Bush Defends Focus on Iraq

Bush said that retirement "is not all that bad," but acknowledged that "it's hard to go from 100 miles per hour to zero."

His dog, Barney, who had been a fixture at the White House, "had never walked in a neighborhood," Bush said, noting that on a recent walk, he had a plastic bag in his hand, "picking up that which I had dodged for eight years."

Clinton said he was impressed that Bush has already returned to the public sphere with his recent speaking engagements, though the events are certain to be a downshift from presidential addresses.

"Nobody plays a song when you walk in a room," he said. "It is totally disorienting."

"All of a sudden -- poof, like that -- it's over," he added. "It takes a while to figure out you're not president anymore."

Clinton's 'Worst of All Worlds'

But Clinton is still close to the Washington scene, as his wife Hillary Clinton is the secretary of state.

Calling it the "worst of all worlds," he said, "No one cares what I say unless I mess up."

Although it was the elder Bush who was defeated by Clinton, it may have been tougher for Clinton to forge a relationship with President George W. Bush.

"President Bush the latter didn't like me very much because I defeated his father, and it was obvious to me when he came to the White House when I was president and he was governor of Texas. ... Jeb was a better actor," Clinton told The New York Times.

Clinton also described to the Times a conversation between the two men aimed at thawing tensions between the Clinton and Bush camps after Bush succeeded Clinton in the Oval Office.

"I had a talk with him about it one day, a real frank talk, because they were being rough," Clinton said. "I told him that I understood how he felt, and it didn't bother me. I liked the fact that he loved his father and that I felt a great affection for his father, too. But I said, 'I'll tell you what, I'll make you a deal. If you ever need me to do something for you and I can do it consistent with my conscience, I'll do it.'"

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