Barbara Bush, Hater of ‘Ugly’ Campaigns?

Mar 5, 2012 5:37pm

Barbara Bush said today that the Republican primary is “too ugly” and she wishes it were over already.

“I’m worried about this campaign,” the wife of George H.W. Bush said on Fox News this evening. “Too ugly — I really don’t like it, and I think it’s too bad, very much, for Mitt Romney.”

Bush gave a phone interview to the hosts of “The Five,” shortly after saying at a Southern Methodist University conference that “I think it’s been the worst campaign I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“I’m optimistic, but I would like this campaign to be over,” Bush said at the “first ladies conference.”

Bush has recorded an automatic phone message supporting Romney that has been sent to voters in Ohio. In her phone interview on Fox, she implored the conservative hosts not to dwell on Romney’s effort to brandish conservative credentials but rather to talk about his business background.

“He had to do what he had to do in Massachusetts,” the former first lady said.

For all her talk of a civil campaign, Bush has seen civility chucked out the window in a handful of presidential bids before 2012.

When her husband ran for president in 1988, Bush Sr. and his campaign manager Lee Atwater tied their opponent, Michael Dukakis, to Willie Horton in an effort to portray the former Massachusetts governor as responsible for the convicted felon’s post-furlough crimes.

Bush’s son, George W. Bush, was reelected in 2004 with help from the “Swift Boat Veterans” group that questioned Sen. John Kerry’s Vietnam military service in ads that were so nasty they brought about the term “swiftboating.”

Even Barbara Bush herself has dipped into the mean pool. In 1984, she referred to vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro as “that $4 million — I can’t say it, but it rhymes with rich.”

In her interview this evening, Bush scowled at the GOP infighting that has characterized the primary.

“I don’t like it at all,” she said.

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