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tv   Watters World  FOX News  December 1, 2018 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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destiny and power hosted by brit hume begins right now. reporter: they called him poppy. george hurt bert walker bush. a new england aristrocrat who became a politician in the texas oil patch. he owned the most of impress idea resume of any man to win the white house he showed dignified restraint even in defeat.
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tonight you will hear his thoughts from his own voice, part of a video diary he kept. i would like you to hear what he said the night he was defeated. your mother is asleep in the next room. these are his reflections. >> now the job is not finished. it kills me. our kids were absolutely magnificent. always telling me, we are proud of you, dad. >> i never understood how much
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the defeat stung him because he kept it hidden. he bottled up this sense of defeat. brit: the lose his father felt the younger bush said it wasn't just the defeat by bill clinton. >> dad didn't accept the baby boomer view of dignity and honor. to be defeated by the first baby boomer was upsetting to him. brit: he was born in 1924 in milton, massachusetts to a family with a strong sense of public duty. his father prescott was a forceful figure who would become a united states senator. >> one of the famous stories in our family, mom, i hit a home run. and she would look at him and
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say how did the team do. brit: he twont school at andover. as he was preparing for yale in the family tradition the united states was attacked at pearl harbor. >> i volunteered june 12, 1942. that was my 18th birthday. i knew i wanted to be a pilot. that waltz first day you could be enlisted. i got shot down one time, september 2, 1944. we were making a final strike. and i felt this jolt. i could see the fire all around the aircraft. then suddenly my plane was on fire. brit: bush tried to save his crew, but two men died. he ended up in the pacific ocean spending four hours on a life raft before this footage was
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taken of his rescue by an american submarine. >> i thank god. i really do. in that life raft you are go back to the fundamental values. i was 20 years old. you think of family, you think of faith, you pray. brit: when he returned from the war, bush resumed his courtship with barbara pierce. he met her when she was 16 and he proposed to her just before leaving for the pacific. they were married in 1945. bush attended yale where he graduated with a degree in economics. he had a job waiting for him in the family investment business. but he didn't take the easy path. >> he didn't rely on family connections or wealth. brit: neil bush is the fourth
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son of george and barbara bush. >> after coming back from war and graduated from yale, he packed up in a red student barrack and went to west texas which is as far from civilization you can get if you are a new york city-bound professional. brit: his dad is a yankee aristrocrat. >> what caused him to leave his roots and a family he adores? it's his sense of adventure. dad can relate to people of all was of life. he never acted texan and never wore a hat or cowboy boots with but became part of the midland scene. brit: in 1953, tragedy.
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his 3-year-old daughter robin was diagnosed with leukemia. she died 3 months later. >> it was one of the defining moments of their life. john meacham was given access to the bush family archives. >> he wrote a letter to his mother about robin. there is about our house, the running pulsating restlessness of the four boys as they strive to learn and grow. we need the soft blond hair. we need someone to cry when i get mad, not argue. we need a little one who can kiss without acting dumb. we had a girl. we had one once, we need her,
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but yet we have her. we can't touch her, but yet we can feel her. we hope she'll stay in our house for a long, long time. love pop. >> when i asked the president to read that letter out loud in an interview he broke out before it was finished sobbing very hard. his chief of staff came into the room and said why did you want him to do that. i said you have to know what one's heart, and the president said you have to know what breaks it. brit: it drove me to write "destiny and power." the private audio diaries we'll hear much more of later. >> i first met him in 1988. i remember thinking even then george bush was a much more
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complicated and interesting figure than most of people might think. i was looking at his story and his times about his remarkable life decade after decade of service. and i believe that he was the last of the times. >> the same year bush lost his daughter echo founded the oil company. >> he becomes an offshore oil man with zapata industries. brit: he wanted to serve his country in the political arena. george in 1964 ran for that same office in texas. reporter: george bush is republican candidate for the united states senate. brit: he lost his senate race. not one to give up he ran for the house of representatives in 196 and won.
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-- in 1966 and won. >> he was almost immediately thought of in national terms. nixon was a vital patron, ambassador to the united nations, chairman of the republican national committee. brit: but it was a bad time to be chairman. the gop was falling apart amid the watergate scandal. ford named bush envoy to china, then director of the cia. >> when he was offered the' cia public confidence was at an all-time low. but he had an intense belief a citizen's duty was to do with the president of the united states asked him to do. >> there were questions about the way the agency had been handled. so it was an important time when there was a lot going on.
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as we put all those pieces together. george bush ended up in the cia. brit: after jimmy carter was elected president in 1976, bush retreated to texas. he decided to run for the fence and run for president. >> they break out laughing when you tell them you are running for president of the united states. >> he announces he has the momentum and he'll knock reagan out. he didn't count on one thing, which is ronald reagan. ronald reagan comes back strong and knocks bush out. brit: it looked like it could be the end of george bush's political career. he had been exactly tough on reagan but he did say this. >> he promises to balance the budget and cut taxes and increase spending and stop
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inflation. i call it voodoo economic policy. brit: but at the convention reagan chose him as his running mate. bush wanted to lead, but he knew how to be a good team player. >> bush was the perfect vice president for ronald reagan. he never once articulated a view or feeling or policy that was at odds with the president, and they became extraordinarily close. very, very good friends. and an extremely good team. brit: as ronald reagan's second term was drawing to a close, bush was ready for the biggest moment of his life. while you would expect the second in command to have an easy path. it was anything plaque psoriasis can be relentless.
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brit: for most of of his political life bush had been aiming at the white house. he knew his last chance was to win in 1988. >> 8 years ago i stood here with ronald reagan and we promised
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together to break with the past and return america to her greatness. brit: many times bush seemed unfocused and voters weren't sure what he stood for. >> when he was asked why he wanted to be president, there weren't always'' crisp answers. he was not a campaigner who's style, chols style lends it stoafl sound bites and that hurt him. he wanted to conserve what was best about the country and reform what wasn't. that reform would take the shape of sensible often centrist solutions. president trump believed if he was trying to do the right thing and his heart was in the right place and if he produced
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results, then the voters would be with him. brit: on top of this there was the wimp factor. >> called him an ugly shot. some people doubted whether he had the strength or the guts to make the hard call. bush's argument was but then i flew in war with didn't think that. the men i built the business with didn't think that. the cia agents i served with, didn't think that. ronald reagan doesn't think that. brit: one incident that dispel thunder that notion was when he stood up to dan rather. >> it's not fair to judge my career by this one thing with iran. how would you like to be judged'
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for the 7 minutes you walked off the stage. >> it's interesting that it expressed doubt. you think it went okay. better okay. brit: bush won the nomination by getting tough with his republican competitors. >> bush went negative and won the primary and pushed on to victory. brit: his first big decision was to pick a running maitd. he picked a relatively unknown senator from indiana, dan quayle. >> he said we want to keep it a surprise. i said i just was watching television and they said it's not doait'snot dole,'.
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they might figure out it might be me. he said this is your first assignment. don't screw it up. >> i'm proud to have dan quayle at my side. >> bush wanted to be bold and generational. the quail decision was the first decision bush was able to make a totally independent way since he went on the ticket with reagan 8 years before. brit: here at last was a chance to design himself in front of the whole nation in his acceptance speech. >> i want a kinder and gentler nation. >> what was so remarkable about norms was he delivered his speech with power and conviction. >> this is my mission and i will complete it. and he used something he didn't
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like using which was the first person pro nowrn. he said i am that man. brit: the there was one line in the speech that would be remembered above all others. >> read my lips. no new taxes. >> he decided to say it. he paid a price for it forever. brit: bush redefined himself. then he had top redefine michael dukakis. brit: he attacked his opponent over a prison release program in massachusetts. >> while out, many committed other crimes like kidnapping and rape. many are still at large. brit: governor duf governor dufe
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furlough program ahead. >> over the years it has become a i am boflt alleged negativity of that campaign. brit: bush went on to a solid victory gaining 53.7% of the popular vote. a number no president, republican or democrat has gone the since. three days before he took off he privately took stock of himself. this is not a bed.
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brit: all presidents see pivotal world events. but there may have been no more
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recentful than the last years george h.w. bush was in office. >> george bush was his own man, and he did things particularly, i think, in the foreign policy sphere that were somewhat different, perhaps than might have happened under a president reagan. brit: one thing he knew he would have to deal with from the start, the cold war, which had been the central fact of american foreign policy for decade. there appeared to be tears in the iron curtain. in eastern europe, borders long closed by come anything were opening up. then in november, the unthinkable happened.
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these symbols of the cold war, the berlin wall, fell. it was a great moment. but a dangerous one, too. how would mikhail gorbachev react to the dissolution of his empire. >> bush said he would handle it with grace and dignity. he wouldn't stick it in gorbachev's eye. gorbachev later said bush's reaction helped him avoid a counter reaction in europe. he was able to put himself in the shoes of hard liners thinking how would i feel if i felt my world crumbling. well, i would not want other side to dance on the wall. so he refused to do it. >> i was a little more forward. it was my desire to make certain
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the process continued and as quickly as possible. >> i remember very distinctly. he said we'll not be bragging. we'll not be out there flexing our muscles. we have to be quiet. i talked to thatcher, i talked to cole, and we are going to do this in a quite, diplomatic way. he was firm about that from the beginning. >> i remember the criticism george bush got when he refused to dance on the ruins of the berlin wall. they said you have won this 40-year conflict and you are not showing any emotion. what's wrong with you. he understood that we still had a lot of business to do with gorbachev and we weren't going to stick it in their eye. >> he paid the price at home.
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there were democrats in congress saying he didn't understand the historical moment. nobody understood the significance of the berlin wall falling more than george h.w. bush. >> i thought he did a good job of managing america's role in the afterpath of the berlin wall. getting at the chance to have a positive relationship with both the united germany and the united europe, and hopefully a democratic and more peaceful russia. e maximized the chances of a good outcome with the decisions he made. >> the potential for chaos and the potential for the united states mismanaging that, the potential for us to see this as a moment of extraordinary weakness in an arch enemy, and to push as hard as we could, all
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those temptations were there. and i think the bush administration understood that for us to be able to reimagine europe and reimagine the world was going to require restraint and care and the way the president managed that was really important, and his national security team helped usher in relatively peaceful transition to what we now know is a unified europe. and purchased at least 25 years of relative stability and peace in relations between the united states and russia. brit: the soviet union fell without anyone firing a shot. but before his time in office was over, he would go to war and
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be tested as he never had been before. aaaaaahhhhhhhh!
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ballooned your car. call meeeee! (burke) a fly-by ballooning. seen it, covered it. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ brit: george h.w. bush had served in the military. but before his four years were over. he had to show he could lead the military into battle as well.
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brit: it was the most of hectic 48 hours for president bush. hours earlier the forces of iraqi dictator saddam hussein invaded their tiny neighbor kuwait. bush led the world's leancht super power. but instead of intervening alone. he formed a coalition with the rest of the world. brit: some of his friends in the region for reluctant allies. >> one of the worst offenders is king hussein who is apologizing
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for saddam hussein and being almost a spokesman for him. >> we had a number of the arab companies as part of the coalition. the arab countries' demand was we not invade iraq or target saddam specifically. we said we are not going to invade iraq. our objective is to get him out of kuwait.
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>> had the soviets not come on board right after the invasion, we never would have been able to build the coalition that we ultimately -- and we would never have gotten a resolution in the security council. they would have vetoed. people talk about building a coalition. we talk about a coalition in syria today, but it isn't there. others talked about a coalition, but the on one that was a strong, substantial, functioning, overwhelming coalition was this one president bush built to eject iraq from kuwait. this is a guy from world war ii. the veterans of world war ii remember what it was like, but we are strong believers in using force when necessary.
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when it was time, the president was there. brit: the decision to go to war was not taken lightly. i want you to hear christmas eve 1990 right before the start of the gulf war. >> i'm not surprised he carried
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the burden of the decision. he had seen war. he still talks about the two men that died when his plane got shot down. secondly he already committed troops once in the panama and there was loss of life. i can remember the anguish he felt. i am not surprised he deliberated over the decision. but george bush is a man when says something, he means it. and he meant it.
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>> when you listen to the tapes, you are rinsing to a man gramming with the most of important problems of the modern age. >> i never saw a day like this in my life. >> just two hours ago allied air
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forces began attacks on military targets in iraq and kuwait. tonight as our forces fight, they and their families are in our prayers. may god bless each and every one of them, and the coalition forces at our side in the gulf, and may he continue to bless our nation, the united states of america. brit: operation desert storm with a coalition of 34 nations lasted six weeks. it was a decisive victory. >> what we and our coalition partners did to stand up against
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saddam hussein's aggression was right, just and moral. and we did the right thing. >> it was over in quick order. it was necessary. clearly the united states was the sole power left. brit: the on question was whether united states forces should remove saddam hussein. >> it was the right thing to do. they didn't know what would happen if saddam was gone. they knew it weren't be a walk in the park. he said he wouldn't do it and he kept his word. >> people said why didn't you go to baghdad and take care of saddam when you had the chance. people don't ask that question anymore. the ethnic conflicts that would have resulted and have resulted. it was a wise decision.
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we would have lost our coalition, and it was the right decision as history has shown us. brit: baker's assessment is a subtle dig at the second bush administration. the elder bush was not so subtle. he thought his son's vice president and defense secretary rumsfeld were hawks. he said of rumsfeld, i don't like what he did and it hurt the president. after the gulf war president trump had a near 90% approval rating. but he would discover in politics as in physics. politics as in physics. what goes up must come down.n.n. for a nasty cold, take new dayquil severe with vicks vapocool. [a capella] whoa! and vaporize it with an intense rush of vicks vapors. [a capella] ahhhhhhhhhh! new dayquil severe with vicks vapocool.
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flying high. >> now i sign little laying that takes a sledgehammer to another wall. one which has separated americans from dips business from the freedom they could glimpse but not grasp. >> he passed a sweeping civil rights legislation with the americans with disabilities act. he passes the clean air act. he does things trying to make the bill as conservative as possible, but were in fact bills that involved a big role for the public sector. how do you justify it? he justified it because he thought that was what was right for the country. and the politics of it, the politics of explain weighing was doing was never his strong suit. brirt * the domestic agenda got
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him in trouble with the conservative wing of his party. >> there is going to be a lot of people in law offices and a lot of people in the federal courts. brit: the domestic issue that hurt bush the most of was the economy. he knew from the start of his presidency a tax hike may be necessary. >> he knew it was a breach of his word and he took that seriously. brit: he felt congress had him over a barrel. budget passed in 1990 included new taxes. >> in my view it was a mistake to raise them, having made it
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such a high profile promise or commitment. i understand full well why he did it. we were running huge deficits. he negotiated a deal with congressional democrats under which he would agree to some tax increases for exchange for spending cuts. >> the deficit at that time was seen as an existential issue. it was about america's decline and our capacity to project power around the world. and getting the deficit under control. >> raising taxes angered his base. >> his sense of duty and putting the country first, he would take the political hit that was required. but he would not shut the government down in october and november of 1990 as troops are streaming tine the middle east. >> he said i'm not going to be
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judged by my mistakes. i will be judged by the decisions i make. brit: was he destined tooooo - [narrator] meet the ninja foodi, the pressure cooker that crisps. it's the best of pressure cooking and air frying all in one so in as little as 30 minutes it will be crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and on your table. the ninja foodi, the pressure cooker that crisps.
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brit: heading into his reelection bid george bush seemed like such a shoo-in that the marquee democrats side away from the race. after the successful prosecution of desert storm, bush's approval rating was the highest any president had seen in the post world war ii era. >> the troops got back to a normal routine and normal business with respect to budget and tax policies. the public moved back away from the war. they were concerned about the domestic issues. >> there is an unsatisfactory number of people out of work. brit: by 1992 his approval
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rating tanked. in a routine photo-op. made him seem out of touch with a supermarket scanner. and at a world meeting in japan he threw up at a dinner. brit: there was doubt in the air. his democratic opponent bill clinton was his polar opposite. clinton a baby boomer. bush served his country. clinton avoided the draft. clinton's political style was another era. >> the idea of i feel your pain is impossible. >> i feel your pain.
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>> clinton was i'm one of you. bush was i can lead you. that's a fundamental distinction. a generational distinction. brit: worse for bush, third party candidate ross pe ross pes polling well. >> without per perks rot we would have been re-elected. >> i just called bill clinton. and offered my congratulations. brit: while he maintained a so i can facade, he was hurting. >> he is in suite 271 at the houstonian hotel and begins to
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dictate. >> he had to design somebody to be commander-in-chief, you would be hard to find anybody as qualified as george h.w. bush was.
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>> yes, he did that. and every departing president leaves his successor a note. and the note he wrote me which i treasure did exactly that. that it was the most of wonderful opportunity in the world. he wished me well, and he wished our country well.
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brit: thomas jefferson once said no man will ever carry out of the presidency the reputation that carried him into it. that seems to be true of george h.w. bush whose standing was in low ebb when he left office. but the further we get away from the bush presidency, the better it looks. >> george bush was an incredible leader. he led by making tough decisions, good decisions. he was a result-or yerntsed
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president. >> when he took the office nuclear armageddon was a possibility. when he left office, it was not. not a bad record, that. he went out of his way to show respect to other humans whether they were americans or his diplomatic work or as president. he was extraordinary as showing humility. >> i argue he's the greatest one-term president in american history. he had principles and also he had common sense. when you look at how he handled foreign policy and domestic policy. he was thoughtful, restrained, and made good decisions. i think he was one of the most of underrated presidents we have had in modern times. >> i genuinely love the guy because of the feeling he has
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for his family. he's an innately kind person. and because i think he really did want the best for the country. he's my best friend and he says i'm his. that's a big deal for me. we had an honest administration. there were no scandals, and he put the country first. [ doorbell rings ] janice, mom told me you bought a house. okay. [ buttons clicking ] [ camera shutter clicks ] so, now that you have a house, you can use homequote explorer. quiet. i'm blasting my quads. ..
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ju judge jeanine: welcome to justice, i'm jeanine pirro. thanks for being with us on this somber night in america as we remember our 41st birthday. george herbert walker bush will lie in state in the united states capitol for a public viewing beginning monday 5:00 p.m. until wednesday morning when a funeral service will be held at the washington national cathedral. president and mrs. trump will be among the dignitaries in attendance. president

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