Vargas Interview: The Personal Side of President Bush

BUSH: It is.

VARGAS: For so many reasons in this country.

BUSH: You know what your job's like, your job's got big hours. It's intense, you've got to be on cue when the thing comes on, you've got to deliver and it's and exercise helps you keep your mind clear and helps you get over the stress of the day.

VARGAS: Absolutely. You're a morning exerciser right?

BUSH: No, evening.

VARGAS: Evening, great.

BUSH: As a matter of fact, on Air Force One from I think probably from Shannon to ...

VARGAS: Is it odd to exercise on an airplane?

BUSH: When you hit air bumps it is!

VARGAS: Yeah, you go flying!


VARGAS: It must get you landing feeling better too.

BUSH: Much better.

VARGAS: Flying you just feel awful. No matter how great and disciplined you are in the flight, it's really hard.


[Walk around Rose Garden to Libary]


VARGAS: It's very pretty here Mr. President. Very nice.

BUSH: Yeah, it is nice.

VARGAS: Very, very nice.

VARGAS: You were talking about the importance of keeping your friendships. I think something many people have been struck by particularly with your staff is the enormous loyalty that you seem to inspire in them.

BUSH: Well, thank you.

VARGAS: Why do you think that is? Many of them have stayed with you the entire time.

Even though a lot of people say, you know, they look tired. First of all, do you think any of them look tired?

BUSH: I don't, I better not accuse them of looking tired before I look myself in the mirror, you know! I, look, I pay attention to that a lot. To make sure that there's emotional balance and that people are still energized and ...

VARGAS: And there's not burn out.

BUSH: Excited about the job. Yeah, no, this is a tough job for these folks. Long hours, there's a lot of stress, a lot of pressure, a lot of criticism. You know they've got families that they've got to worry about and I pay attention to it. Part of my job is to make sure that the White House is at a place where people are able to feel satisfied.

BUSH: And a part of a team and so one of the things that's really important for the president is to make sure that people have access. That they don't have to check in through a chief of staff and say, can I seek permission to see the president. I'm talking about senior level people, particularly people that that have known me for a long period of time. I'm very aware of the fact that somebody needs to be able to come into me and say, "You need to do it this way, I want you to think about this."

VARGAS: If people feel like they're not being heard ...

BUSH: If they feel like they're not being heard is right. That's a problem, or being herded, you know that you can only go see him if I decide you can go see him.

BUSH: Part of job satisfaction is access. A second part is to make sure that their opinions are heard.

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