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QuickBooks, backing you. Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday Morning. We'll begin today with a remembrance of former president George H. W. Bush, who died Friday evening at the age of 94. This weekend, his long career of public service and his reputation for civility are being honored by people across America and around the world.
Rita Braver will have our look back. I want a kinder and gentler nation. George H. W. Bush had one of the best political resumes in American history. President, vice president, congressman, ambassador, CIA director, war hero. Why do you think he was so drawn to public service?
He understood the importance of trying to put something back into the system. I, George Herbert Walker Bush. I had this Sunday morning, remembering our 41st president. Our Sunday profile this morning is of Gary Trudeau. To his fans, he's a beloved cartoonist. While to me, he's a beloved husband who just passed a most significant milestone.
Do you feel old yet? Very. Gary Trudeau began drawing Doonesbury half a century ago. It was more or less an accidental career. All these years later, he's still at it. And so are we. I imagine even now, half of your audience watching this go, really? She married a cartoonist? Yeah.
She could have done so much better. The anniversary of a comic strip classic ahead on Sunday morning. Then prepare to be surprised. There, Annie Hall is a story from Serena Altschul, all about a most unusual remake of a classic movie. Dial 911. It's the lobster squad. If you're of a certain generation, you probably remember Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in the 1977 Oscar-winning film, Annie Hall.
Dial 911. It's the lobster squad. Now there's a remake. Now there's a remake. The fact that they were willing to deal with older people. And I said, well, we can do this.
So we did. A film for the ages later on Sunday morning. David Begnaud previews an encore performance by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the star of the musical Hamilton. Steve Hartman has the tale of the girl in the letter, plus a little music from Aaron Copland, a nod to the man behind SpongeBob SquarePants and more.
All coming up when our Sunday morning podcast continues. From a young Naval pilot during World War II to the statesman who presided over the cold war's end. President George H.W. Bush devoted most of his very long life in service to his country. Rita Braver remembers our 41st president. Hi, George Herbert Walker Bush.
Do solemnly swear. I see history as a book with many pages. And each day we fill a page with acts of hopefulness and meaning. The pages of George Herbert Walker Bush's life are a testament to his belief in the purpose and potential of the country he loved.
One nation under God, indivisible. At 94, he lived longer than any president in American history, spending most of his life in public service. He understood the importance of trying to put something back into the system at whatever sacrifice that required. James Baker was one of Bush's closest friends and also served as his secretary of state. Baker was there during the tensest moments of the Bush administration. Including Operation Desert Storm, the 1991 U.S.-led mission that ousted Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces after their invasion of Kuwait.
The terrible crimes and tortures committed by Saddam's henchmen against the innocent people of Kuwait are an affront to mankind and a challenge to the freedom of all. Baker says sending U.S. troops to war was not a decision the president made lightly. He said, you know, nothing is more difficult than sending someone else's son or daughter off to perhaps die in a foreign land.
Bush understood that firsthand. At 19, he became the youngest Navy bomber pilot in World War II. His plane was hit on a mission in the South Pacific. The plane went surging forward. I felt this jolt. I could see the fire all around anti-aircraft and then suddenly my plane was on fire. He managed to finish his mission, releasing four bombs, then bailed out and was rescued by an American sub. So I'm floating around in this raft paddling and then all of a sudden saw this conning tower come up and saw the submarine surface.
Guy standing up in the top of it taking a picture. We still have the picture of it. George H. W. Bush was born into a prominent New England family. His father, Prescott, was a U.S. senator from Connecticut. His mother, Dorothy, taught him to be humble. And she said, you will be modest.
You don't brag about yourself. But historian David McCullough says another woman may have been Bush's most important influence, Barbara Pierce Bush. I think he's the wisest, smartest, most decent, caring person I know.
And I think he's the handsomest thing I ever laid my eyes on. They fell in love while still in high school and married as soon as he returned from the war. They spent 73 years together until her death this past April. She could see through the mystic, colorful stagecraft of politics and who was on the level and who wasn't. Bush got his degree from Yale, where he was captain of the baseball team, and after graduation in 1948, moved his growing family to Texas. The Bushes would have six children in all.
But friends say they never got over the loss of their three-year-old daughter Robin to leukemia in 1953. They had a profound effect on me and on Barbara. And I think that horrible incident drew us even closer together. In Texas, Bush founded an oil company, but politics beckoned. Why do you think he was so drawn to public service? He used to say, my family inculcated in me a strong sense of public service. And I used to say, George, you can't say inculcated.
It sounds like it sounds like a medical procedure or something. I say, say something else. But that was his philosophy. It does seem like he may have had the best pre-presidential resume of any president in history. CIA director, congressman, UN ambassador, ambassador to China. Bush took on the job of CIA chief in the Gerald Ford administration after congressional hearings revealed massive dirty tricks and illegalities, including charges of spying on U.S. citizens. In 1976, in an interview with Mike Wallace, Bush promised to clean things up.
I think there will be safeguards that certainly the agency can enthusiastically support and I know will meet with the satisfaction, with the support of the American people. A few years later, Bush hoped his resume would help him win the 1980 Republican presidential nomination. I think I've had better experience than any of the others. I know I want to be president more than any of the others. But Bush lost out to Ronald Reagan and took the number two spot on the winning ticket against incumbents Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale. I think that Bush's service for eight years as vice president was admirable in his loyalty to the president. He never tried to upstage the president, never openly expressed a disappointment or disagreement with the president and Reagan really appreciated that. Bill Plante, who covered the White House on and off for CBS News for more than 35 years, says Bush had one job that's traditional for vice presidents. He went to all the funerals of foreign leaders.
They used to say in his office, you die, we fly. George H.W. Bush finally clinched the Republican presidential nomination in 1988. I want a kinder and gentler nation. He and his running mate, Indiana Senator Dan Quayle, would go on to win the election.
Against Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis and Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen. That I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States. Bush was the first president in 150 years elected directly after serving as vice president. We live in a peaceful, prosperous time, but we can make it better. For a new breeze is blowing and a world refreshed by freedom seems reborn. It was a time of big international changes. At the end of 1989, Bush sent troops to Panama to topple strongman Manuel Noriega. The day of the dictator is over.
But there was an even more significant foreign development in that same period, the fall of the Berlin Wall. As communism started to lose its hold in Eastern Europe, President Bush was surprisingly laid back in his response. You don't seem elated and I'm wondering if you're thinking. I'm not an emotional kind of guy.
I'm very pleased. George H.W. Bush was never the kind of man who would spike the ball in the end zone.
He would never do the victory dance. And James Baker says that low key diplomatic approach helped engineer a peaceful end to the Cold War as the Soviet Union collapsed. He said, wait a minute, we still have business to do with these people, and it would be counterproductive to our interests if we stuck it in their eye.
Bush had domestic success as well, with the signing of a law that gave new protections to Americans with disabilities. But he also faced complaints that he was out of touch. Do you think that reputation was deserved, that he sort of felt he was above it all? No, I don't think he felt he was above it all.
But I do believe that he seemed to have manners which in much of the country were seen as aristocratic, if you will. In 1992, Bush lost his bid for re-election to Bill Clinton in a three-way race with Ross Perot. It may have been, at least in part, the result of Bush breaking a promise he had made four years earlier.
Read my lips. No new taxes. Why did he change his mind once he became president? He said, I did it because it was the right thing to do. He made a bargain with the Democratic leadership that he would raise taxes if they would cut spending.
The taxes got raised, but the spending cuts never came. And so George H.W. Bush bowed out of center stage. We have fought the good fight, and we've kept the faith, and I believe I have upheld the honor of the presidency of the United States. Bush would go on to see two of his sons, George and Jeb, become governors.
I, George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear. Then in 2000, George W. Bush became president of the United States. Only the second time in history that a father and son would hold the highest office in the land.
I can't tell you that they agreed on everything, but I'll tell you this, he never intruded on 43's decision-making. The word is that he didn't take to it kindly when his son was criticized as president. He hated it. It hurt him.
Worse were you. George H.W. Bush will be remembered for joining with fellow former president, Bill Clinton, to raise millions for victims of national disasters, and for founding the Thousand Points of Light Foundation to promote volunteer service. He is also a man who went skydiving on his 75th, 80th, 85th, and 90th birthdays.
Why in the world would you want to do that? There's something in him, and the fact that she would let him do it. A person being a United States ship, George H.W.
Bush, may God bless all who sail her. But perhaps most of all, George Herbert Walker Bush will be remembered for his sense of honor, decency, and fair play. Really a beautiful man. And of course, I'm affected because he played such a big role in my life.
So it's hard for me to talk about it. Some will say, well, he was too soft to be president. He wasn't tough enough. He wasn't this. He was plenty tough, but he was thoughtful, and he was kind, and he was considerate. He was lovely. The relationship, I think, is like a shock.
It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shock. It's Sunday morning on CBS, and here again is Jane Pauley. What would prompt a special group of fans of Woody Allen's Annie Hall to reimagine that classic movie as their Annie Hall?
With Serena Altschul, we're about to find out. There's an old joke. Two elderly women are at a Catskill Mountain resort, and one of them says, boy, the food at this place is really terrible. The other one says, yeah, I know, and such small portions. This is Alvy Singer, played by Woody Allen in his 1977 Oscar-winning film, Annie Hall. There's this old joke about two elderly women at a resort in the Catskill Mountains. This is also Alvy Singer, played by 94-year-old Harry Miller.
And one of them says, boy, the food in here is terrible, and the portions are too small. Of course, you don't recognize him. Oh, well. La-di-da, la-di-da. There's no Diane Keaton either. This is Annie Hall. Hi. Hi.
Annie is played by 74-year-old Shula Chernick. It had to be you. It had to be you.
This is a remake you've never seen. Stop it. Don't do that. Go to that one there. You know, maybe we should just call the police.
A 30-minute version starring seniors called My Annie Hall. Come here, Alvy. Oh, good go away. So how often do you sleep together? Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week. Constantly.
I'd say three times a week. This new version has a life all of its own, still sticking to the original film's witty banter and sexual humor. Alvy. Well, what's the matter? I don't want to. What's the matter?
I don't want to. When we were rewriting the script, we never wanted sex, or for their age, to be a joke. Yeah, and never to be at the expense of age.
It was never, that was never intentional. The project is the brainchild of millennial duo 29-year-old Matt Starr and 25-year-old Ellie Sacks. It all began when Starr was visiting his grandmother, who had early onset Alzheimer's. She would look at me and she would say, how was school? And I'd been out of school for a few years.
I'd answer, she'd turn away, take a bite, and she'd say, so how was school? And it just became these cyclical conversations. It's really sad. We'll always have Paris. We didn't have, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. But when they watched the classic film Casablanca together, he saw a big change in his grandma. And I noticed that she started reciting the lines. And I was like, oh, that's interesting. So I played the role opposite her, and I started reciting lines back. I said, this is a really great way to communicate. You found an entry point into her past and communication. Exactly. And I was like, maybe I can do this on a larger scale. Still, he didn't know where to start until he talked to Ellie Sacks. And I said, I have this great idea.
I have no idea how to do it. And she said, well, I do. Cool. That's how it started. That's how it started. But it looked like curtains before it even began.
Ten senior homes rejected their idea, until they turned to the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House in New York City. And they got it. They got the story.
And seniors like Harry Miller and Shula Chernick, they got it too. I immediately said yes. I don't know if I picked up on their enthusiasm, but it just seemed like such a creative topic. The fact that they were willing to deal with older people, and I said, well, we can do this. So we did.
Singing in the rain, just singing in the rain. The seniors were shown several trailers to choose from, but the final vote was cast. One of the things that makes Annie Hall really special is that it's a memory movie.
And I think that the film as a whole really asks the question, what do we choose to remember and why? You look like a very happy couple. Are you? Yeah.
In a long-term relationship, how do you two remain happy? I'm very shallow and empty. Well, we're both incredibly vapid, and neither of us have any original thoughts. And I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say.
And I'm exactly the same way. The project itself became something to remember. What was going to be a simple remake filmed on an iPhone turned into a large-scale production. More than $10,000 was raised to turn their dream into a 20-person crew and three months of shooting, not to mention pounds and pounds of live lobster. Yeah, you know, we should have ordered steaks.
They don't have legs. Fast forward to the big premiere. It's full of loneliness and misery and suffering and unhappiness. And it's all over much too soon. The movie has only been screened a couple of times, and each time brings a wide smile to the face of its 94-year-old star.
My face filmed a 20-foot screen. Oh, my God, I couldn't believe it. Nobody ever dreamed that Woody Allen himself would catch wind of the project. But in reading about their story in the New York Times, Starr and Saks learned that Allen even gave it his blessing. Yeah, my stomach dropped.
It was crazy. Did you even think it would be in his radar? No. No. People are calling me a celebrity.
I've been getting letters from people I don't know. How about you, Harry? Well, people are calling me a star, so if they want to call me a star, fine. I'm not going to argue. I say, I deserve it. But the happiest ending of all may be the special bond forged between the young and old.
With no one left in his family, Harry now has surrogate grandchildren. Should we find a place to sit? Yeah, we can sit down maybe.
It's so busy. Every week, the gang gets together for lunch, a stroll in the park, or even dance classes. And they adopted me as their grandfather. He says you've adopted him.
Yeah, and him us. What do we lose as people, young people, who just don't celebrate and appreciate what our elderly population has to offer? What are we losing?
This isn't like a super lofty answer, but I think we just lose the potential to make incredible friends. It reminded me of another old joke about the guy who goes to a psychiatrist. He says, Doc, my brother's crazy. He thinks he's a chicken. And the doctor says, why don't you turn him in? And the guy says, I would, but I need the eggs. Well, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about relationships. They're totally irrational. Crazy and absurd.
But we keep on going through it because we need the eggs. On Friday, we observe the 77th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack that thrust America into World War II. Soldiers in that war treasured letters from home, as have soldiers in the wars that followed. Steve Hartman has the tale of the girl in the letter. Inside a humble home in Wendell, Idaho, on a shelf tucked behind this picture, John Metzler keeps the letter that he says got him through the Vietnam War. It's written by a girl in the sixth grade. You didn't know this girl?
Nope. John was a 23-year-old Army helicopter gunner. When you got up in the morning, you always wondered whether you would see the sun go down at night. And because he had such a deadly job in such a thankless war, that little girl's note mattered. It arrived on Christmas Day, 1970, and it simply read in part, dear serviceman, I want to give my sincere thanks for going over to war to fight for us.
The class hopes you will be able to come home. Signed, Donna K. Obviously, it could have gone to any soldier, but John took it very personally. It's not just the letter, right?
Damn sure isn't. Does it mean as much to you today as it did when you got it? Yeah. The fact is, I think it means more today than I did when I got it, because she said thank you.
Yeah. Not long ago, John even asked some family members to find this Donna K, but they couldn't. At least, that's what they told him.
That's what they told him. She's actually alive and well and about to deliver a second thank you message. This one in person. I remember writing the letter in the sixth grade. I was amazed that I could have the opportunity to write to a serviceman and maybe make his life a little simpler for a couple of minutes. You took this assignment seriously. Oh yeah, absolutely. And she continues to take it seriously.
That's why she flew all the way from Florida to surprise this unsuspecting soldier. You're real. Yes, I'm real.
You're real. John's anonymous girl in the letter, now the friend before him. It has become almost cliche to thank a veteran for his or her service. I don't believe it. But John says we still need to say the words, because they're not only a friend, they're not only appreciated, sometimes they're desperately needed.
I can't believe it. And I'm here. Thank you. Oh, it's my pleasure.
Thank you so much. Our Sunday profile, it's very close to home for me. Hard as it may be to believe, it's been 50 years since Gary Trudeau first started drawing his Doonesbury comic strip. But the proof can be found in one of the most prestigious libraries in the land.
In the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, the items on display include the Gutenberg Bible, an early copy of the Declaration of Independence. Do you feel old yet? Very. And Cartoons by Gary Trudeau.
Oh, that was one of the very first bull tales. It just makes me cringe to look at this stuff. Gary, of course, is my husband. And truth be told, we've never done anything like this before. Hi, Gary. Hi, Jane.
Do you know this? I'd like to say that this wasn't my idea. I never said no, but I didn't exactly say yes. I said, OK. I still haven't said yes.
No, you never said yes. But thank you for- Here we are. Here we are. Who is this? Zonker.
Making his first appearance. Right, right. This is a collector's item.
His work is now the Doonesbury Archive at Yale, where, in 1968, the then 20-year-old student's comic strip creations began, from counterculture to curated. What a strange trip it's been. But it was your dream come true. It was not. It was more or less an accidental career.
And it didn't seem to me that I was going to be bound to this thing for any extensive period of my life. And now here it is 50 years later. Half a century of social commentary and political satire. A cast of characters that became family. Boopsie, Duke, Joanie, Mike, to name a few.
But to appreciate the artist, travel beyond Doonesbury Planet to the small town shores of Saranac Lake, New York. Gary, you are the most archival person I have ever known. Gary started looking back on his life when he was 12. And this is probably one of the last times that I personally appeared in one of my own performances. As you can see, I've got braces. And that may have had something to do with it. Gary was an impresario as a kid, staging his own basement productions. I love that telegram from your mother.
Mr. Garrett Trudeau, Saranac Lake, best of luck on your opening night. The plays gave way to painting. This moody piece won an award. It was basically an homage to my hero then, Francisco Goya. Even though it's an extremely depressing period of his life, it's called the black period.
You were a teenager and you felt like you could relate to Goya's black period. Yeah, I was down with it, the whole thing. That didn't last. What did was the humor. It just was fun and people enjoyed it. Evidenced in Weenie Man, Gary's anti-superhero, a hit with high school classmates. This fanatic must be stopped.
Let's dump on Weenie Man now. That comic calling followed him to college. There was a lot of excitement and hype surrounding the team. And the Yale Bowl. Quarterback Brian Dowling. Where from high up in the bleachers, among admiring undergraduates, Gary Trudeau watched Ivy quarterback phenom Brian Dowling. Brian finds Del Marty for the third Yale score. I can almost picture Brian Dowling running down the field and Gary Trudeau metaphorically riding his coattails.
That's exactly what happened. I owe a great deal to Brian. I cooked up this idea about the team and specifically about Brian Dowling, who I renamed BD in the strip. And I took them in in the managing editor, looked at them and shrugged and said, sure, will we print anything?
And the Yale Daily News did. Called Bull Tales, it caught on. Shortly after graduation, it was renamed Doonesbury and syndicated in newspapers around the country.
When you started, you were kind of a phenom. I mean, let's face it, you look at a page of comic strips from those early days. Doonesbury did stand out. Stood out for being so bad. At its height, Doonesbury appeared in nearly 2000 papers, made the cover of Time.
There were also bands and boycotts. And in 1975, Gary Trudeau won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning, a first for a comic strip. The actual prize itself was a piece of paper and a check and it arrived in the mail. Not long after, I entered the picture.
It was a setup engineered by Gary's friend and My Today co-host, Tom Brokaw. Our pal here is getting married next week to a little known cartoonist. I never saw Doonesbury until after I met you.
Yeah, and your friends told you that you should be there. Yeah, I didn't know much about Doonesbury. You remember our honeymoon?
I do. Well, we got married, lovely, but before we could leave for our honeymoon, we had to go back up to New York because you were on deadline. Yeah, I had strips to finish up and I would finish them often at the airport. It was always working around the margins of family life. And, you know, we won't know until it all comes tumbling out in therapy for our children, you know, what kind of damage was done by my constant sneaking off to work.
I imagine even now, half of your audience watching this go, really? She married a cartoonist? She could have done so much better. How did that happen? Was that your dream?
But no, no, you must have, I mean, who did you think you would end up with? An industrialist or a... No, I was holding out for a cartoonist. For a cartoonist. From Nixon on, presidents make frequent Doonesbury appearances. Donald Trump was on Gary's comic strip radar 30 years before taking office. This is 31 years ago, your first Doonesbury featuring Donald J. Trump. He was well known enough by that time. He's denying any political ambitions. No, no, no, no.
I'm just being... Rick says, okay, but if you did run for Congress and Trump replies, president, think president. So that's, you know, that was, this has been in the air for a long, long time. Of tens of thousands of strips, the one of BD losing his leg in the Iraq war had the biggest impact on readers. Almost there, BD, everything's good.
Not your time, bro. His leg is missing. That's startling.
And the fact that he didn't have a helmet on was noteworthy and just as startling. The strip has appeared in the armed services military newspaper, Stars and Stripes, since 1973. Along the way, he's been nominated for an Academy Award for an animated Doonesbury film. There's been a Broadway show and the Amazon sitcom, Alpha House. But for the grownup impresario, it's that accidental career that will leave the most memorable legacy. Gary Trudeau, the chronicler of the generational counterculture, has turned 70. Yeah, I'm part of the, what they call a legacy strip.
It's like a legacy band. You've been around forever and that gives you a certain amount of job security. I'll probably stay in newspapers, but I'm on my way to a job. I'll probably stay in newspapers, but I'm only going to be around as long as the newspapers are.
I'll be one of those guys who turns out the lights. It is my great honor to introduce this evening's renowned guest, the one, the only, Mary Poppins. Morning on CBS and here again is Jane Pauley. Lin-Manuel Miranda isn't just starring in the new holiday movie, Mary Poppins Returns. He's also gearing up for an important encore.
David Begnaud has a preview. When Lin-Manuel Miranda took the stage in his revolutionary creation, Hamilton, back in 2015, he made theater history. He soon left Hamilton behind for a flurry of other projects, which included writing songs for the animated 2016 film Moana. That earned him an Oscar nod.
On this past Friday, he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But for three weeks in January, Lin-Manuel Miranda is going to take a step back, resuming his role in Hamilton, not to change history, but in hopes of changing lives. Nearly 15 months ago, Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico.
By some estimates, nearly 3,000 people died. The storm led to the largest power outage in U.S. history, not long after the storm, Miranda returned to the island, where his parents were born and where he spent summers as a young boy. My grandfather built the house around the porch. We were with him as he toured what remained of his grandparents' home in Vega Alta.
I'm jumping back in. And it was during that visit that he announced to us that he would be reprising the role that made him a star. The 24 performances are part of a multi-million dollar fundraising effort that Miranda is leading.
Proceeds from the shows will go to supporting arts on the island. There's Henry Winkler. Where better, we thought, to sit down and check in with him than on the stage where the now 38-year-old Miranda first performed Hamilton on Broadway. So, we're going to be talking about Hamilton, where 38-year-old Miranda first performed Hamilton on Broadway. So, you're doing a musical about a guy who grew up in the Caribbean. And left because of a hurricane. Because of a hurricane. And now you're going to take this Hamilton show to the Caribbean. Yeah, it's too full circle because, you know, Hamilton was supposed to go back.
They said, here's money for a scholarship, go become a doctor, and then come back. He never came back. He got a little busy.
He got a little busy with the revolution. It will be interesting in the exodus that happened in the wake of Maria, how many people who will leave because they had to leave. And don't go back. Having grown up in New York, your parents being from the island. Right. What is the best that bringing Hamilton to the island can do for Puerto Rico? Our goal is to basically raise money for arts on the island so that the arts can recover as other sectors of Puerto Rican life recover. And we'll have 10,000 $10 tickets on the island via lottery that we're just holding.
Every Wednesday matinee is all $10. The rehearsal started not long ago. In the cast, Rick Negron, he grew up just a few miles from the San Juan stage, where he will now perform right alongside Miranda. Our first Puerto Rican king.
We're a better place to do it. Negron plays Britain's King George III. I've been auditioning for about two years. There's going to be a guy who grew up on the island in the show.
Mind-blowing, without a doubt. You are like the one they're rooting for. I'm going to be like this. I'm going to be like this, but I'll be fine. I'm an old gypsy, so I know my way around the nerves. Unlike the rest of the Hamilton cast, Miranda had very little time to get ready.
I only have a week or a week and a half. I also have this movie, Mary Poppins Returns, coming out. What do you think, Mary Poppins?
Miranda plays Lamplighter Jack in the anxiously awaited Disney remake of the classic film. That boy from the Big Apple, who's won a Pulitzer, a Grammy, and multiple Tony awards, says he is more than ready for his encore. That will happen in front of an audience where he is already a favorite son.
It makes me very emotional to talk about. I knew if Hamilton was going to get to go to Puerto Rico in any way, shape, or form, I'd want to experience that in the first person. I'd be too nervous sitting out there.
I'd be too nervous sitting out in the house. The passing of our 41st president has prompted reflection and respect from veteran journalist and author Evan Thomas. George Bush's mother taught him not to brag.
Don't use the great I am, she said. He learned the lesson almost too well. Politicians are supposed to boast.
That's how they get elected. But Bush came across on the stump as kind of uncomfortable with himself. At the same time, he could seem too eager to please.
His mother told him, you should always share with others. Bush was so determined to share that his nickname as a boy was Have Half. When he was Ronald Reagan's vice president, he seemed to be so willing to accommodate the more conservative president that he came across, to some, as a kind of a yes-man. I was the Washington bureau chief at Newsweek at the time, and we did a cover story on Bush called Fighting the Wimp Factor. We made him look manly on the cover and talked about his wartime bravery, but by using the word, the overall impression was that maybe Bush was sort of a wimp.
Boy, were we wrong. As president, Bush showed a quiet kind of courage to do the right thing, even if it cost him politically. Running for president in 1988, he had promised no new taxes. But when it became clear that the only way to cut the out-of-control federal deficit was to raise taxes, he did it.
That took guts. It probably cost him reelection in 1992. At the same time, at the end of the Cold War, he put out the word, no gloating, no boasting. The Berlin Wall had come down, the Soviet Union was collapsing, but Bush had the great wisdom to know that it was a mistake to taunt. George Bush was ambitious. Yes, he was. And he could be politically expedient. But he was also humble. Bush believed, really believed, in country first.
Bush believed, really believed, in country first. He was the last of his kind. How much we miss him today. I'm Jane Pauley. Thank you for listening. And please join us again next Sunday morning. New Hampshire people really just kind of don't like Maggie Hassan. For more from this week's conversation, follow the Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
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