Jay Leno to George W. Bush: Thanks for all the material

posted at 7:32 am on November 19, 2010 by Andrew Malcolm

One of the dangers of following book media tours is that several days in, the author slips into narrative cruise control, a storytelling routine that shares the same stories the same ways. This is especially true by the time they reach the West Coast because, given the Eastern location of major media outlets, most promotion tours start there.

Think Sean Hannity and the bald guy on the “Today Show” with former president George W Bush recently.

Promoting his best-selling memoir “Decision Points,” Bush made two stops in the L.A. area Thursday, including “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

He had fresh material for both. At the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, with former First Lady Nancy Reagan on his arm, Bush answered a long series of written audience questions.

“I loved being president,” said No. 43, “and I love not being president.”

He said he’d still be out of the spotlight if it wasn’t for promoting the book. But he intended to return to relative anonymity soon because “I just don’t want to be out opining on everything” since it ends up being taken as critical of his successor. And the job’s hard enough.

He said he hoped “Decision Points” would be a reference point for future historians and a glimpse of life inside the pressures of the presidency for today’s readers. “I don’t settle scores,” said Bush. “I’m not an angry person. I’m a happy guy.” Bush did reveal that one of his greatest thrills was surprising U.S. troops on Thanksgiving in Baghdad.

An 8-year-old wanted to know what Bush wanted to be at age 8: “Willie Mays!”

And Bush recounted how excited he was years later as president to welcome his childhood hero and baseball great to the White House as “Commissioner” of Bush’s annual T-ball games for little people. 

On Osama bin Laden: He knows President Obama is still trying to find the 9/11 villain and he wishes he’d been able “to bring him to justice.”

“But,” Bush added, “he’s not leading any victory parades.”

Any advice for parents of teens? “Look them in the eye and say, ‘I love you and there’s nothing you can do to make me stop loving you. (pause) So, stop trying!’”

At NBC, Bush got a standing O from the audience and appreciation from the stand-up comedian: “The last time you were here it was 2000. It was 10 years ago. And in the last 10 years, thank you for all the material.”

A notorious early-riser, Bush looked at the late-night host and said: “You know, I hate to tell you, I don’t want to hurt your feelings. But I was asleep.”

(Malcolm is the Top of the Ticket blogger at latimes.com/ticket  )


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G Dub: Patriot who did his duty to the best of his ability. Humble, flawed, and honest.

Back in the day…

ted c on November 19, 2010 at 7:41 AM

I’m not a Republican and I never voted for Bush, but the contrast in style, values, and leadership between Obama and Bush makes me love and admire the former president.

WordsMatter on November 19, 2010 at 7:46 AM

The “Tonight Show security skit” with President Bush was quite funny and showed Pres. Bush has a sense of humor. I’m not so sure about Obama. Even though I was no fan, even Pres. Clinton exhibited a better sense of humor than Obama (although Clinton was and still is much more arrogant while Bush is much more humble and personable).

Carl on November 19, 2010 at 7:46 AM

There are men, there are gentlemen, and then there are patriot gentlemen of high standards.

Yoop on November 19, 2010 at 7:49 AM

“I’m not an angry person. I’m a happy guy.”

Reason’s 1-5 the Left hates him.

SouthernGent on November 19, 2010 at 7:52 AM

Pure class. Although there were some things I disagreed with that G.W. did, I cannot help but feel a great admiration for the man.

vinceautmorire on November 19, 2010 at 7:52 AM

“I just don’t want to be out opining on everything” since it ends up being taken as critical of his successor.

Class. A class of class you don’t see in the current finger-pointing bunch and won’t ever see. You sense that Dubya wants to get back out of the spotlight because he outclasses President Street Flunkie just by showing up.

curved space on November 19, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Yep. I admire him and yet concur with Michelle, et al. that the impetus for the Tea Party started under his watch…and exploded when Obama doubled quadrupled down.

G. Charles on November 19, 2010 at 8:03 AM

Obama, thanks for all the material……when we get around to using it.

Electrongod on November 19, 2010 at 8:05 AM

And in the last 10 years, thank you for all the material.”

And if Leno and his fellow ‘comedians’ had any integrity,honesty or stones they would have had ten years of material for Zero’s 22 months in office.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on November 19, 2010 at 8:11 AM

Think of the restraint necessary no to be “out opining on everything”, in order not to make his successor’s job harder, when that same successor bashes Bush mercilessly at every convenient opportunity, to deflect attention away from his own massive shortcomings. Bush, despite flaws, loved his country and sought its best interests.

He got fiscal conservatism wrong, and his war efforts languished, but thank God he was elected, as he was infinitely better than the alternatives in ’04 and ’08.

And much of his failing was due to compromise with the virulent Left, including the media, which dogged him his entire term, not even letting up when it was over.

paul1149 on November 19, 2010 at 8:20 AM

I’m not a Republican and I never voted for Bush, but the contrast in style, values, and leadership between Obama and Bush makes me love and admire the former president.

WordsMatter on November 19, 2010 at 7:46 AM

+10

Badger40 on November 19, 2010 at 8:21 AM

Think of the restraint necessary no to be “out opining on everything”, in order not to make his successor’s job harder,
paul1149 on November 19, 2010 at 8:20 AM

That is what makes a leader a true leader.
Leadership skills are really lacking in America.
No leader is perfect. But everyone with an undiseased mind, like Words Matter, can admire such a person.
GW is a good man.
Laura is a lucky woman.

Badger40 on November 19, 2010 at 8:23 AM

Great interview. The president is truly one of the most gracious political figures I’ve seen in recent years. He laughed at himself, made his faith clear and unabashed, and loves life. He’s a good man.

princetrumpet on November 19, 2010 at 8:29 AM

GW is a good man.
Laura is a lucky woman.

Badger40 on November 19, 2010 at 8:23 AM

Yet he always says he married up. Class.

publiuspen on November 19, 2010 at 8:30 AM

And if Leno and his fellow ‘comedians’ had any integrity,honesty or stones they would have had ten years of material for Zero’s 22 months in office.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on November 19, 2010 at 8:11 AM

indeed!

W=pure class

cmsinaz on November 19, 2010 at 8:36 AM

The Bush family has more class than the rest of the politicians put together. They view public service as just that and nothing more.
Personally I think Jeb Bush would be a great candidate for 2012. He is often acknowledged to be the more conservative one of the family. I hope he is considering a run.

Bradky on November 19, 2010 at 8:39 AM

But he intended to return to relative anonymity soon because “I just don’t want to be out opining on everything” since it ends up being taken as critical of his successor.

Compare that with Carter and Clinton who just refuse to go away. And The Magnificent One – Obama? He can’t stop finger pointing.

antisocial on November 19, 2010 at 8:41 AM

Sigh. It was so nice having a President with a sense of humor and especially a sense of humility.

Bush has done himself a tremendous amount of good with this book and the tour.

rockmom on November 19, 2010 at 8:41 AM

And much of his failing was due to compromise with the virulent Left, including the media, which dogged him his entire term, not even letting up when it was over.

paul1149 on November 19, 2010 at 8:20 AM

When you never stand up for yourself, you make it appear that your enemies might be right about you. While the Democrats played hardball, he played wiffle ball with a plastic bat.

Extrafishy on November 19, 2010 at 8:42 AM

At NBC, Bush got a standing O from the audience ”

Yes indeed….

….Thank you for your leadership President Bush.

Baxter Greene on November 19, 2010 at 8:46 AM

Any advice for parents of teens? “Look them in the eye and say, ‘I love you and there’s nothing you can do to make me stop loving you. (pause) So, stop trying!’”

Haha I’m gonna use that one on my TODDLER (who THINKS that she’s a teen) today! :-)

Tony737 on November 19, 2010 at 8:52 AM

When you never stand up for yourself, you make it appear that your enemies might be right about you

Bush going silent for over a year was the worst single decision of his presidency. It ignored the importance of public morale at a time when the wars were weighing heavy on our psyche, and it gave a barn-door sized entrance to our Leftist fifth column to make political advances. And when he did speak during that time he was unable to articulate any coherent rationale, probably because of associated limitations he accepted on himself.

paul1149 on November 19, 2010 at 8:54 AM

“Look them in the eye and say, ‘I love you and there’s nothing you can do to make me stop loving you. (pause) So, stop trying!’”

“I don’t want my daughters punished with a baby.” is a little more “intelligent”, don’t you think?

Caper29 on November 19, 2010 at 9:04 AM

I’m trying to imagine what a Bush interview and bit with David Letterman would look like, and keep comng up with something resembling a Keith Olbermann-on-meth rant, some comedy skit with the words “crimes against humanity” inserted in the middle and Paul Schaffer holding a giant puppet head of the ex-president.

Wouldn’t be pretty, but it would still be worth it if Bush got off one Willow Palin zinger at Dave.

jon1979 on November 19, 2010 at 9:06 AM

George W. Bush……..?

….oh yeah, the guy that gave us the GROPING TSA and a ever growing Progressive Federal government, a crippled GOP, and O’Jesus in the White House. But he was great on foreign terrorism.

PappyD61 on November 19, 2010 at 9:06 AM

When you never stand up for yourself, you make it appear that your enemies might be right about you. While the Democrats played hardball, he played wiffle ball with a plastic bat.

Extrafishy on November 19, 2010 at 8:42 AM

Couldn’t agree more. I always respected his integrity. I always respected the fact that he told you what he was going to do, and then he did it. I disagreed with a lot of his 2nd term, but I never doubted that he felt he was doing what was best for the country. I just wish he would’ve listened to his conservative base more and the liberals less.

search4truth on November 19, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Great interview. The president is truly one of the most gracious political figures I’ve seen in recent years. He laughed at himself, made his faith clear and unabashed, and loves life. He’s a good man.

princetrumpet on November 19, 2010 at 8:29 AM

Sounds like his father.

Wade on November 19, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Was there any remarks regarding Special Olympics bowling?

tommer74 on November 19, 2010 at 9:50 AM

Class act. Too bad Barry isn’t taking notes.

GarandFan on November 19, 2010 at 10:19 AM

Pure class. Although there were some things I disagreed with that G.W. did, I cannot help but feel a great admiration for the man.

vinceautmorire on November 19, 2010 at 7:52 AM

My sentiments exactly.

Mr. Grump on November 19, 2010 at 10:30 AM

And in the last 10 years, thank you for all the material.”
And if Leno and his fellow ‘comedians’ had any integrity,honesty or stones they would have had ten years of material for Zero’s 22 months in office.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on November 19, 2010 at 8:11 AM

Amen to that!

lovingmyUSA on November 19, 2010 at 10:32 AM

George W. Bush……..?

….oh yeah, the guy that gave us the GROPING TSA and a ever growing Progressive Federal government, a crippled GOP, and O’Jesus in the White House. But he was great on foreign terrorism.

PappyD61 on November 19, 2010 at 9:06 AM

All by himself–Bush did this all by himself? Wow, here I thought it was a republican congress that got obsessed with it’s own power and a democratic congress that twarted Bush and the repubs at every turn–not to mention the MSM that was a willing cohort of the democratic party. If you remember, the TSA that Bush considered was NOT the TSA we have today. You Bush haters sure like to go overboard..

lovingmyUSA on November 19, 2010 at 10:41 AM

He said he hoped “Decision Points” would be a reference point for future historians and a glimpse of life inside the pressures of the presidency for today’s readers. “I don’t settle scores,” said Bush. “I’m not an angry person. I’m a happy guy.”

And Sarah Palin is a happy gal.

How liberals hate that.

disa on November 19, 2010 at 10:42 AM

You Bush haters sure like to go overboard..

lovingmyUSA on November 19, 2010 at 10:41 AM

…and blame Bush because the life vest wasn’t big enough, and it was red instead of blue, and … and…an …gurgle.

Yoop on November 19, 2010 at 11:02 AM

I miss him as president. I miss his humility, honor and pride in this country.

I am proud of him as a human being,as a man and as a Texan!

Thank you President GW Bush!

SgtRed on November 19, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Think of the restraint necessary no to be “out opining on everything”, in order not to make his successor’s job harder, when that same successor bashes Bush mercilessly at every convenient opportunity, to deflect attention away from his own massive shortcomings….

paul1149 on November 19, 2010 at 8:20 AM

And remember that when Dubya assumed office in 2000, his predecessor was on TV so much you would have thought Bill Clinton had been elected for a third term.

Haiku Guy on November 19, 2010 at 11:23 AM

NewsBusters: Bush Yucks It Up With Jay Leno
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/11/19/bush-yucks-it-jay-leno

StewartIII on November 19, 2010 at 11:41 AM

What a contrast…… Bush / Obama.

Will never forgive GWB for a lot of things, not the least of which was his horrid stance on amnesty (and his Obama-like legislative maneuvering to try get it passed) but the man has more class in his pinky finger than you’ll find in the entire Obama administration.

Tim_CA on November 19, 2010 at 3:27 PM

It’s more clear all the time: Bush is a gentleman. Obama – not.

Rosmerta on November 19, 2010 at 6:07 PM

RE: Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner, March 24, 2004

Bush displayed a photo of himself looking for something out a window in the Oval Office. His narration: “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere.” But the joke wasn’t done. After a few more slides, there was a shot of Bush looking under furniture in the Oval Office. “Nope,” he said. “No weapons over there.” Then another picture of Bush searching in his office: “Maybe under here.”

Bush was actually joking about the missing weapons of mass destruction. He was making fun of the reason he had cited for sending Americans to war and to death, turning it into a running gag.

Now that’s classy.

Bill Blizzard on November 19, 2010 at 6:56 PM