Vargas Interview: The Personal Side of President Bush

VARGAS: I wanted to ask you very quickly how the vice president is doing. A lot of people thought he looked a little shaken when he appeared in public after the hunting accident. (Crosstalk)

BUSH: Yeah.

VARGAS: Is he doing OK now?

BUSH: He is. Yeah, he was shaken.

VARGAS: Hmmm.

BUSH: Imagine swinging a gun, and thinking you are shooting a bird and, uh, a person you know is standing there at the end of your sight. And it shook him.

VARGAS: Do you think its changed him?

BUSH: Um, I'm confident it changed him some how, you know. I, I think it shook him, and any time you get shaken like that, it's gotta have some effect on you.

VARGAS: He called it one of the worst days of his life. I don't think you can endure something like that without emerging unscathed, or changed.

BUSH: Yeah, yeah, exactly. He's a strong fellow. He's a steady person, but no question that he was affected by it. He came in the Oval here, just he and I, and I said, 'Dick, this got you, didn't it?' And he said, 'It sure did.' I said, 'Well, if you feel like it, you oughtta share it with the American people.' And he did, he did a good job of talking about the, the pain he felt. And he was greatly relieved when he talked to Harry [Whittington], and found out Harry was going to be alright. You know, because first it looked like he was going to be alright, then he had the medical setback, and of course that, got Dick's attention in a big way. And uh ...

VARGAS: He could relate, I'm sure (Crosstalk)

BUSH: Yeah, he could.

VARGAS: ... to anything related to the heart, I'm sure.

BUSH: But he's doing fine, thanks, he's, he's over it.

VARGAS: Good.

BUSH: You know, all of us have got to learn to adjust, and, you know, particularly in this line of work, everything you do is public, everybody knows about it, and, uh, he's a thoughtful, sensitive guy. And I, I know that people may not think that about Dick Cheney, but he is a very decent thoughtful person, and uh, he's from the West, kinda the old school you know, where you don't wear your emotions on your sleeve, but in this instance he did. And a lot of people saw it. And I thought, it was really good of him to get up and explain to people what he felt like...so ...

VARGAS: And just because we are on the topic of the vice president ...

BUSH: OK.

VARGAS: Are you committed to keeping him as your vice president?

BUSH: Absolutely.

VARGAS: Until the end of your term?

BUSH: Sure. He's a friend. He's got good opinions and good advice. Sometimes I accept his advice, sometimes I don't. But when I make up my mind, he's a strong supporter. And, that's what's important about having an administration of people of character and people who are willing to come in here and say, "From my experience," or people say, "My point of view is this." And I need to have different voices and different opinions and different emotions as I sort through some complex problems and make decisions. What I expect is people to give me honest advice, fair appraisal and then when I make up my mind it's, "Yes sir, Mr. President." And that's how our administration works. And Dick Cheney's a valuable part of that administration.

VARGAS: Excellent. I think we're supposed to walk outside now.

<>[Walk out door together into Rose Garden]

VARGAS: You've lived here now five years.

BUSH: I have.

VARGAS: Does it feel like home, the White House?

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