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Former President George W. Bush gave a rare interview to Jay Leno on Tuesday night’s The Tonight Show, during which the two discussed his legacy, Obamacare and Bush’s decision to stay out of the spotlight, among other topics.
When Leno said he was “pleasantly surprised” that Bush agreed to appear on the show, Bush quipped: “Only because of you. … I mean, you’re about to head out to pasture. I just wanted to see what you look like before you got to the gate.”
More seriously, he explained why he hasn’t discussed policy for several years.
“I don’t think it’s good for the country to have a former president criticize his successor,” he said to applause from the audience.
When Leno brought up all the late-night jokes being made over Obamacare, Bush joked: “Better him than me.”
He also said he and wife Laura — who also joined Bush on the Tonight Show couch halfway into the interview — are enjoying living in Dallas out of the spotlight.
As for Bush’s own legacy, he said he “did the best that I could do” but believes it remains to be seen how he will be remembered.
“I’m also very comfortable with the fact that it’s going take a while for history to judge whether the decisions I made are consequential or not,” he said, adding: “And therefore, I’m not too worried about it. In other words, I’ve read some biographies of Washington. And my attitude is if they’re still writing biographies of the first guy, the 43rd guy doesn’t need to worry about it.”
He also revealed that he’s taken up painting as a hobby and gets weekly lessons — and presented Leno with a portrait he’d painted of the late-night host.
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