New York – “Michael Moore’s got to be the worst for me,” former President George H.W. Bush tells TIME’s Hugh Sidey when asked about the low point of his son’s first term. “I mean, he’s such a slimeball and so atrocious. But I love the fact now that the Democrats are not embracing him as theirs anymore. He might not get invited to sit in Jimmy Carter’s box (at the Democratic Convention) again. I wanted to get up my nerve to ask Jimmy Carter at the Clinton thing (the opening of Bill Clinton’s library), ‘How did it feel being there with that marvelous friend of yours, Michael Moore?’ and I didn’t dare do it.”
Sidey’s interview with former President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush appears in TIME’s “Person of the Year” package in which their son, President George W. Bush, was named TIME’s 2004 “Person of the Year.” TIME’s double issue will be on newsstands for two weeks starting Mon., Dec. 20th.
On what it’s like to have a son in the White House: “Remember when Ann Richards said George Bush was born with a silver foot in his mouth? And then when George beat her in his first run for Governor, I must say I felt a certain sense of joy that he finally had kind of taken her down,” George H. W. Bush tells Sidey. “ I could go around saying, ‘We showed her what she could do with that silver foot, where she could stick that now.’”
“The thing that was perhaps the most hurtful to me was the theme that the President doesn’t know what he’s doing, that he’s dumb, that he’s some know-nothing cowboy from Texas,” the former President says when asked what’s bad about having a President for a son. “And when I sat with him, as I did out at Camp David, at Crawford, and heard him with the intelligence people, talking about the world and asking the appropriate questions—what’s the development in this country or that—I was surprised at how broad the vision and grasp are. But he gets no credit for that.”
On the rules of Parenting a President and a First Lady: “He knows we’re the only two people in America who are awake at 6 in the morning,” Barbara Bush tells Sidey. “He calls from the Oval Office to talk to George, and we put him on speakerphone. The rules are no repeating what he tells you, No. 1, and not giving unsolicited advice and not passing on things that people ask you to give the President or Laura: gifts or advice or ideas or wanting jobs,” she says. The full package available on TIME.com .
Media Contact: Ty Trippet, 212-522-3640