George W. Bush and Laura Bush on 'This Week'

Jonathan Karl speaks with the former president and first lady on their latest trip to Africa.
10:56 | 07/07/13

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Transcript for George W. Bush and Laura Bush on 'This Week'
many people, many men and women and children are living because of what president bush has done. Praise for president bush from zambia's first lady as she joined him and the first lady for the opening of a clinic this week. Africa has become a frequent stop for him as he faces the biggest challenges of the continent. We met up with the former first couple in africa, and the secret surveillance he approved, and his highly unusual meeting with president obama. It was the rarest of road trips. There's no question that africa's on the move. A meeting of the president's club thousands of miles from home. We are thrilled to be back in zambia. President obama and former president bush traveled separately across the continent this week, but met in tanzania at a memorial for the 1998 embassy bombing. It was amazing to watch two u.S. Presidents, especially you two, together here in africa. What did you talk about when the cameras weren't rolling? What a pain the press is. You don't mean that. We just chatted about his trip. He's at the end of his trip. I remember how tired I used to get. You must be worn out, he was having a great trip, looking forward to getting home. I asked about the girls. Were they having a good time? He said you bet. But I remember bringing the girls along. How meaningful it was. But they didn't hash out policy. Did you talk to him? No, he's busy, I'm retired. And you had this extraordinary moment with first lady michelle obama. That was great. You have an opportunity to speak to your passions. It looks great for our country for our presidents and first ladies to be together, whatever the parties. It's a good example for the world. There's something that you and president obama have in common. You are both a lot more popular in africa than back home. I thought you were going to say because we married extraordinary women. That's true too. Great. What do you think of that? You're a rock star here. He had massive crowds like you have seen. What's behind that? We both represent a great country. People admire america. And africans are thrilled with the idea that american taxpayers funded programs that save lives. One of them, president bush signed into law ten years ago is celebrating a remarkable milestone. 1 million african babies born hiv-free, thanks to programs preventing mother to child transmission. Another 7 million are getting the drugs they need to survive. This is one of his crowning commitments. Because of the commitment of the bush administration and the american people, millions of people's lives have been saved. President obama said this is one of your crowning achievements. Do you agree? That's nice of him. It's an achievement of american generosity. It has been an extraordinarily successful program. And I was honored to be a part of it. One reason we're in africa is because we have found out and discovered that women are dying of cervical cancer. They have been saved from hiv through anti retroviral drugs, yet they're diagnose of cervical cancer. We think it's needless and we're going something about it. That brought them to zambia, to a small town near the iconic victoria falls, one of the seven wonders of the world. With a small army of volunteers, they rolled up their sleeves to refurbish and re-open a clinic. This is screening here. This room was really messy. And you can see there. As part of the bush institute's cancer prevention pink ribbon/red ribbon campaign, women can get screened for cervical cancer. This woman came with her niece on opening day after recently losing her mother-in-law to the disease. She is healthy. When you meet them, you feel honored. And I'm happy today that I've done it and I'm free. Why africa? Was there a moment when it clicked ? There was a moment, I was the president of the richest nation, and a pandemic was destroying a generation, and I thought it would be morally shameful not to act. How important is africa to your husband's legacy? I think it's important. I think it's really important for people to know that the generosity of the american taxpayer has saved lives here. Now 7 million people are on anti retroviral drugs and living productive lives that can contribute to their economy. They are not leaving orphans like what happened earlier in the big aids pandemic. I think it's -- I think americans should feel great about it. President obama has been criticized that he's not done as much for africa as you did. That he's neglected africa. Is that a bad rap? President obama cares about the people on the continent of africa. All I can tell you is the state department under his leadership and under the leadership of secretary clinton has been incredibly helpful in our efforts to deal with cervical cancer. It doesn't surprise me presidents get criticized. Saw that every once in a while. Not from you. I know you're not into psycho analysis, but people say this is you making up for mistakes in iraq. What do you say about that? Let them continue to babble. Not true? I'm trying to think of the proper word. Absurd psycho-babble. I saw a journalist in zambia asked you about gay marriage and whether it is compatible with christian values. You had an interesting response. I shouldn't be taking a speck out of someone's eyes when i have a log in my own. I wasn't going to answer the question then, and I'm not going to answer it now about the political question. I don't to wade back in the I'm out of politics. But it's very important for people not to be overly critical of someone else until you've examined your own heart. Have your views on this evolved at all? You didn't hear my answer. I'm not going to wade back into those kinds of issues. I'm out of politics. The only way to make news is criticize the president, which i don't want to do, criticize my party or wade in on a controversial issue. And I'm off the stage. Unless I'm promoting something i believe in strongly, and i believe that what we're doing in africa is incredibly important, and we'll continue to do so as long as I'm ambulatory. I've got one you care deeply about. Yeah. You tried hard to get comprehensive immigration reform through, how big of a missed opportunity will it be if it fails this time around? It's important to fix a broken system, treat people with respect and have confidence in our ability to assimilate people. It's difficult to pass because there's a lot of moving parts. And the legislative process can be ugly. And -- but it looks like they're making progress. That was one of your real frustrations was not being able to pass that bill. I understand that sometimes you get legislation through that you want. I was also frustrated we didn't pass social security reform. I thought the plan was reasonable on both. But sometimes it takes -- it takes time for some of these complex issues to evolve. And looks like immigration is, you know, has a chance to pass. Is the party going to be hurt if they let this go? The reason to pass immigration reform is not to bolster a republican party, it's to fix a system that's broken. Good policy yields good politics as far as I'm concerned. Your former spokesperson said when you look at what president obama has done on counterterrorism, this is the fourth bush term. Are you surprised that president obama has kept in place so many of the counterterrorism programs including those he criticized as a candidate? I think he got in and realized the dangers to the united states and he's acted in a way that he thinks is necessary to protect the country. Protecting the country is the most important job of the presidency. A couple of quick things. How is your father doing? He's great. Thank you. To have him by my side during the opening of our library was the most meaningful aspect of the day. Grateful that president obama and president clinton and carter were there, but it was awesome to have president 41 there. Really awesome. What's his legacy? He's a decent, honorable man who served with great distinction. Legacy is decided with time. To ask a president legacy, what are your dreams? Eventually history will sort it out. I have no desire, nor did he, to battle in the court of public opinion to define something that may or may not be true over time. And lastly, I saw you dancing. ♪ you saw this as well in zambia? Yes, I was in the back laughing the entire time. Wait a minute. We saw president obama dance, and other presidents dance. What about this continent makes presidents get up and dance? I was joyful. To be with women who were singing songs of praise and getting ready to enter a clinic that we had just refurbished, knowing full well, I knew full well, they didn't, I did, that the care they would get would more than likely save their lives. And so it was a joyful moment. And I got carried away by the spirit. It was enjoyable. Good to watch. Don't show it. We won't. Thank you so much for your time. Jonathan, great to see you. Great to see you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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