ABC News Interview With Former President Bush

As President Bush puts the final touches on his speech that will bring the Republican National Convention to a close, his parents will be ready to defend him, and the entire Bush family, from any criticism.

In an interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer, former President George H. W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush weighed in on Sen. John Kerry's Vietnam experience, their worries about "hate" surrounding the campaigns and about their family.

Vietnam Takes Center Stage

While the former President Bush says the American people will have to decide how they feel about Kerry's testimony to Congress on behalf of Vietnam Veterans Against the War when he returned from service in Vietnam in 1971, he says he would like to see the senator make a public apology for his actions.

"I do know that when he came back and kind of downgraded … everybody fighting there by talking about gouging out eyes and all that. That is totally offensive, and I think he may have said he's sorry. I don't know, but if he didn't, he ought to," Bush said.

In Kerry's testimony to Congress in 1971, he detailed atrocities he said were committed by U.S. troops in Vietnam, including rapes, beheadings and random killings of civilians.

Since then, the presidential hopeful has said that he was referring to incidents witnessed by other veterans at the time.

So Much ‘Hate’

While campaign mudslinging is often common, former first lady Barbara Bush says she's concerned about the vitriolic words being tossed around by outspoken political supporters.

"They use a word that, that I've never heard before, or maybe I haven't listened, but there's a lot of fanning of the word 'hate.' I don't hate anybody, and I don't hate John Kerry. I think that's a terrible word for Americans to use against America, and I think it is being fanned as a divisive kind of thing," she said.

Michael Moore

The Bushes said they would like to know if Michael Moore, producer of the documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, and his supporters would rather see Saddam Hussein in power today.

"That's the choice. That's the choice today," Bush said. "Do you wish we'd go back to the status quo? Were they better off?"

Moore responded from the convention Wednesday night by accusing the Republicans of trying to shift focus off the war and onto Saddam.

"That's kind of a crazy thing to say," Moore said. "Nobody wants to see Saddam Hussein in power. That's trying to get the issue off what we really should be talking about," he said.

Barbara Bush says she believes Moore is trying to shift America's focus onto himself.

"I'm not sure that Michael Moore cares about anything but himself. That this is just a way of getting himself in the public eye," she said.

The Grandchildren

The Bushes were front and center for their granddaughters' unconventional speech at the convention Tuesday night.

The twin sisters, Jenna and Barbara, made a few family jokes, some at the expense of their grandmother.

Barbara Bush said the girls were right about her focus on what they wear.

"George [Bush Sr.] is putty in their hands and I'm the one who's saying, not just to them, but 'pull down your skirt" or "put on a skirt," or 'pull up your top' or something. That's just part of me; can't help it," Barbara Bush said.

The former president said the family is full of teasers, which is what came out in the girls' speech.

"They're wonderful girls. They really are, and they've not liked politics and public appearances … but they've grown up and they love their dad. And they, as they put it, this is the best opportunity to campaign and do something for their father," he said. Politics aside, the Bushes said their family is the most important thing to them at this point in their lives.

"My dream for our family has always been they grow up, they get a good education, they be happily married or they'd find someone they can be happy with and that they would not think they were entitled, that they would work. And that they would then turn around and give back to the country because they're so lucky," Barbara Bush said. "And my dream has been answered."

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