. he also hit two fans that day, one off the first tea required 14 stitches and the 14th t hit a woman in the rear end. it was funny on the first one but not so funny on the 14th. it was so funny because bob hope made a living commenting how many times president ford would hit people but he beat
president clinton by a stroke and president ford by seven strokes a day. let me share a little story with you from spain. we were there for the ryder cup in 1997. it was a homecoming and he came over to watch the american team, and it was pouring rain one day, and we were all scattering to get off the court, and i was in my golf cart along with the technician, the sound man, a man name jun came from nbc sports and we were driving and we saw three guys standing, one guy had a glad trash bag over his head and was soaking wet and there were two men standing behd him. i got a little bit closer and i said, that is president bush, he was standing in the pouring rain all by himself, wasn't asking anybody else for help, we gave them a ride in on the golf cart and i'll never forget he had this trash bag over him and just the humility and the decency that he had and the next day, he came back to the golf course, and on his own, was seeking out
joon kim to hand him a pair of presidential cufflinks. i thought, what a remarkable, amazing man, did you something like that, because he got a ridn the golf cart. he was wonderful to be around and he loved to play golf, and fast golf. in fact, he was so touched and love the fact that all arnold palmer told him that he had been a great contributor to the game of golf, that not everyone is like jack nicklaus, who can play for hours and hours, and president bush love the fact tht arnold palmer told him it was great for the game that he played in two hours or two and half hours. >> bret: hey, jim, it's bret baier. you are right, the bushes played fast. i only played with them once, brit hume used to play with them a lot in maine. they could move it on the golf course. >> they did. it was boom, boom, boom.
they enjoyed it but they wanted to do it fast. he would concentrate, and those split seconds, and he could hit some good golf shots, but to hi, it was a form of relaxation, a form of a challenge, and he used to always tell me how much he could learn about other people by playing golf with them and if they were really slow, they didn't get an invitation back again. i was also honored, bret, in 1999 at brookline at the country club, and nbc, we were televising the ryder cup, and president bush had come on many times with me to do interviews and i saw him. they were there to support ben crenshaw because he was from austin, texas, and they were living in texas, obviously, and i ask, could i interview president bush and he said, sure. barbara bush walked up to me and said, why are you i was interviewing the old man? get over the old man. she pointed over to george w and
she said, that guy is going to be running for president, the governor of texas. why don't you put him on? i said, sure, can we do the whole family? so we did the whole family. it was kind of fun to be told, or kidded no more prodded by mrs. bush, and so we interviewed them both together, and jeb was also part of it, and president george w. bush was able to speak to the team, and they rallied for the greatest comeback in history of the ryder cup. he was the governor at the time, and ben crenshaw and the guys came back and won at brookline and president george h.w. bush the other day, i ask him the next day if, in fact, he was the one that was able to rally them and he was way too humble, and said, i just gave them a few words of encouragement, i will not take credit for those. >> bret: listen, this is a sports family.
obviously, talking about golf, baseball, president h.w. bush's prolific baseball career in college, george w. bush owns a baseball team. there was pride in sports. it meant a lot to them. did you ever get a sense when you were talking to him about these moments, throwing out the first pitch, flipping the coin of the super bowl, how much these things meant to him? >> it meant an awful lot to him. i remember talking to him at the final four in houston and he was a great friend and such a mentor and a confidant with jim nantz, the greatest broadcaster from cbs, and he wrote about him extensively in his book and they spent countless hours and days together and i believe he had come in part to some of these final fours because he wanted to spend some time with jim nantz. he was always agreeable and i remember john thompson, the
great basketball coach from georgetown, had never met president bush, even though he had coached at georgetown during the time that president bush was in office and it was like a hole that he did not have because he did not have that one photograph with president bush, so i walked him over at halftime, and president bush was just so -- instead of the honor being for john thompson, it was the honor for president bush to be able to receive him and to spend five or 6 minutes before he had to go back on the air. sports meant an awful lot to him. in 2005, i got to interview both president clinton and president bush on the field in jacksonville before they flipped a coin for the game, the super bowl game in jacksonville, they went out and flipped it together. they had worked on the hurricane relief efforts together, and the earthquake efforts that they had gone and become a team and so they teamed up and came and flipped the coin.
you could just tell that president bush really, really cared about sports. he called me one time after the mike tyson ear biting, and he wanted to know what kind of a guy mike tyson was. i said, he's wonderful to be around, and he had made a despicable, horrible mistake and incident that night, but a just break into so much that i thought that tyson was wonderful and he said, i don't want to judge him. he's a great boxer. he was really interested in so many different sports, and had a genuine love. it was great to be around. i asked him how many games he would watch in the white house and he said we have a pretty good satellite system, bret and shannon. i watched quite a bit of it. >> shannon: one of the perks of being in the white house. >> bret: your reflections are great. >> thank you. he was a wonderful man. i was lucky to spend the time with him and he was a joy, he was a joyous guy who was very, very humble. decency beyond belief.
>> shannon: quite a combination, along with all the leadership and accomplishment. i want to show you briefly a video coming into us a short time ago for my neighbor who stopped by the gates to the bush neighborhood there. they placed an american flag and flowers. the neighbors said they wanted to come by, saying she was saddened by the loss. they spoke very highly of the bush family, and talked about the fact that she said there were people who were good people, they knew them as neighbors, had the utmost respect for them, and just wanted to stop by and play something there at the gate. we can only imagine in the coming days, that will ramp up even more. we want to bring dana perino back end, and we've gotten reaction from former secretary of state condoleezza rice tonight. she talked about the deep, broad legacy of president h.w. bush, and she says, "he's finished his race with honor and dignity tonight," dana. >> dana: had a chance to see
condoleezza rice a couple of weeks ago and she relayed a story about working for him in the white house, if you'll recall, shannon, she was a national security advisor -- not the head advisor, but she was on the nsc, and she was responsible for all things soviet union. when it was announced the wall was going to be coming down, they all went to him and said, mr. president, we have to get ready, you must go to europe, you must have this moment, and he said, i'm not going. they said, but sir, you were leading this charge, and they said, what am i going to do there? dance on the wall? this is their moments. let them have this moment. i'm not going to go and try and hog the spotlight out there. it was decisions like that, maybe at the moment might sound, oh, he's being modest, but i think there was a strategy also to the modesty. and juan williams brought up the writing of the notes, the other
thing condoleezza rice talked about at that event was how george w. bush found it important and easy to make friendships with leaders all over the world. he would congratulate them about things he read in the news, and the reason he did that is because when he needed them to rally around them, around the united states, building a coalition, they would always take the call, they would show up and help america, and i think a lot of that had to do with a personal diplomacy. it's a really good lesson for all of us to remember. he used to say, don't ever let your first call to somebody be when you ask for something. that is one of the lessons that i took away from him, shannon. >> shannon: the fact that juan went on and on, about the personal notes, i got one wants, and it is something that you
savor. at such an old-fashioned, beautiful courtesy, and it is ultra-special thing that takes a moment of your time but will change someone's life, that you would do something so personal. i want to bring in anita mcbrien, you worked for more than one bush administration, many capacities, you oversaw personnel for this president, bush 41. your thoughts tonight? >> my heart is just broken and crushed but we knew this day was coming. he always sort of rallied and got past, difficult times with his health, but what a remarkable life, and for all of us that had the great privilege to work in the white house with him, and with president reagan. these are two incredible examples for young people, like myself, my husband who i met, and his personal aide as vice president, they drove a million miles together.
he typed a lot of the notes on the plane, my old children have notes from him when they were born. he just touched us all, not only as young professionals learning from these incredible leaders of such dignity and service, but also how he so personally touched each of our lives. >> shannon: we've got bret baier with us, too. i think he has a question for fr you. >> bret: listen, i think you talk about it, anita, the service to the country, and think about that this was the last living former president who was a world war ii vet, someone who served their country for all of his life, volunteered after pearl harbor, decided not to go to college, to get into the military, after the attack on pearl harbor. talk about, i guess, in the wake of his life, what do you think
his legacy will be and perhaps what people should take from it. >> it is such a great point that you raise, bret. i think when you think about george h.w. bush, you think -- you picture that photograph of him as that young naval aviator, and him being rescued, of course, when has plane went down, and how young he was to take on that level of responsibility and devotion to the country, that it was just so natural for him, without a doubt, growing up of course, and a family that was a family of service. also a family of great humility, and you know how he often said how his mother would always tell him, don't brag about what you do, just do it. and i think that is such a wonderful -- as i said to shannon -- a wonderful example for those of us who work in
washington, worked in the white house, work in public service, that i hope is something that they treasure and now is remarkable and people who take up the leadership mantle of our country. >> bret: brad blakeman is with us, i go back to the world war ii time, the youngest aviator, brad, in the u.s. navy, 1944, september 2nd, his plane shot down, rescued in the pacific ocean. he rejoins his squadron. he received several honors from the military and from his country and often times, as we talk about george h.w. bush, we focus on his time as president. but it was much more than that. >> it was. i was with him, we had one of our largest sea battles, the first time he had been back to that area probably since he was shot down. one of the few times i saw him
shed a tear as he stood there at the flagpole honoring those who died on those beaches, and as you can see the resting troop carrier still in the water. i was with him at the 50th anniversary of pearl harbor. we had several events that day, and surrounded by survivors. sadly, so many of them are gone but the president had a deep sense of service, and part of that service in his life was the legacy of his personal service in the military, and having been shot down. duty, service, honor, country, family, that is what george h.w. bush will be most remembered for, and he will be a role model, and has been for so many. >> shannon: we are just getting a statement into night from former president clinton as well. we talked a great deal about how in retirement president bush 41 reached out and made sure that he connected with people across the political aisle where they
could help in disasters and relief efforts in that kind of thing. he talks about being a young governor invited into bush's home in the kennebunkport and was struck by the kindness to chelsea and his decency. he went on to say, "few americans have been or will ever be able to match president bush match president bush's record of service to the united states and the joy he took every day from it, from his military service in world war ii to his work in congress, the united nations, china, the central intelligence agency, the vice presidency, and the presidency, where he moved the post-cold war world to peace, unity, and freedom." dana, that stands out to me, he took a lot of tough jobs, but he seemed to be a joyful person in the midst of it. if we have lost dana --
>> dana: shannon, i'm loving your coverage so much that i had the tv turned up too loud and didn't hear the call. [laughter] these tributes are just wonderful and wholesome. did you ask me a specific question? >> shannon: i was talking about the statement from the clintons, talking about the joy that president trump took from his service every day, and all the positions that he served in, and that really strikes me, these are difficult jobs, he was forced into difficult situations, as any president as, and he did seem like a joyful person. >> dana: one of the things that he said to president bush president bush 43 after he lost in that '92 raise, 43 ask him, dad, where did you get the strength to be so gracious after that loss, it was so excruciating, the family is so heartbroken. he said, i had no choice. and i think that what he learned as a young boy growing up with a mother who apparently was one of the angels that walked the
earth, she basically said, every day that you wake up and it's a choice. your choice and attitude and what you say, how you conduct yourself, and one of the things that he showed us in a post-presidency, really how to be a former president. he was a gracious winner and a gracious loser. he lived quite a long life after he finished the presidency. jimmy carter also. he really set a good example for bill clinton, for barack obama, and for his own son, george w. bush, because there is a lot of life and after you have had this job as the leader of the free world, the most powerful person on the planet, what are you going to do in those next years? and he chose to do lots of different things. he continued to do speaking but i think one of his great lasting legacies is at college station, texas a&m, where the bush library is, and where, to this day, people learn about his
leadership, and leadership is really part of that curriculum at the library. he also stayed active as 43 put together at the presidential leadership scholars series, and that is the libraries of 41, 43, bill clinton, and lyndon johnson. and they all worked together to help create this new generation of leaders. and i do think, though, shannon, to get back to your original question, this idea of a choice, how you will live your life, one of the things bill clinton also said is that in many ways, 41 became like a second father to him. i think that might've been anita, might maybe she can talk more about that, because that is important. when barbara bush died, we talk to about her as america's grandmot. 41 had so many roles, he made everyone feel special, but what do grandparents do? they teach you about how to conduct yourself. life is hard but you make
choices based on the values that have been instilled in you and if it is gratitude, dignity, humility, patriotism, and the number one thing is unconditional love for your family, and that is something that i really learned from them and have tried to keep in mind as the days get hard, you get busy, you get irritated, this is a time of incivility, but it's a choice, and he taught us how to make it well. >> bret: i just want to touch really quickly on the bipartisan nature of all this. juan williams, george h.w. bush could reach across the aisle. he just could. in the post-presidency time, he did it during his presidency, and there are people who look at it and say, why is he doing it with bill clinton or when george w. bush hands a mentor to michelle obama at the funeral, don't they know?
and we are in this age where it is such a partisan time, that this moment seems like it cuts through all of that, doesn't it? >> juan: it really does. it stands in stark contrast to this moment. i just want to emphasize something you said, bret, that while he was president, this is someone, given his experience on capitol hill, who was regularly going up to capitol hill, and talking to democrats. today, the way things are so separate, we don't even have those conversations between republicans and democrats, sometimes not even among people of the same party. but imagine that the president of the united states would talk with members of congress, the house specifically, he was a real admirer of the house, i think in keeping with the idea that the founding fathers saw the house as the house of the people, he was able to develop
relationships, i think, and specific, i would say here that ronald reagan also had this capacity. ronald reagan would have tip o'neill, the massachusetts democrat, and do deals, make deals, compromise. george h.w. bush was a master of that kind of political relationships. you have heard this now said by many people. the way that he developed relationships, and the relationships then would lead to having deals and compromises that would result in political solutions for america. that was his highest goal, political solutions as opposed to political confrontations. and for me, it was a lesson, what a statesman, because he had such an accumulation of tremendous public service going back to the war, but even after the war, in the congress, leading the republican party, leading the central intelligence agency, and i think also, people
looking at ronald reagan, of course, all eyes would go to reagan in terms of the charisma, the presence, the like, but you have to understand for him, it was public service to be ronald reagan's vice president, he saw, in that moment, that he was, in fact, lining up with someone who was going to be a two term president and he was totally loyal, faithful to president reagan, and a great servant in terms of trying to advance his political agenda. >> shannon: anita mcbride with me quickly dig it, give us a final word? >> the relationship between george w. bush and bill clinton. for those of us that worked in the right house during the very painful election of 1992, and we all thought that this person of george w. bush was diminished in our eyes through some of the rhetoric of that campaign, and when they became such friends later, i asked george h.w. bush this question on the plane to
the funeral of john paul ii, and bill clinton was there, i said how about this relationship between the two of you? what is it? he said, i think he's the father i never had. it really says everything about who he is as an individual, that it is service over anything that is personal. the other point that juan williams made, as a staffer in the white house, i would never -- i saw democratic congress meant to be guests on the tennis court or to play horseshoes or a movie or a cocktail, a regular way that george h.w. bush worked as a president. >> shannon: it was very effective. anita mcbride, thank you very much. juan williams, brad blakeman, dana perino, thank you very much. bret, we just got something in, jim gray, wonderful sports memories, something has just come in, i think you mentioned
earlier, the cartoon that came in the wake of the passing of the first lady, barbara bush, and this joyous time of her walking through the heavenly gates, and their own daughter, robin, who died at the age of four, who are looking like a little angel, and running to each other, tonight, that same cartoonist has put out another image. it is of a plane, like the one that george h.w. bush flew, back in world war ii. i think it's on our screen, you can skim coming into the clouds and all three of them now holding hands and it says, "we waited for you." that is so touching and heartbreaking. >> bret: that really is how we should probably end this armor, as that memory of this family because when mrs. bush died, april of 2018, they had been married 73 years, and i think that that, more than anything else, is how george h.w. bush wants to be remembered, as a
loyal husband, gampy, great grandfather, father, and i think you will be remembered while ine history of this country. >> shannon: i think you are right. we leave with a beautiful cartoon tonight, and fox news >> if you're joining us, breaking news coverage in the death of president george h w bush. we are at foxnews headquarters in new york. president bush 41 he was the oldest president u.s. history. 41 at the home and his condolences and fond memories are ripouring in for former advisers and well-wishers from around the world. he's been remembered as a statesman and icon of the greatest generation and one-of-a-kind. we look back at the life of thi american hero. >> and new breeze is blowing. in a world refreshed by