Leroy N. Soetoro
2018-04-18 21:49:07 UTC
Barbara Bush, the widely admired wife of one president and the fiercely
loyal mother of another, died Tuesday evening at her home in Houston. She
Jim McGrath, a family spokesman, announced the death in a statement posted
On Sunday, the office of her husband, former President George Bush, issued
a statement saying that after consulting her family and her doctors, Mrs.
Bush had decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will
instead focus on comfort care.
The Bushes had celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary in January,
making them the longest-married couple in presidential history.
Mrs. Bush had been hospitalized with pneumonia in December 2013. She
underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer in 2008 and had heart surgery
four months later.
As the wife of the 41st president and the mother of the 43rd, George W.
Bush, Mrs. Bush was only the second woman in American history to have a
son of hers follow his father to the White House. (Abigail Adams, wife of
John Adams and mother of John Quincy Adams, was the first.)
Hes said terrible things about women, terrible things about the
military, Mrs. Bush told CNN. I dont understand why people are for
Dedicated to her family and largely indifferent to glamour, Mrs. Bush
played down her role in her husbands political success. But she was a
shrewd and valuable ally, becoming a sought-after speaker in at least four
national campaigns: in 1980, when Mr. Bush was chosen to be Ronald
Reagans running mate; in 1984, when the two ran for re-election; in 1988,
when Mr. Bush campaigned for president; and in 1992, when he sought re-
She stepped into another presidential campaign in 2000, that of her son
George, then the governor of Texas. She appeared at fund-raisers and met
voters in New Hampshire and other states on his behalf as he rolled to the
Republican presidential nomination.
She was clearly a political asset. A 1999 poll found that 63 percent of
Americans had a favorable opinion of her and that only 3 percent had an
Outspoken and Combative
While first lady, from January 1989 to January 1993, Mrs. Bush generally
refused to talk publicly about contentious issues, particularly when her
opinion was said to differ from her husbands.
Im not against it or for it, she said of the Equal Rights Amendment in
1989. Im not talking about it. I want equal rights for women, men,
There were rumors that she favored abortion rights, but she made it clear
that she supported her husband and would not say whether she was
comfortable with his anti-abortion stand.
She was vocal, however, in championing causes of her choosing. Literacy
was one, and so was civil rights; she had been an early supporter of the
And she could be combative in news interviews, sometimes yanking off her
glasses and tartly chastising reporters when she thought they were being
Her candor occasionally got her into trouble. In 2005, while visiting
victims of Hurricane Katrina at the Houston Astrodome, where they were
being temporarily housed, she remarked that many of them were
underprivileged anyway and that their Astrodome stay though the living
conditions there were dire was working very well for them.
The comments, coming at a time when her sons administration was being
roundly criticized over its response to the storm, were widely heard as
insensitive and condescending.
Two years earlier, shortly before President George W. Bush ordered the
invasion of Iraq, she said in a television interview that she had not been
watching coverage of the prelude to war. Why should we hear about body
bags and deaths, and how many, what day its going to happen? she asked.
Why would I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?
She was similarly outspoken in 2013 when she was asked, on the Today
show, if she thought her son Jeb should run for president in 2016. I
really dont, she replied, adding, There are other people out there that
are very qualified, and weve had enough Bushes.
She later changed her mind. In an email to potential supporters in March
2015, she acknowledged, When the idea of Jeb running for president first
came up, I was hesitant. But she said she was starting a Run Jeb Run
Fund because Jeb is our best chance of taking back the White House in
She went on to campaign for him in New Hampshire, but he finished fourth
in the Republican primary there in February and suspended his campaign a
few days later.
Mrs. Bush enjoyed a favorable public image throughout her years as first
lady. In one respect she benefited from comparisons with her predecessor,
Nancy Reagan, whom many perceived, rightly or wrongly, as remote, icy and
By contrast, Mrs. Bush was regarded as unpretentious, a woman who could
wear fake pearls, enjoy takeout tacos, walk the dog in her bathrobe and
make fun of herself. Perhaps adding to her appeal, she conformed to the
popular view of an old-fashioned grandmother, with her white hair and
matronly figure; though she was almost a year younger than her husband,
many thought she looked much older.
What not everyone always understood is that Barbara revealed as much as
she wanted to but seldom more, Donnie Radcliffe wrote in a 1989
biography, Simply Barbara Bush: A Portrait of Americas Candid First
Lady. She came into the White House with a dexterity at manipulating her
image, and she wasnt above playing off her own outspoken style against
Nancy Reagans reluctance and often inability to express herself.
A less popular political wife, Ms. Radcliffe added, might have seemed
Part of Mrs. Bushs popularity stemmed from her penchant for self-
deprecation. Soon after moving into the White House, she said, My mail
tells me a lot of fat, white-haired, wrinkled ladies are tickled pink.
She would do anything asked of her to help the Bush administration, she
said, but she drew a line: I wont dye my hair, change my wardrobe or
lose weight. Even so, as first lady she was known to wear designer
clothes and have her hair styled.
For all her joking about herself, she also confessed that she had felt
like crying after Jane Pauley told her on the Today show, Mrs. Bush,
people say George is a man of the 80s and youre a woman of the 40s.
An Invisible Influence
Mrs. Bush often insisted that she stayed out of her husbands concerns.
But few who knew her believed that she would ever hesitate to tell Mr.
Bush her views.
You have to have influence, she said in 1992. When youve been married
47 years, if you dont have any influence, then I really think youre in
The substance of that influence remained largely invisible to the public
eye, however, making her one of the few first ladies of her era to escape
serious criticism. When Mrs. Reagan raised more than $1 million in tax-
deductible contributions in 1981 to redecorate the White House living
quarters, there was a public outcry. When the Bushes friends raised
almost $200,000 to spruce up the vice-presidential house the same year,
there was hardly a stir.
I got away with murder, Mrs. Bush said shortly before her husbands
One glaring exception came in 1984. Speaking of Representative Geraldine
A. Ferraro of New York, the Democratic nominee for vice president, Mrs.
Bush characterized her as something that rhymes with rich. She later
apologized, but even then she parried with her critics, saying she did not
mean any offense by calling Ms. Ferraro a witch.
She was born Barbara Pierce on June 8, 1925, at a maternity hospital in
New York City run by the Salvation Army principally for unwed mothers. The
family obstetrician practiced there one month a year, and that month
happened to be June. She was the third child of the former Pauline
Robinson and Marvin Pierce. Her father was in the publishing business and
eventually became president of the McCall publishing company. Her mother,
the daughter of an Ohio Supreme Court justice, was active in civic affairs
in Rye, N.Y., the New York City suburb where the family lived.
One of Mrs. Bushs ancestors was Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of
the United States.
Barbara was brought up in considerable affluence. She attended the public
Milton School and the private Rye Country Day School and, along with her
contemporaries, suffered through dancing classes, which she never forgot.
I was 5 feet 8 inches at the age of 12, and it certainly bothered the
boys, she recalled.
Her final two years of high school were spent at Ashley Hall, a boarding
school in Charleston, S.C. A classmate once described it as a place where
being bad meant taking off your hat and gloves when you got out of sight
of the school.
Long Romance Begins
She met George Bush in 1941 at a Christmas dance at the Round Hill Country
Club in Greenwich, Conn. George had grown up in Greenwich, a son of
Prescott S. Bush, a Wall Street executive and a future United States
senator from Connecticut, and the former Dorothy Walker. At the time, he
was a senior at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. They began
After graduating in 1942, Mr. Bush enlisted in the Navy and trained as a
pilot. The next year, he was assigned to a torpedo squadron in the Pacific
and piloted a Grumman Avenger. On one combat mission, in 1944, he was shot
down and rescued by a submarine. Barbara did not hear from him for a
After enrolling at Smith College but before entering the freshman class,
she shocked her mother by spending the summer working in a nuts-and-bolts
She and Mr. Bush, on leave from the Navy, married in Rye on Jan. 6, 1945;
the bride, not yet 20, had dropped out of Smith at the beginning of her
sophomore year. The truth is, I just wasnt interested, she said in
interviews. I was just interested in George.
They honeymooned in Sea Island, Ga., and spent nine months at military
bases in Michigan, Maine and Virginia before Mr. Bush was discharged and
entered Yale. In New Haven, where the couple moved, their first son,
George, was born in 1946.
After Mr. Bushs graduation, in 1948, the family left for Texas, where Mr.
Bush, with the help of a family friend, had taken a job as an equipment
clerk in the oil industry. For a time, in Odessa, Tex., the family lived
in one half of a house; the other half was used as a brothel. Within a
year they were sent to California. A daughter, Pauline (known as Robin),
was born there in 1949 but died of leukemia before her fourth birthday.
The California sojourn was brief; the Bushes soon returned to Texas
first to Midland, where they bought a house in a neighborhood known as
Easter Egg Row because the houses were all painted in pastel colors, and
later to Houston. By the time the Bushes reached the White House, they had
moved 26 times.
In Texas, four more children were born: Jeb (John Ellis) in 1953, Neil
Mallon in 1955, Marvin Pierce in 1956 and Dorothy Walker in 1959. Only
George and Jeb went into politics; Neil and Marvin became businessmen, and
Dorothy Bush Koch became a philanthropist.
Mrs. Bushs children survive her, as do her husband; her brother, Scott
Pierce; 17 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Every summer, while Mr. Bush was engaged in oil deals and raising
investment money, Mrs. Bush and the children drove to the Bush family
compound in Kennebunkport, Me.
On her first trip there, Mrs. Bush discovered that the hotel where she had
made reservations along the way would not accommodate two black family
employees who were accompanying her and the children. The employees said
they would find another place. But Mrs. Bush refused to split up the group
and found other accommodations. On becoming first lady, she insisted that
her press secretary be black a first for that position.
The family moved to Washington in 1966, when Mr. Bush, after an
unsuccessful run for the Senate in 1964, was elected to the House of
Representatives from Texas Seventh Congressional District, which includes
parts of Houston. He served two terms and mounted a failed second campaign
for the Senate.
Later, as compensation for giving up his safe seat in the House to make
the Senate run, he was named ambassador to the United Nations by President
Richard M. Nixon. He assumed the post in 1971, and the Bushes moved into
the ambassadorial suite of the Waldorf Towers in New York.
The family returned to Washington in 1973 when Mr. Bush was appointed
chairman of the Republican National Committee, a position he occupied
during the Watergate crisis. In 1974, President Gerald R. Ford sent him to
the Peoples Republic of China to lead the United States Liaison Office in
Watergate was a terrible experience, Mrs. Bush told Ms. Radcliffe in
1984. So to go off to China and learn a whole new culture was beautiful.
She particularly liked having her husband to herself; their children had
not accompanied them. The two cycled around Beijing, studied Chinese and
learned tai chi.
In Barbara Bush: A Memoir, published in 1994, Mrs. Bush acknowledged
that she suffered from depression in 1976 after she and her husband had
returned from his two-year China posting and he was named director of the
Central Intelligence Agency, a post he held for 11 months.
She had discussed her depression at a news conference in 1989, saying she
believed that the womens movement had contributed to her illness. I
believe it made me feel inadequate, she said. Im not quite sure how.
You were made to feel demeaned a little bit.
Mrs. Bush published another memoir, Reflections: Life After the White
House, in 2004.
A lifelong volunteer for charitable causes, Mrs. Bush raised money for the
United Negro College Fund while in New Haven, started a thrift shop in
Midland and volunteered in nursing homes and hospitals in Houston,
Washington and New York. Her son Neils dyslexia led to her interest in
In her eight years as the wife of the vice president, she attended more
than 500 events related to literacy, and after she became first lady she
started the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. The profits from
her book C. Freds Story: A Dogs Life (1984), a wry look at Washington
life as seen by her dog, and from a follow-up based on another family dog,
Millies Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush (1990), went to literacy
Mrs. Bush hoped her contributions to those causes would form a large part
of her legacy.
I want to be known as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, she wrote in
1988. Thats what I am. And Id like to be known as someone who really
cared about people and worked very, very hard to make America more
Regretfully for Mrs. Bush, left wing liberal democrats have resisted all
attempts to become more literate, and thus remain intellectually defunct.
Donald J. Trump, 304 electoral votes to 227, defeated compulsive liar in
denial Hillary Rodham Clinton on December 19th, 2016. The clown car
parade of the democrat party ran out of gas and got run over by a Trump
Congratulations President Trump. Thank you for cleaning up the disaster
of the Obama presidency.
Under Barack Obama's leadership, the United States of America became the
The World According To Garp.
ObamaCare is a total 100% failure and no lie that can be put forth by its
supporters can dispute that.
Obama jobs, the result of ObamaCare. 12-15 working hours a week at minimum
wage, no benefits and the primary revenue stream for ObamaCare. It can't
be funded with money people don't have, yet liberals lie about how great
Obama increased total debt from $10 trillion to $20 trillion in the eight
years he was in office, and sold out heterosexuals for Hollywood queer
liberal democrat donors.