This week on “Inside Politics,” our panel of top political reporters shared some of their memories of covering President George H.W. Bush.
1. The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty:
The last time I saw the president up close and in person was at a funeral for my former colleague at Time magazine, Hugh Sidey, and President Bush got up and began reading this remarkable exchange of letters that he and Hugh Sidey had exchanged over the decades.
And he got so emotional that he broke down and could not finish. His daughter, Doro, had to get up and finish reading these letters for him. So I think people keep talking about his amazing Rolodex. But what they don’t realize is that for every name, there was a really intensely personal connection as well.
2. Former CNN White House correspondent Frank Sesno:
The president would have the White House press corps to his home in Kennebunkport in the summertime. You could bring your family and all the rest. So 1989, I went. I had a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old, and my wife and I were there. And the president and Mrs. Bush engaged with the children because they really were family oriented in every way.
And there’s this great picture I have. I’m holding the boys and all the rest. And next time we saw them, my wife and I together, was at the White House Christmas party that following December. By this time, my wife is very visibly pregnant with my third child.
And we come through and the president points to her and goes “oh,” he says, “another little Sesno on the way.” And Barbara Bush who was there said, “Yes, George, you remember their two boys,” and he said, “Yes, I do.” Whether he did or not, I don’t know.
But the impact that that had on us personally, and what that says about the president and Mrs. Bush, I think, really does speak to the human connection that they made in virtually every interaction they had.