Magazine article Newsweek

'Time Heals a Lot of Wounds': The Ex-President on His Son, His Own Role and W's Tough Job Ahead

Magazine article Newsweek

'Time Heals a Lot of Wounds': The Ex-President on His Son, His Own Role and W's Tough Job Ahead

Article excerpt

In the first days of the Overtime Election, former president George Bush kept up with the mess in Florida by juggling borrowed cell phones on a hunting trip with King Juan Carlos of Spain. When Bush checked in to the Mayo Clinic for a hip replacement in December, he stayed in touch with his son and James Baker by e-mail from his hospital bed. Barbara Bush, meanwhile, has been in a self-imposed news blackout. As Bush II gets underway, friends say the new president will use his father as a sounding board, especially on foreign policy. In an interview with NEWSWEEK's Jon Meacham, the former president and Mrs. Bush talked about what comes next.

MEACHAM: How are you doing?

GEORGE BUSH: There's the joy of having this Florida situation over and having the decision final, and yet there's a sense of the huge task that lies ahead. So it's a combination, but most of it is the pride we feel in our son and the joy we feel in our hearts.

The president-elect's got a very hard road ahead. What's he feeling?

GB: Determination. I just hung up talking to him. It's determination to do the job. It's going to be difficult, and he knows that. But soon all the pundits and experts and professors are going to be talking about something else all the time. Maybe world peace. The subject'll change. And when it does, the American people will want to see George succeed. But of course, how can I judge? I'm the father of the next president, and people aren't going to come up to me and say, "Hey, I hope the kid stubs his toe. …

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