Vargas Interview: The Personal Side of President Bush

BUSH: Well, thanks, I will tell her you said so. And anyway, this is a very bright and open area and it helps me think and I like it. I like to stay here.

VARGAS: I see your pictures of the girls back there. How are they?

BUSH: They're good. They're great. Thanks for asking.

VARGAS: You and your wife have done such a great job of protecting them and preserving their right to have personal, private lives...

BUSH: Well, actually that would be you. (Laughter) That would be you who's done a good job of helping me protect them. You and the media, and I thank you for that. I think the Clintons first started off very well by saying, 'Look, give Hillary, I mean Chelsea, some space.' And uh, and I respect and appreciate the media respecting our girls. They're good.

It's one of the joys of being a father is to watch your children grow up, and our little girls understand that it's, you can gain a lot of satisfaction in life by helping others. And so Jenna's a teacher, and Barbara has returned recently from South Africa where she was working in a hospital for kids with AIDS, and it's ...

VARGAS: That's really great.

BUSH: Ah, it's good on both of them, I love 'em dearly. And, it's, you know, I put 'em through a lot. If you think about it, you know, can you imagine being a teenager, and your dad's in the public spotlight? Or, you know, you think you head off to college, and I'm running for the president of the United States?

VARGAS: They are part of a rare club of children who have grown up with fathers in the White House.

BUSH: Yeah, yeah. The only think you can do is to explain to them, um, why I ran and what I'm trying to accomplish, but more importantly, just tell 'em you love them. And you tell them you love 'em all the time. And ...

VARGAS: Do they ever tell you, "Dad, I wish you weren't president?"

BUSH: Oh yeah, of course.

VARGAS: Probably a lot more than you'd like. (Laughter)

BUSH: Yeah, you know like others in the country, are willing to say that to you. No, they understand now, they do, they can see it. I think they are looking forward to the day now when, uh, there is not the attention on someone they care about, and that they can feel relatively free.

VARGAS: They've had that all their lives, between you and their grandfather.

BUSH: Yeah, they have. (Crosstalk)

VARGAS: I mean, they really have.

BUSH: They are doing good.

VARGAS: Their uncle, I mean talk about a family in the, in the political spotlight.

BUSH: That's true, that's true.

VARGAS: Now I have to ask you because both of them are young women who are very attractive -- any chances of a White House wedding for either of them do you think?

BUSH: All I can tell you is this: If a suitor shows up and asks for their hand, he's going to get to come here to the Oval Office and give me an explanation.

VARGAS: Oh boy, I don't envy that young man. I have to tell you.

BUSH: Yeah, (Laughter). I, uh, I uh, look, they, whoever ...

VARGAS: Do you have compassion for the people that they do date, and probably ...


VARGAS: No, OK -- well that settled it. (Laughter)

BUSH: No, I don't have compassion.


BUSH: I'm uh, I do feel like they're, uh, they will be dealing with beautiful, capable women. Strong women, too, by the way. And they will...

VARGAS: You are surrounded by them.

BUSH: I am surrounded by 'em, and better off for it.

VARGAS: That's very, very evolved of you to say so.

BUSH: I believe that.

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