TRANSCRIPT: Charles Gibson Interviews President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush

PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: I did. [LAUGHS] I got caught. [LAUGHTER] I do, I think she's a very formidable candidate, and, one -- one of the interesting things, that she brings is that she has been under pressure. She understands the klieg lights. You know what I'm talking about.

CHARLES GIBSON: Sure.

PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: You are the klieg lights. And, [LAUGHS] And it's, …you, it's … Heading out to -- heading into this stretch in the primaries and heading into the general election, is, is really the difference between minor leagues and big leagues. And --

CHARLES GIBSON: You wanna get caught on the Republican side too?

PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: No, I don't, I really, I really, believe the race is wide open. Uh, and … it's, it's hard for me to gau-- I don't have a sense, I don't have -- 'cause I'm not out there talking to the -- In order to determine how well somebody's doing you gotta get a sense of that grassroots … and how they're feeling or who's organized because these early states, Iowa and New Hampshire, voter turn-out is really important.

CHARLES GIBSON: Mrs. Bush, what's the -- from your perspective, what do you think is the one thing … that these candidates, don't know or probably underestimate, about being President.

FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH: Oh -- about being President --

CHARLES GIBSON: Yep.

FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH: I -- you know, I don't know, I have no idea, but, I think that maybe, what the American people don't know, is how difficult it is to run for president. To run for office, and how much, both emotional and physical stamina you need, to run for office, and I think that's what, George is talking about and that's … You know, I think that -- people don't see it really. You just don't have any idea until you're really involved in it. What it means to travel around the country and speak over and over …

CHARLES GIBSON: You -- you said --

FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH: -- again.

CHARLES GIBSON: You said it's grueling. And candidates get tired and make mistakes. You see any made so far?

PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: Oh, I'm sure there are, uh --

CHARLES GIBSON: How about Obama saying that he would meet without preconditions with --

FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH: [LAUGHS]

CHARLES GIBSON: -- the leaders of Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea.

PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: I thought that was a …odd foreign policy, but, uh, I'm, I'm really -- [LAUGHS] I'm gonna try to stay outta these races. I would tell you what I think, uh, these candidates don't really understand is how complex the environment is inside the Oval Office. And how important it is, to have a set of principles from which you will not deviate, and, so that you can make good sound decisions. It is impossible I … maybe not, but I think it's impossible for anybody to fully comprehend, you know, how much incoming there is --

CHARLES GIBSON: Yeah.

PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: -- into the Oval Office, and therefore it's important, to have a very orderly… disciplined process, that enables people to come in and give you their opinion, in a timely fashion, so that there's enough data available for the President to deal with the problems in the world.

CHARLES GIBSON: Can they know … the psychological and maybe even, physical … burden, and pressure, of dealing with post-9/11 homeland security issues --

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