Still lapdogs: Media figures host Bush's rehabilitation tour

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN, CHELSEA RUDMAN & KAREN FAMIGHETTI

Numerous media figures have interviewed former President George W. Bush following the November 9 release of his book, Decision Points. Bush and his interviewers used these interviews as an opportunity to rewrite his presidency by promoting false claims and misinformation about Bush's tenure.

CLAIM: Bush falsely claims "everybody," "all of us" thought Saddam had WMDs during interviews with Hannity and Van Susteren.

CLAIM: Bush claims, "We just didn't have any solid record of intelligence that gave us a warning" on the 9-11 attacks.

CLAIM: Bush advances disputed claim that waterboarding "saved lives."

CLAIM: Limbaugh misleadingly suggests Bush "inherited a terrorism crisis" and an "economic crisis" from President Clinton.

CLAIM: Limbaugh and Bush blame "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the whole subprime mortgage mess" on Democrats.

CLAIM: Bush repeats falsehood that tax cuts on the rich help small businesses.

CLAIM: Hannity and Limbaugh allow Bush to claim that he wanted to "change the tone" in Washington by not engaging in "name-calling."

Interviewers encourage falsehoods, fail to challenge Bush's distortions

NBC host Matt Lauer, radio host Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News hosts Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Greta Van Susteren all interviewed Bush in the days following his book release. Each either allowed Bush to rewrite history by making false claims, or made false claims themselves, or both. For instance:

CLAIM: Bush falsely claims "everybody," "all of us" thought Saddam had WMDs during interviews with Hannity and Van Susteren. During the interview that aired November 9, Hannity asked Bush about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq. Bush then claimed that "everybody ... every intelligence service, everybody in the administration" believed Saddam Hussein had WMDs. From the Nexis transcript of the interview:

HANNITY: You talked a little about WMD. When Saddam didn't use WMD on our troops, I was relieved. You talk about the absence of WMD stockpiles. Frustrating for you?

BUSH: Unbelievably frustrating. Of course, it was frustrating. Everybody thought he had WMD, everybody being every intelligence service, everybody in the administration.

HANNITY: A lot of Democrats said it.

BUSH: Yes, a lot of members of Congress.

During the interview with Van Susteren that aired November 12, Bush again said that "all [of] us who studied the intelligence felt [Saddam] had weapons of mass destruction." From the transcript of the interview:

VAN SUSTEREN: After Afghanistan, of course, there was Iraq. And I don't want to beat a dead horse, because you talk about weapons of mass destruction, and throughout your book you say you wish you would have pushed harder.

Here is what I don't understand. Then Secretary of State Powell went before the U.N. and he gave his -- made the case for the United States that there were -- why we should go in, the weapons of mass destruction.

Then later in the book he is the one putting on the brakes. Why did he do that? He later said I didn't think there were weapons of mass destruction, but he made the case.

BUSH: I don't think, I don't view Colin Powell as backing away from the belief that all of us had, including intelligence services, that he had weapons of mass destruction. We all felt that. The country felt it.

VAN SUSTEREN: The world felt it. But we all got it wrong.

BUSH: The Congress passed an overwhelming resolution authorizing the use of force if need be. Iraq felt it. Many of those people became critics later on, but all us who studied the intelligence felt he had weapons of mass destruction. I don't think Colin Powell is walking away from that.

I do think Colin was hoping that diplomacy would work and we wouldn't have to use military. All of us hoped diplomacy would work. There is an instructive scene in the book where he is saying the military option is a concern. But at one point in time I said, "If diplomacy runs its course, would you support military action in Iraq?" He said he would.

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess I had a sense as he was ex-military at that point. He had spoken to the CIA and he was making the case, that for some reason I always thought that he made a big blunder.

BUSH: That he felt he made a big blunder?

VAN SUSTEREN: No, that he did and that he's never.

BUSH: The blunder being?

VAN SUSTEREN: That there was weapons of mass destruction.

BUSH: First of all, Colin Powell is a very thorough man and he wouldn't have gone to the U.N. unless he was convinced intelligence available to all of us was real. It turns out it wasn't.

But he made a very compelling presentation that convinced the U.N. to -- and the world that our intelligence was right. But it just wasn't our intelligence. It was the intelligence of all kinds of major intelligence agencies around the world.

The amazing thing is that Saddam Hussein was unwilling to admit that he didn't have weapons of mass destruction. I firmly believed the choice was his to make.

FACT: There was disagreement within the intelligence community over whether there were WMDs in Iraq. As Media Matters has previously documented, there was disagreement within the intelligence community during the early 2000s about Saddam's possible weapons programs. A June 2008 report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee found that while the CIA expressed concern in April 2001 about Iraq's attempts to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes, the Department of Energy and the Department of State disagreed with the CIA's conclusion that this was definitive evidence that Saddam was trying to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program. From the report:

(U) The Department of Energy (DOE) disagreed with the CIA's conclusions regarding the aluminum tubes, and assessed that it was more likely that the tubes were intended for a different use, such as a conventional rocket program. Based on other evidence, including Saddam's meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, and possible attempts to procure uranium from Niger, the DOE assessed in July 2002 that Saddam Hussein might be attempting to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program, but suggested that the evidence was not conclusive.

(U) The Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (State/INR) disagreed with the CIA that Iraq had restarted a nuclear weapons program, and concurred with the DOE that the aluminum tubes were probably intended for other purposes. This view was included in congressional testimony in September 2002, but State/INR did not publish any reports on the aluminum tubes outside of the State Department until after publication of the October 2002 NIE.

FACT: Senate Intel. report found that statements made by both Bush and Cheney contradicted available intelligence information. From the Senate Intelligence report:

(U) Conclusion 15: Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorists groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information.

The October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate assessed that Saddam Hussein did not have nuclear weapons, and was unwilling to conduct terrorist attacks [sic] the US using conventional, chemical or biological weapons at that time, in part because he feared doing so would give the US a stronger case for war with Iraq. This judgment was echoed by both earlier and later intelligence community assessments. All of these assessments noted that gauging Saddam's intentions was quite difficult, and most suggested that he would be more likely to initiate hostilities if he felt that a US invasion was imminent.

CLAIM: Bush claims, "We just didn't have any solid record of intelligence that gave us a warning" on the 9-11 attacks. During his November 9 interview with Lauer, Bush said, "We just didn't have any solid intelligence that gave us a warning on this," referring to the 9-11 attacks. Lauer did not challenge this statement. From the transcript of the interview:

LAUER: Based on some of the intelligence briefings you had gotten did you not have any idea...

BUSH: No.

LAUER: ...Who was behind this?

BUSH: I mean we all surmised it was al Qaeda but before you make a decision to go find somebody you wanna make sure the intelligence is as good as it can get. And the next couple of days were heard all kinds of chatter and celebratory talk and so it became clear it was al Qaeda.

LAUER: Did you ever ask yourself the question, "What more could I have done," to prevent this from happening?

BUSH: Well, we just didn't have any solid intelligence that gave us a warning on this. We didn't have any clear intelligence that said you know, "Get ready. They're gonna fly airplanes into New York buildings."

FACT: The Bush administration had warnings that Al Qaeda and Bin Laden were planning an attack on the U.S. and were criticized for downplaying threat of terrorism. The bipartisan 9-11 Commission concluded in July 2004 that both "the Clinton and Bush administrations failed to grasp the gravity of the threat from Al Qaeda," though the Commission did not address whether the 9-11 attacks could have been prevented. According to The New York Times, the report found that "senior officials were repeatedly warned about Osama bin Laden's intentions, but failed to respond with an aggressive sense of national purpose."

In August 2001, Bush received an intelligence report titled, "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." The memo warned that FBI "information ... indicates patters of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York." However, despite this, the 9-11 Commission reported that "[n]o CSG [Counterterrorism Security Group] or other NSC [National Security Council] meeting was held to discuss the possible threat of a strike in the United States as a result of this report." The 9-11 Commission reported that then-CIA Director George Tenet said that during the summer before the September 11, 2001, attacks, "the system was blinking red." The report noted, "The intelligence reporting consistently described the upcoming attacks as occurring on a calamitous level, indicating that they would cause the world to be in turmoil and that they would consist of possible multiple-but not necessarily simultaneous-attacks."

CLAIM: Bush advances disputed claim that waterboarding "saved lives." During the interview with Lauer, Bush claimed that waterboarding, particularly as used against Al Qaeda chief officer Khalid Sheik Mohammed, "saved lives." From the interview:

BUSH: Let-- let-- let's talk about waterboarding.

LAUER: Okay.

BUSH: We believe America's going to be attacked again. There's all kinds of intelligence comin' in. And-- and-- one of the high value al Qaeda operatives was Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the chief operating officer of al Qaeda... ordered the attack on 9/11. And they say, "He's got information." I said, "Find out what he knows." And so I said to our team, "Are the techniques legal?" He says, "Yes, they are." And I said, "Use 'em."

LAUER: Why is waterboarding legal, in your opinion?

BUSH: Because the lawyer said it was legal. He said it did not fall within the Anti-Torture Act. I'm not a lawyer., but you gotta trust the judgment of people around you and I do.

LAUER: You say it's legal. "And the lawyers told me."

BUSH: Yeah.

LAUER: Critics say that you got the Justice Department to give you the legal guidance and the legal memos that you wanted.

BUSH: Well--

LAUER: Tom Kean, who a former Republican co-chair of the 9/11 commission said they got legal opinions they wanted from their own people.

BUSH: He obviously doesn't know. I hope Mr. Kean reads the book. That's why I've written the book. He can, they can draw whatever conclusion they want. But I will tell you this. Using those techniques saved lives. My job is to protect America and I did.

FACT: Bush's claim is disputed by intelligence experts. As Media Matters has previously documented, intelligence officials have questioned the effectiveness of waterboarding and other interrogation techniques. The 2004 CIA Inspector General report concluded that "the effectiveness of particular interrogation techniques in eliciting information that might not otherwise have been obtained cannot be so easily measured." During his May 2009 Senate testimony, CIA interrogator Ali Soufan said such techniques "are ineffective, slow and unreliable, and as a result, harmful to our efforts to defeat al Qaeda." A Washington Post article reported that Khalid Sheik Mohammed told the Red Cross, "During the harshest period of my interrogation I gave a lot of false information ... in order to make the ill-treatment stop."

CLAIM: Limbaugh misleadingly suggests Bush "inherited a terrorism crisis" and an "economic crisis" from President Clinton. During his November 9 on-air interview of Bush, Limbaugh, referring to Obama's references to the Bush administration, asked Bush, "Did you ever say you inherited a terrorism crisis from President Clinton, or an economic crisis?" From the transcript of the November 9 edition The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: I mean you are being blamed for the economy today. The current occupant constantly runs around saying I inherited this mess from you. Did you ever say you inherited a terrorism crisis from President Clinton or an economic crisis?

FACT: The Clinton administration stressed the importance of terrorism to Bush officials, and the recession began after Bush took office. Prior to the March 2004 commission hearings investigating the 9-11 attacks, senior Clinton administration officials maintained that they repeatedly warned their Bush counterparts in 2000 that Al Qaeda posed a serious threat to the U.S. Members of the commission concluded, according to The New York Times, that "a series of intelligence reports sent to President Bush in 2001 warned of an imminent, possibly catastrophic attack by Al Qaeda."

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the recession began in March 2001, during Bush's presidency. NBER noted in November 2001:

The NBER's Business Cycle Dating Committee has determined that a peak in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in March 2001. A peak marks the end of an expansion and the beginning of a recession. The determination of a peak date in March is thus a determination that the expansion that began in March 1991 ended in March 2001 and a recession began. The expansion lasted exactly 10 years, the longest in the NBER's chronology.

CLAIM: Limbaugh and Bush blame "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the whole subprime mortgage mess" on Democrats. In his interview with Bush, Limbaugh said that "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the whole subprime mortgage mess" were "a brainchild of the Democrats." Bush agreed, saying, "Yeah, that's right." From the transcript of the interview:

RUSH: If you had it to do over...? You were talking about Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac. If you had it to do over, would you do the TARP bailout?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yeah, I would have, because -- and I think the reader will -

RUSH: What were you told about that? What did they tell you that made it...?

PRESIDENT BUSH: We were headed for a second depression. You know, they didn't say quite that way. You know, it was a little more nuanced than that but, "If you don't do something big, we could see a second depression, or a depression bigger than the second depression," and, you know, if you're the president, you don't have time to gamble. And I didn't like using taxpayers' money to bail out the people that got us in trouble. I didn't like it at all, but when you're president you get faced with stark choices, and I couldn't have lived with myself had the country gone into a deep depression, and people's lives would have been affected. People thrown out of work. There are a lot of people out of work today and all of us are concerned about that but the situation could have been a lot worse.

RUSH: Well, you talk about people that got us into trouble. Some people think it wasn't Wall Street by themselves. Some people think it was the Democrat Party. You talk about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the whole subprime mortgage mess. That was a brainchild of the Democrats.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yeah, that's right.

RUSH: We bailed the Democrats out of a problem, too, and they continue to this day to blame you and the Republicans for it. Although I don't think they're getting away with it any longer. The election returns, I think, signal that. We're talking with former President Bush. We have to take a brief time-out. His new book, Decision Points, is published today.

FACT: Economists reject claims that Fannie and Freddie were the root cause of the financial crisis. As Media Matters has previously documented, economists widely agree that Fannie and Freddie were not the root cause of the financial crisis. For example, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman wrote on July 14, 2009, that "while Fannie and Freddie are problematic institutions, they aren't responsible for the mess we're in." Krugman further wrote that "Fannie and Freddie had nothing to do with the explosion of high-risk lending a few years ago, an explosion that dwarfed the S.& L. fiasco. In fact, Fannie and Freddie, after growing rapidly in the 1990s, largely faded from the scene during the height of the housing bubble."

FACT: Republican-controlled Congress failed to pass regulatory reform of Fannie and Freddie, which Bush purportedly wanted. Earlier in the interview, Bush told Limbaugh that "powerful forces in Congress resisted" reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2003. From the transcript of the November 9 interview (emphasis added):

RUSH: Now, look, one thing about the predecessor and so forth. You were president of the United States. You were the leader of the country. You were elected twice by the people of this country on substantive issues. Now we find ourselves in a really challenging economic time, and it is being said that you "drove the economy in the ditch." You were behind the wheel in the car. Now, Mr. President, the people... We can't relate to being president. We can only try to understand it, and when we do -- when we hear ourselves being blamed for things that we have nothing to do with -- our tendency would be to respond to it, to try to correct the record. But in your book, you steer clear.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, on this issue, I don't steer clear because I remind the reader that on the issue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, I saw a problem, and went to Congress and said, "Look, this is a group of... These are enterprises that have got an implicit government guarantee and they're taking risky stances, and, therefore, we ought to regulate them. If they've got an implicit government guarantee there ought to be some sense of regulation and make sure they don't misuse that guarantee, and I make it clear in the book what happened, and that is that powerful forces in Congress resisted that reform. Whether those reforms had taken place in 2003 it's hard to predict whether or not this crisis would have occurred, but I'm comfortable in telling the reader and comfortable that history will judge that we tried to do something about it. You know, and eventually the truth wins out, and this book is an attempt to set the record straight from my perspective.

In his interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, which aired November 11 on The O'Reilly Factor, Bush again said that the 108th Congress "much to our chagrin, said no, we are not going to regulate [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac], because they are very powerful entities." From the Nexis transcript of the interview:

O'REILLY: I thought [the chapter on the economic meltdown] was a very interesting chapter. But, here was what I don't understand and a lot of other people don't understand. Why didn't you, as president of the United States, know that this derivative mortgage backed security con was in motion? Because you say "I was caught by surprise?"

BUSH: True. There is an awareness in that last chapter that we saw something amiss, because we tried to get the government to regulate Fanny [sic] and Freddie. But, I don't know of anybody in my administration, who saw the enormity of the collapse.

In 2003, because of the implicit government guarantee and because we were worried about some of the investments that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were making that congress, much to our chagrin said no, we are not going to regulate it because they are very powerful entities.

And, so to some extent I feel, you know, OK about anticipating a crisis. The other thing I didn't really didn't see the enormity, but I really didn't. I don't think this is a matter of regulation. I think this is a matter of people making bad investments.

Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress during the 108th Congress, which was in session from 2003-04.

CLAIM: Bush repeats falsehood that tax cuts on the rich help small businesses. During a November 10 live interview on NBC's Today, Lauer asked Bush to give his argument in favor of extending the tax cuts for the wealthy that were put enacted during Bush's presidency. Bush responded: From the interview:

LAUER: While we're talking about taxpayers, there's a heated debate right now over whether we should continue in this country with your tax policies.

BUSH: Yeah.

LAUER: They call them the Bush tax cuts. Give me your best argument for continuing those tax cuts.

[...]

BUSH: Here's the deal. Most new jobs are created by small businesses. Many small businesses pay tax at the individual income tax level, because of how they are organized -- for example, subchapter S corporations or limited partnerships. Therefore, if you raise the top rate, you're taxing job creators.

FACT: The majority of small businesses would be unaffected by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. As Media Matters has repeatedly pointed out, at least 97 percent of small businesses would not pay higher taxes if the Bush tax cuts were allowed to expire. According to the Tax Policy Center's table of 2007 tax returns that reported business income, 481,000 of those returns, or 2 percent, were in the top two income brackets. And according to PolitiFact, the Joint Committee on Taxation has projected that in 2011, "Only 3 percent of all taxpayers who reported having positive business income will see their taxes go up under the proposed Democratic initiative" of letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire.

CLAIM: Hannity and Limbaugh allow Bush to claim that he wanted to "change the tone" in Washington by not engaging in "name-calling." During his taped interview with Hannity, which aired on the November 9 edition of Hannity's Fox News show, Bush claimed that he wanted to "change the tone [in Washington] by not participating in the name-calling." From the Nexis transcript of the interview:

HANNITY: Washington's tone doesn't seem to get changed. Is it something that just -- is the reality of the way it's going to be?

BUSH: I think -- I think to a certain extent that's the way it's going to be. I mean Abraham Lincoln wanted to change -- wished the tone in Washington was different when people started calling him baboon.

George Washington interestingly enough was harshly criticized at the end of his presidency. Ronald Reagan, my dad, everybody goes through -- if you're the president, there's a lot of criticism.

In my case, I did my best to change the tone by not participating in the name-calling or you know --

HANNITY: You don't participate in it now.

BUSH: No, I don't. I'm --

HANNITY: You've been quiet.

During his interview with Bush, Limbaugh referenced comments that Sen. Harry Reid allegedly made about the war in Iraq. Bush again claimed, "I still don't think it's right to engage in name-calling if you're the president of the United States." From the transcript of the November 9 interview:

RUSH: Why didn't you do more about [Reid's comments]? Why didn't you comment more about it at the time? I mean, I asked you once, and you said that you didn't want to sully the office of the presidency by descending to base political level. But I mean this was not simply base politics. This was keeping the country safe.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I understand that, but on the other hand I do believe in the institution of the presidency, and I didn't think it was right then, I still don't think it's right to engage in name-calling if you're the president of the United States. I was focused on the mission, as were the troops. And, because of their bravery and sacrifice, the situation turned around shortly after that statement. I've discussed this with other people in my administration, when they call me a liar should I have called them names, and my attitude was no then, obviously, and I still feel very strongly that's the way a president ought to conduct himself.

FACT: Bush and his administration repeatedly launched personal attacks on opponents. On September 10, 2006, former Vice President Dick Cheney accused critics of the Iraq war of aiding terrorists, saying on NBC's Meet the Press, "Suggestions ... that we should withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq simply feed into that whole notion, validates the strategy of the terrorists." On the Senate floor in 2004, Cheney told Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to go "f


yourself" after Leahy questioned Cheney's ties to Halliburton. In September 2000, Bush himself was recorded calling New York Times reporter Adam Clymer a "major league asshole" at a Labor Day event in Illinois. Following his criticism of the Bush administration's pre-war intelligence claims, Bush administration officials launched a smear campaign against Ambassador Joe Wilson, culminating in the outing of his wife, Valerie Plame, who was at the time a covert CIA operative.

Interviewers toss Bush softball questions

Hannity, Limbaugh, Lauer, Van Susteren, Steve Doocy, and Brian Kilmeade's interviews all were marked by unchallenging softball questions lobbed at Bush during their interviews. For example:

Hannity interviews Bush during a "driving tour" of the Crawford ranch. Hannity led the interview by asking about Bush's "favorite place" to "wind down" -- his Crawford, Texas, ranch. Hannity noted that Bush "hopped behind the wheel of his pick-up truck to give me a driving tour of his beautiful 1600 acre property." Indeed, most of the interview took place during this "driving tour." Bush told Hannity: "Yes, we love coming here. And it was great during the presidency to come here to give me a chance ... to get outdoors. And exercise and to work the countryside. You know, cutting down cedars and building bike trails."

Hannity: "When I last saw you were ... totally, completely at peace. ... Your job was done and you seem even more at peace now." Hannity followed up his question about "wind[ing] down" at the ranch by asking:

HANNITY: When I last saw you were -- my perception was you were totally, completely at peace.

BUSH: Yes.

HANNITY: Your job was done and you seem even more at peace now.

BUSH: I am at peace. And I was honored to serve the country.

Hannity: Do "[y]ou remember what you felt" when you realized your "purpose" was to "defend freedom?" Referencing the 9-11 attacks, Hannity said to Bush:

HANNITY: What you wrote in the book was, in a single morning the purpose of my presidency had grown clear.

BUSH: Yes.

HANNITY: To protect our people, defend freedom that had come under attack. You remember what you felt then?

BUSH: I felt a duty of protecting the country. In the book, I take the reader back to the environment in which I was making decisions. We were under threat, a lot.

Hannity: Was the "absence of WMD stockpiles" "[f]rustrating for you?" Regarding the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Hannity asked Bush:

HANNITY: You talked a little about WMD. When Saddam didn't use WMD on our troops, I was relieved. You talk about the absence of WMD stockpiles. Frustrating for you?

BUSH: Unbelievably frustrating. Of course, it was frustrating. Everybody thought he had WMD, everybody being every intelligence service, everybody in the administration.

Limbaugh: "How many times a day in the last two years have you heard people tell you they miss you?" Limbaugh led his interview by asking Bush, "How many times a day in the last two years have you heard people tell you they miss you?" Bush replied, in part, by saying, "Well, every time they do I'm flattered, and I appreciate it very much. There's a big billboard between Dallas and Waco that says that, and it makes a guy feel good."

Lauer: "Does your faith allow you to forgive Kanye West?" During his November 10 Today interview, Lauer aired a statement from Kayne West in which he backed off his 2005 criticism that Bush didn't "care about black people." Lauer then said: "[Y]ou called his comment a low point. And one of the things you and I have spoken about a lot over our conversations over these past couple of weeks is your faith. Does your faith allow you to forgive Kanye West?" Bush replied: "Oh, absolutely. Of course it does. And I didn't -- you know, I'm not a hater. I didn't hate Kanye West."

Van Susteren: Bush's father was "big to sort of get over the grudge" after losing to Clinton in '92. During her interview with Bush, Van Susteren asked Bush about watching his father being sworn in as president. She then asked him about the Bush family's relationship with former President Clinton, saying, "I've always sort of thought that since your father was the one who lost in '92, that he was big to sort of get over the grudge." From the Nexis transcript of the interview that aired November 12:

VAN SUSTEREN: The Bill Clinton relationship with the president -- you know, everyone -- everyone talks about that. And I imagine that that must have been sort of interesting for you to watch from the side. But I've always sort of thought that since your father was the one who lost in '92, that he was big to sort of get over the grudge, or whatever it was, to get over it.

BUSH: I feel that way, too. I mean, I in the book talk about the 2004 election. And Mother and Dad were there for the returns, and he left and she left to go home to Houston before Senator Kerry called me to concede the next day after the election. And he -- I always felt he had a sense of relief in his voice to -- so that I didn't have to go what he went through, which was to welcome somebody to the White House who had just defeated you in an election. He handled it with such grace and dignity, and his relationship with Bill Clinton speaks volumes about both.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's easier to be the loser -- I mean, it's easier to be the one who won to be the bigger person, as a practical matter.

BUSH: Well...

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean (INAUDIBLE) you know, and -- and I like Bill Clinton, President Clinton. I don't mean that. But I mean, it's, like, you know, when you've actually been on the losing end and you -- you know, I think that's harder. That's the bigger person.

Van Susteren visited the future Bush presidential center. During her November 12 show, Van Susteren aired two segments in which she interviewed Bush from the future site of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Bush gave Van Susteren a tour of what he referred to as "artifacts of my presidency."

Doocy and Kilmeade invited Bush to discuss his relationship with his family, his faith, and other events the hosts found "unbelievably moving." Fox News' Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade asked Bush mostly softball questions during their taped interview, portions of which aired on the November 15 edition of Fox & Friends. One segment of the interview was preceded by a montage of pictures of Bush with his wife and children and onscreen text reading, "Family." Doocy began this segment by saying: "It's clear that the closeness [between George H.W. Bush and you] is something that most fathers and sons aspire to. Why weren't you more intimidated by this man?" During the segment, Doocy read several letters George H.W. Bush had written to his son, including one he wrote to him on his Inauguration Day. Near the end of the segment, Kilmeade said, "I'd like to talk about something that I thought was unbelievably moving," referring to when Bush and his father threw the first pitch this year at a World Series game. After airing a clip, Kilmeade continued: "It was also historic. Forty-one and 43 in the [golf] cart, coming out for the World Series -- a team you owned."

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