Entries in George H.W. Bush (9)


Gabby Giffords Meets With George H.W. Bush on Gun Control Tour

Joshua Lott/Getty Images(KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine) -- Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband former astronaut Mark Kelly had lunch Saturday with former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara at their Kennebunkport, Maine home, Giffords spokeswoman Pia Carusone tells ABC News.

Giffords and Kelly are on their seven-day seven-state “Rights and Responsibilities Tour,” to push for expanded background checks for firearms purchases. They are also being accompanied by some families of victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting who were with them Friday evening in New Hampshire and Saturday  in Maine.

This isn’t the first time Giffords and Bush have met. When Giffords was recovering in a Houston hospital, Bush and his wife Barbara went to visit her. In her 2011 memoir with Kelly, they write that at that point in her recovery she could only say “chicken” to the former president and first lady.

Bush has an interesting history with gun control himself. In 1989, then President George H. W. Bush issued an executive order halting the importation of some semi-automatic firearms after a mass shooting that killed five children and wounded 29 others in California in January 1989. The shooter used an AK-47 assault rifle.

In 1995, the former president resigned from the National Rifle Association after the NRA compared agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to “Nazis” who harass gun owners.

“Your broadside against federal agents deeply offends my own sense of decency and honor, and it offends my concept of service to country,” Bush wrote in a letter to the NRA president Thomas Washington on May 3, 1995. “It indirectly slurs a wide array of government law-enforcement officials, who are out there, day and night, laying their lives on the line for all of us.”

In a fundraising letter at the time NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, who still holds that title, described federal agents as “wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms” and wanting to “attack law-abiding citizens,” which Bush called “vicious slander on good people.”

Bush’s resignation letter ended with: “You have not repudiated Mr. LaPierre’s unwarranted attack. Therefore, I resign as a life member of NRA, said resignation to be effective upon your receipt of this letter. Please remove my name from your membership list. Sincerely, George Bush.”

In April, the Senate defeated legislation that called for tighter background checks on gun purchases, and Giffords and Kelly made stops in some of the states with senators who voted against the measure in a bid to get them to switch their votes.

The tour kicked off Monday in Nevada, where at a shooting range in Las Vegas Giffords shot a gun for the first time since being shot in the head in early 2011. They then stopped in Alaska, North Dakota, Ohio, and New Hampshire. The goal is to apply pressure to Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.; Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska; Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio; and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., all of whom voted against the legislation in April.

Giffords and Kelly also stopped in Maine and Sunday they plan to be in North Carolina to thank Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., for supporting the background-check legislation.

Kelly got in some target practice in Nevada, Alaska, and went shooting in the north country of New Hampshire on the tour. The message they are sending is a clear one: they are not anti-gun, they just want what they call reasonable gun control. They are armed with their own commissioned polling in individual states, which show there is wide support for background checks in the states where senators voted against the legislation.

An ABC News poll in April found that 86 percent of Americans support extending background checks to gun sales at gun shows and online.

At a stop in Nevada, Kelly said through their “research we have found that a lot of criminals buy guns at gun shows and over the Internet and that needs to change.” He added that Giffords “inspires me every day.” She was almost killed in January, 2011 when a mentally ill man shot her and killed six others in her congressional district in Tucson, Ariz.

Besides going shooting, on the tour they have also stopped in a diner in North Dakota, grabbed ice cream in Ohio, threw out the first pitch at a baseball game in Manchester, N.H., and met with community leaders in all of the states trying to push their message.

In Nevada, Giffords told a crowd tougher background checks cuts across partisan lines.

“Democrats and Republicans, everyone. We must do something. Fight, fight, fight,” Giffords said.

It’s something Carusone, a longtime Giffords aide, also noted in an interview at the beginning of the tour, telling ABC News they will be meeting with a “coalition of unlikely allies that support commonsense gun measures,” including “gun owners, Republicans, independents, hunters, all sort of people.”

“We are with Republicans [on the tour who] we may disagree with on other issues, but on this issue they want bipartisanship and they want Congress to make some progress on this,” Carusone said.

At least one of the senators who was in the spotlight of the tour, Sen. Heitkamp, responded to the visit telling ABC affiliate WDAY-TV in Fargo, N.D., that while she does support legislation that prevents trafficking of firearms she won’t be changing her mind.

“I think that is something that we could get behind if we can get some compromise but I don’t see this thing coming up again,” Heitkamp said.

In January, Giffords and Kelly announced the creation of Americans for Responsible Solutions, and sat down with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer to discuss the initiative and mark the second anniversary of the Tucson shooting. Giffords and Kelly said the December shooting at the Sandy Hook School meant they had to do something more.

“Enough,” Giffords told Sawyer.

“After the shooting in Tucson, there was talk about addressing some of these issues, [and] again after [a movie theater massacre in] Aurora [Colo.],” Kelly said. “I’m hopeful that this time is different, and I think it is. Twenty first-graders’ being murdered in their classrooms is a very personal thing for everybody.”


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Bush Family's Personal Information Compromised by Computer Hacker

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The private lives of a very public family have been exposed, thanks to a hacker who managed to breach the email accounts of several family members of former President George H.W. Bush and his son, former President George W. Bush.

As reported by TheSmokingGun website on Thursday, whoever was responsible for this invasion of the Bush family’s privacy uploaded photos and emails to an online account specifically hacked for hosting the material.

Hacked emails from 2009 through 2012 included one that indicated that the health condition of George H. W. Bush was so grave in late December that the former president’s “funeral team is having an emergency meeting at 10 a.m. just to go through all the details."

In one email sent by George W. Bush, he wrote that he was “thinking about (a) eulogy.”  The elder Bush was hospitalized in Houston for more than month but was finally cleared to return home in January.

Meanwhile, the hacker also got a hold of home addresses and cellphone numbers of dozens of Bush family members, including both former presidents.  Email accounts breached included that of George H.W. Bush’s daughter, Dorothy Bush Koch; his brother-in-law and sister-in-law; and family friend, CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz.

On Friday, a spokesman for George H.W. Bush confirmed to ABC News that there was a hacking attempt on the former president’s email and that authorities have begun an investigation into the incident.  The spokesman could not confirm the content of the emails that were hacked.

A spokesman for the Secret Service told ABC News the agency is investigating the matter.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Lifetime Secret Service Protection Restored for Presidents Bush and Obama

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- As a cost savings, Congress had ended lifetime security details for former presidents, cutting off Secret Service protection 10 years after a president leaves office. But in the post-9/11 world Congress decided that former chief executives may still be vulnerable and need protection.

President Obama has now signed the repeal. HR. 6620, the “Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012,” also gives Secret Service protection to former first ladies and guarantees agents will continue to shadow children of former presidents until they become 16 years of age.

Of course, families can decline protection. When President George Herbert Walker Bush walked away from the inaugural ceremonies of his successor Bill Clinton, his wife Barbara Bush said farewell to her agents on the Capitol steps, and moved back to Texas without them.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Jeb Bush Calls Father ‘My Total Hero,’ Brother ‘Principled’

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(ORLANDO) -- Jeb Bush called his father “my total hero” in an interview that aired Thursday morning, pointing out that the former president treats everyone he meets with kindness and that he’s the “full package.”

“I mean, I’ve never met a man as near perfect as George. H.W. Bush,” Jeb Bush said in an interview with Charlie Rose on CBS.

The former Florida governor told Rose his father, 87, is slower now, but good “mentally,” although “he can’t walk.”

“He’s held up by a stroller,” Bush, 59, said.  “That’s hard for a guy that’s been so vital and vigorous in life.”

Bush, the son of one president and brother to another, said his brother, George W. Bush, will be “admired for his determination and fortitude.”

He called his brother more “disciplined” than he is and denied that stubbornness ran in the Bush family, but “maybe in the case of my brother.”

“There’s a fine line between stubbornness and the positive side of that, which is dogged determination,” Bush said, before discussing his brother’s legacy.  “And I think what people will begin to see is that he wasn’t stubborn.  He was totally determined and principled about it.  And the country was safer because of it.  That will be the positive legacy of George W. Bush.”

Bush said he admired the way his brother dealt with criticism during his time in office and the country is safer now because of George W. Bush.

“To take the beating he took and to stay on course, I admire it tremendously.  I’m not sure I would have.  I probably would have lost my temper.  I think a lot of people would have lost their temper actually,” Bush said.

Earlier in the interview, Bush addressed speculation that he would join Mitt Romney on the GOP ticket.  “Under no circumstances” will he be vice president, he said.

But he kept the door open to a run for the White House himself, saying he has not “made that decision” yet.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


George H.W. Bush Officially Endorses Romney

Tom Pennington/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- Channeling country music legend Kenny Rogers, former President George H.W. Bush officially endorsed Mitt Romney in Houston on Thursday, advising Romney’s remaining opponents that they’ve got to know “when to fold ‘em.”

“I do think it’s time for the party to get behind Gov. Romney. And she was reminding me Kenny Rogers sang, ‘It’s time when to hold ‘em and time when to fold ‘em,’” Bush said, loosely quoting a lyric from the famous song “The Gambler.”  "Well I think it’s time for people to all get behind this good man. And, some of ‘em waged a very good fight -- I say that about some of his opponents. But we’re so convinced and we’ve known Mitt for a very long time, that he’s the man to do this job and get on and win the presidency.”

Bush had already expressed support for Romney last December, telling the Houston Chronicle at the time that the former Massachusetts governor was “the best choice.”

“Barbara and I are very proud to fully and enthusiastically endorse and support our old friend Mitt Romney,” the former president said, flanked by Romney and former first lady Barbara Bush. “He’s a good man, he’ll make a great president.”

Romney, who used the trip to Texas to raise money, accepted the endorsement.

“I have a big day coming up next Tuesday with elections in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia. I hope to get a good number of delegates from those three contests and be on my way to securing the nomination and taking on the president,” Romney said. “With your endorsement I’ll get a good boost from those contests and also here in Texas. I’m told they know you guys pretty well here.”

Looking ahead to the Lone Star State’s late May primary, Bush responded, “Been here a long time. You’ll do well here, I’m convinced of that.”

During the meeting, Romney was asked whether he had met with Bush’s son, former President George W. Bush.

“I haven’t met with President George W. Bush,” Romney said. “We speak from time to time.”

Barbara Bush interjected: “We speak all the time.”

At one point, Bush, who wore a white turtleneck, blue blazer and multi-colored socks (he gave a pair to Romney as a gift, according to the candidate’s personal aide), asked his wife whether she had anything to add.

“Aren’t you going to sing a song for us? Know when to fold ‘em?” she said, prompting the musical interlude. (Bush said the line, but did not sing it).

Rick Santorum’s spokesman, Hogan Gidley, saw Bush’s “Gambler” quote and raised him another one.

“We have huge respect for President George H.W. Bush and he is one of my personal political heroes,” Gidley said, “but my favorite line from that song is ‘there’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bush to Make Romney Endorsement Official Thursday

File Photo / December 6, 2007. (Ben Sklar/Getty Images)(LOS ANGELES) -- Former President George H.W. Bush will make his endorsement of Mitt Romney official Thursday in Houston, where the two men will meet and then address reporters.

The meeting comes after Bush’s endorsement of Romney back in December, when the former president called Romney while the candidate was on his campaign bus in Berlin, N.H., ahead of the Granite State’s primary.

Bush’s wife, former first Lady Barbara Bush, has been even more outspoken than her husband thus far when it comes to helping Romney’s campaign, recording robo-calls for the candidate during the Ohio and Vermont primaries.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jeb Bush Endorses Mitt Romney in GOP Primary

Paul Zimmerman/WireImage/Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush endorsed Mitt Romney after Romney’s lopsided win in Illinois Tuesday night. The former Florida Governor – a Republican heavyweight – called on members of the party to coalesce behind Romney.

“Congratulations to Governor Mitt Romney on his win last night and to all the candidates for a hard fought, thoughtful debate and primary season,” said Bush in a statement. “Primary elections have been held in thirty-four states, and now is the time for Republicans to unite behind Governor Romney and take our message of fiscal conservatism and job creation to all voters this fall.  I am endorsing Mitt Romney for our Party’s nomination.  We face huge challenges, and we need a leader who understands the economy, recognizes more government regulation is not the answer, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism and works to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed.”

His father, former President George H.W. Bush, has also endorsed Romney.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Clint Eastwood as VP? George H.W. Bush Considered It

Indigo/Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- George H.W. Bush, trailing Democrat Michael Dukakis in the heat of the 1988 presidential campaign, briefly but seriously considered Hollywood renaissance man Clint Eastwood to be his running mate, says a former Bush aide.

The revelation comes from more than 350 hours of audio interviews with 50 senior officials from the George H.W. Bush administration released Friday by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and Bush Presidential Library Foundation.  The decade-long oral history project documents the life and times of the 41st presidency.

“When we were way behind. Honestly, [Eastwood] was suggested in not an altogether unserious -- well, he was a mayor. He was a Republican mayor,” recalls former Bush campaign chairman and Secretary of State James Baker.  Eastwood served one term as mayor of the conservative ocean side community Carmel, Calif., from 1986-1988.

“Anyway, it was shot down pretty quick. But we were looking at an 18-point deficit,” Baker said, suggesting the campaign was looking for a boost from its vice presidential choice. Bush, who also considered Sen. Dan Quayle, R-Ind.; Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan.; Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo.; and Rep. Jack Kemp, R-N.Y., ultimately settled on Quayle.

Quayle was “maybe not the most qualified, but he brings other attributes that are extraordinarily important,” Baker said of his initial reaction to Bush’s choice.

The interviews, conducted by a panel of university scholars between 1999 and 2011, paint an intimate and detailed portrait of Bush and his team as they navigated the 1988 election campaign and transition to the White House, legislative affairs, two Supreme Court appointments and later a series of foreign crises, including the first Gulf War.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Former Presidents Gather for Tribute to Bush 41 and Volunteer Service

Kris Connor/Getty Image(WASHINGTON) -- All four living former presidents gathered Monday at Washington’s Kennedy Center for a tribute to President George H.W. Bush and volunteer service.

Bush, in a wheelchair, was joined by Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush to highlight the powerful role that volunteer service can play in people's lives.

It marked the first time the four former presidents have appeared together since President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009. President Obama, who is currently on a trip to South America, taped a video message for the event.

Monday's tribute to the elder Bush -- called “All Together Now: A Celebration of Service” -- featured a star-studded lineup including Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Jim Nantz and Garth Brooks, among others.

"He makes everyone feel like they're the star and he's not," Garth Brooks said of Bush 41 as the country music star made his way down the red carpet.

"There are a lot of families in different walks of life that give a lot back, so I don't think we're unique in that regard," said Jeb Bush.

The event will air on NBC next week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio