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It was my honor to interview President George W. Bush for a two-part Focus on the Family broadcast airing today and Wednesday. In most of his media appearances to date to discuss his memoir, “Decision Points,” Mr. Bush has been asked primarily about his reflections of his political decisions and his experiences during crises like 9/11, the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina. Our interview, I hope, offers a more intimate look at the president, covering such subjects as his Christian faith, his views on the separation of church and state and his relationships with his parents and daughters.
President George W. Bush reflects on the challenges he faced during his administration.
They say you can tell a lot about what a man values by the way his office is decorated — and in that case it’s clear President Bush is a person of great faith and love for his family. The wall closest to his desk in his Dallas office where we recorded the interview is home to three large photographs: one of him with his daughter Jenna on her wedding day; one of him with his wife, Laura; and one with his other daughter, Barbara.
On the credenza behind his desk are a few family photos as well: one of his father’s inauguration as president (there are no photos, tellingly, of Mr. Bush’s own two inaugurations); a shot of his grandfather, Prescott Bush, a U.S. senator; and an old family snapshot taken outside an airplane — the days when air travel was an *event*! — featuring his parents and grandparents and him as a toddler.
President Bush’s desk is neat and mostly unadorned — there’s a clock, a small bust of an eagle and a small bust of a steer. There were two books stacked there, as well: “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God But Were Afraid to Ask” by Eric Metaxas and “All Things Are Possible Through Prayer” by Charles L. Allen. On the credenza is another pair of leather-bound editions: “Decision Points” and the New American Standard Bible.
I don’t want to spoil some of the insights you’ll hear on the broadcast, but there is one thing he said to me off-mic, before the recorders started rolling, that I think succinctly sums up who he is. As we were about to begin, I told him I wasn’t going to ask a lot of questions about politics, but rather explore his personal journey as a believer in Christ, a husband and father and son, who served the American people during a particularly meaningful moment in history.
“That’s about right,” he said as he nestled into his chair. “It is Focus on the Family, not Focus on the Party.”
Former President George W. Bush discusses religious liberty, AIDS and pro-life issues.