Younger Bush rarely called on elder Bush during presidency

Published 8:22 am Wednesday, December 5, 2018

WASHINGTON — George W. Bush said that during his two terms in office, he rarely called on his father’s counsel. But there were exceptions, intersections where the personal drifted into the presidential.

A look at some of those times as cited by Bush in his 2014 book “A Portrait of My Father” about George H.W. Bush, who died late Friday at age 94:

— The younger Bush asked his dad what he thought about making Dick Cheney his vice presidential choice, and his father approved. Cheney was the elder Bush’s defense chief and the most influential of the people who served the 41st president to work for the 43rd.

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— The elder Bush confessed to “uncontrollable sobs” that wracked his body when he watched on TV as his son reacted to the Supreme Court decision settling the 2000 election in his favor.

— The new and former presidents stood together in the Oval Office on the younger Bush’s first day in office, when he invited his parents to come stay at the White House anytime.

— On Sept. 11, 2001, a day after his parents stayed at the White House, the closing of air space to commercial traffic after the terrorist attacks stranded his parents in a Brookfield, Wisconsin, motel on their way to Minnesota for an engagement. Barbara Bush joked about the indignity in a chat with her son, in what he remembers as a bit of levity that painful day.

— The younger Bush says he did not use email during his presidency; his dad would send corny jokes to presidential aides, who passed them on.

— The younger Bush also sought his father’s opinions about making Colin Powell secretary of state and Bob Gates his defense chief. The elder Bush liked the choice of both men, who had also served with him.