Video: George W. Bush Tells Leno 'There's A Rembrandt Trapped In This Body'
Former President George W. Bush made a rare television appearance on The Tonight Show last night. Host Jay Leno told Bush, "You look a lot more relaxed." Dubya laughed, "No kidding!" Then he added, "Duh!" Aw, it must have been a lot of pressure ruining the America's middle class while also destroying Iraq.
Then Leno asked him how he handled tough moments and decisions. He answered, "You have to believe in what you're doing...I relied upon my faith," and also credited his family and his "good team." "I am also very comfortable with the fact that it's going to take a while for history will judge whether the decisions I made are consequential or not," Bush said.
"Therefore I'm not too worried about it," he continued. I read some biographies of Washington... my attitude is they're still writing biographies on the first guy, the 43rd guy doesn't need to worry about it!" Yeah, why worry; Bush will be long dead before future post-apocalyptic historians can decide if his decisions were "consequential." Who knows, maybe it will turn out that Bush's decisions were inconsequential? We really want to live in that alternate reality!
Bush, who was also speaking at USC last night in a closed press event, also discussed his newfound passion: Painting. He recounted that he told his teacher, "There’s a Rembrandt trapped in this body. Your job is to find it," and showed off paintings of his dog Barney and cat Bob (named Bob so Bush could remember to spell it in his old age).
Bush enthused, "I do take painting seriously. It's changed my life," before giving a gift to Leno: A George W. Bush original painting of Leno. Leno was very touched, "I can't make fun of him now!" and later said he would hang it up in his home immediately.
Former First Lady Laura Bush also joined her husband and they discussed their charitable work in Africa, focusing on health issues. The former president said, "The sad thing is, if you're a woman, you're likely to have cervical cancer, and not much was being done about it. So the Bush Institute, along with some partners, decided to do something about it. And so we do go to Africa. We work with the governments there. But we also like to spend time refurbishing clinics." He also goes to cheer up Africans with his dancing.
Bush does not yearn for more attention. He said, "Eight years in the spotlight is enough," and explained his low-profile and reluctance to comment on policy, "I don't think it's good for the country to have a former president criticize his successor."