Bush Bashing, Parental Advice and November Politics

Bush: I don't know, but I don't go down there much anymore as I told you earlier, Charles, it's depressing in a sense 'cause there's, there's a climate of incivility that worries me. Hostility … makes singling out people that disagree with you because there's a difference on an issue or something, and that's not good. I'm not sure it's brand new, that kinda divisiveness. But I, I don't like it, and I think it discourages some people from getting into public life. But I hope it'll pass and I hope we come together and work together and all of that.

Gibson: In 1988 when you … or 1989 when you assumed the presidency you spoke about an outstretched hand to the other party. Other Presidents, President Clinton talked about the same thing, your son talked about the same thing and yet it does seem, that Washington is more divisive, more bitter than ever.

Bush: Well, that's true, but we got some things done, thanks to the cooperation of the Democrats who controlled both the House and the Senate. I would mention the ADA bill, or I'd mention, there was one other -- oh, the Clean -- Clean Air Act.

Gibson: Clean Air Act.

Bush: And these things could not happen without bipartisan cooperation. Actually we didn't get too much bipartisan cooperation on international affairs, but they didn't, they didn't frustrate the president. So, I think it's, I think there's always gonna be contention. What I don't like to do is see it personal and, and vindictive. Retaliatory.

Gibson: But isn't it that, right now, isn't the thrust --

Bush: I think to some degree it is. I think to some degree it is. And that doesn't help the institution of the Congress, as I think you implied. But, I also think at 82-years-old this too shall pass.

Gibson: But it does seem, at least in my time in Washington that it does see that the divisiveness and the politicalization of everything, gets more and more strident.

Bush: It's true but … go back in history to the civil rights days. And, I think you'll find that some of the debates, some of the acrimony, was pretty high. Differences on how to treat with civil rights. Particularly back in the days of segregation. And so, history has a lot of times when this gets, gets edgy like this, but, maybe this is worse, I don't know.

Gibson: Anything you can think of that would change the tone?

Bush: [PAUSE] No, no, there's really not. I think after the elections, some of this is election politics, running up to the Congressional elections in the fall. And after that I think there'll be a real opportunity to get together on things. I think the war is dividing some of the participants in the Congress, some of the Democrats versus Republicans. Judicial nominee -- nominees, the flash-point for differences. And they'll always be there. But I think after the election it'll calm down, I really do. Because I think Democrats and Republicans want it to be more civil.

Advising His Son, 'Bush Bashing'

Gibson: Tell me which is harder -- to be President and to be subjected to the criticisms that come with the job, or to watch your son be subjected to those same criticisms.

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