Bush Bashing, Parental Advice and November Politics

Bush:Not a close call. Far worse is watching your son come under fire. Far worse. And we had it to some degree with my second son in Florida who's finishing his second term, Jeb, the governor. And we've had it with the president when he was governor, and now as president. And it's not even a close call. It is not even a close call, when you're responsible for your own acts, when you're the President, you, you take it. Now, I'm just a -- just a sentimental … father, who doesn't like it when his kids are criticized.

And it comes with the -- I'm not saying it doesn't go with the territory. But you know there's a lotta Bush-bashing, there's a lotta people out there that have nothing good to say about it. I'd hate to single out a newspaper for example but, I can't remember the New York Times ever writing anything positive about our son. And every, we all know that it's a very liberal paper and all of that. But it's, Barbara says, "why do you read it, why do you sit in here complaining all morning?" I say I just wanna get it out of the way. And, but it hurts far worse when, when your son is criticized than when I used to be.

Gibson: What rankles you the most?

Bush: Well, there's all kinds of things that -- you mean about criticizing the son?

Gibson: Yep.

Bush: [PAUSE] It's hard to -- I couldn't -- I don't think I could quantify it for you. But …

Gibson: Is it the criticism on the war? Is it criticism on domestic issues?

Bush: I think it's criticizing him as a person. And it started off that he was a dumb guy, here's a guy who graduated from Harvard Business School, Yale University, did a good job in both, and for some reason the press picked up that he was dumb. And it just burned me up to a fare-thee-well. So that kinda criticism -- you don't, you don't hear that much anymore. Very little if any. That kinda personal attack. If you're gonna attack somebody on a, on a, say the differences on the war or difference on the economy or differences on some legislative bill that's one thing. But when it gets so personal, that's what I don't like.

Gibson: Is it true that you really don't advise him?

Bush:It's not true that I don't advise him but it's not true that I'm out there giving a lot of advice. We talk on issues, and we talk a lot, but not -- mostly it's about family and how he checks in for the, you know, how his brothers and sister are doing. And it's more that kind of a thing. But from time to time we'll discuss issues. But not … You know, here's my problem with that. If I told you, yeah, I give him a lot of good advice on stem-cell research, then, everybody would be trying to find a difference, a nuance of difference between father and son. And I just have not participated in that game, nor do I intend to till he has finished the Presidency.

Gibson: A very wise person once told me that you don't advise a child unless the child asks for it. That you stay outta your kid's life unless they ask for the advice. Is that true when it's father and son, both as presidents-

Bush: Well, I would think -- I-- no, I would think if I really felt strongly about something I'd feel free to speak up, I don't. But if I did I, I would, I don't think I'd have to wait for an invitation to criticize or to suggest.

Reaction to Bob Woodward's Book

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