May 11, 2010

Laura Bush: I 'stood straighter' after leaving White House

Posted: 09:00 AM ET



Former first lady Laura Bush says a surprising “sort of buoyancy” kicked in a few days after she returned to Texas after her eight years in the White House — a vivid feeling of relief from the post-Sept. 11 pressure cooker.

“I didn’t really realize how stressed we were and how vigilant we were — that hypervigilance — until we came home and I wasn’t so stressed anymore,” she recalled in a video interview in the POLITICO newsroom last week, immediately after signing her newly published memoir, “Spoken From the Heart,” for customers at a nearby Costco.

“It was just something that we lived with every single day. We were used to it, and we didn’t really know we were. I almost stood straighter, just without that weight of worry.”

In her latest book, Bush is more candid than she has ever been about her life story, but she stays on-message about the public parts of the 43rd presidency. She told POLITICO that despite George W. Bush’s unpopularity when he left office, she doesn’t think her husband was ill-served by any of the aides around him.

“Most of the people that were close to us are still very, very close to us, and they were outstanding people with really great character who served our country for the right reasons,” she said.

Bush added that she “definitely” does not believe anyone lied to her husband about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. “That was the intelligence from everybody,” she said.

Filed under: Laura Bush

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Smith in Oregon   May 11th, 2010 2:58 am ET

It is not surprising that Laura Bush felt different after leaving the White House where they were mostly isolated from the growing condemnation of the Bush-Cheney administration here in America and around the world including all of our allies. A vast number of reporters, independent agency's and independent scholars have placed the former Republican Bush-Cheney administration as THE WORST in America's checkered history of poor presidents.

A great many illegal maneuvers also took place during the horrific Republican Bush-Cheney administration to cover as many public disclosures regarding how bad things truly got from being publicly seen and brought to light. The massive Email scandal is likely just the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully under repeated 'Freedom of Information Requests (FOI), more and more Bush-Cheney horror story's will be part of the public record that will be added to those already known and historically recorded.

Ted   May 11th, 2010 9:26 am ET

We must feel very lucky that they did not die from poisoning.
Can you imagene Cheney being our president?

Floridian   May 11th, 2010 10:59 am ET

Ummmm Ted? Cheney WAS our president during the Bush-Cheney years.....

you haven't realized that yet?

Mary-Jane   May 11th, 2010 12:25 pm ET


You are correct. It was the Cheney/bush administration! And we were dying a slow death from toxicity … of BS!!!!

Rose   May 11th, 2010 2:08 pm ET

Per Laura Bush: “Most of the people that were close to us . . .were outstanding people with really great character who served our country for the right reasons.”

I think she means "served themselves for the right reasons". Both Bush Sr. & Jr. were directly involved with the Carlyle Group which specializes in military and security investments. With GW Bush in office, the company's profits soared. It received $677 million in contracts in 2002, then $2.1 billion in 2003. Carlyle's investors had an equity capital pool of over $44 billion. This is all thanks to Bush starting the unjust Iraq war. War = Immense Profits.

Cheney, Rumsfeld et al made a massive fortune from the war as well. Yeap Mrs. Bush – nobody lied to your husband about WMD – he and his cohorts did a great job of cooking them up all on their own for $. Why bother listening when UN weapons inspectors said there were no WMD?

How are you and your husband enjoying your ill-gotten gains nowadays?

Rose   May 11th, 2010 3:35 pm ET

Good for you Mrs. Bush that you "stood staighter" after leaving the White House. Due to GW Bush – many others are lying down permanently in boxes – for his false and self-serving cause.

Nana Brown   May 11th, 2010 3:44 pm ET

I am sure Laura Bush feels horrible about the accident that killed an innocent 17 year old teenager but how does she feel knowing her husbands actions killed millions of innocent people and our troupes who were lied to and died for what ? It does not matter Cheney, Rumsfeld or Rowe made Bush do it. Killing is killing which ever way you look at it. Bush not only ruined the world he wrecked our country and our trust in the Republican party.
Does Laura Bush have any feelings? How can the Bush's sleep at night?There was no WMD but there was war profits and dollars tainted in innocent blood now .

JamesB   May 11th, 2010 3:58 pm ET

I disagree with your assessment of the Carlyle Group. They are not big in the defense industry; their portfolio covers just about every industry.
They purchased United Defense in the late 90's (at which time I believe Clinton was in office) which was their major defense holding. They sold it a few years later as the UD stock had declined significantly due in part to Rumsfeld canceling an order which hardly suggest he was trying to help them financially. I am very familiar with the Carlyle Group; I'd encourage you not to believe everything that pops up on the internet. If there were truth to it, rest assured CNN would be the first to broadcast it.

Rose   May 11th, 2010 5:01 pm ET

@ James B

In Dan Briody's book "The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group" - he calls "the model example of the nearly seamless connection between the Bush Administration, self-enrichment and companies who receive big government Defense contracts." This includes Bush Sr, former Secretary of State James Baker, former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci – longtime "consultants" to the Carlyle firm.

Bush Sr stood to profit substantially from GW's war making. He was on retainer with the Carlyle Group.

Carlyle and its network of investors were well positioned to cash in on Bush Jr.'s expansion of the Defense and Homeland Security department budgets. Two Carlyle companies, Federal Data Systems and US Investigations Services, held multi-billion dollar contracts to provide background checks for commercial airlines, the Pentagon, the CIA and the Department of Homeland Security.

Another Carlyle subsidiary, Vought Aircraft, holds more than $1 billion in Federal contracts to provide components for the C-117 transport plane, the B-2 bomber and the Apache attack helicopter. Business picked up substantially following the airstrikes on Afghanistan and the war on Iraq.

Carlyle did sell off its biggest holding United Defense, its final shares being sold in 2004. In William Hartung's book, "How Much Are You Making in the War, Daddy?" Rumsfeld did not terminate the Crusader artillery system immediately. He held off on a public announcement for more than a year. By that time, Carlucci and Baker devised a plan to take United Defense public. The sale to unsuspecting investors netted Carlyle more than $237 million. Six months later, Rumsfeld closed the book on the Crusader.

The Carlyle Group invested in the Defense and National Security markets. Through its takeover of companies, with billions of dollars in Defense contracts, it became one of the U.S. military's top vendors. It's business is making money for its investors. War escalates their profits. The Bush Administration certainly did that.

Per Briody: "The fact that George H.W. Bush (Sr) was working for them while his son was President, while his son was dramatically increasing defense spending – that seems to me one of the most blatant conflicts of interests in history." Positions used for immense financial gain.

I too am familiar with the Carlyle Group. What CNN chooses to cover may differ from other sources. The Carlyle Group as a business has been well researched, well documented and well criticized by other sources both in the US and internationally.

JamesB   May 11th, 2010 5:25 pm ET

It appears that you are quite familiar with the book. How are you familiar with the Carlyle Group? Having a family member who once worked for them, I would have to say you have been misled. What I posted earlier is correct. As you know, there is no corporation that is not criticized by the far left.

Rose   May 11th, 2010 5:34 pm ET

@ James B

United Defense Industries (UDI) a Carlyle company (TCG) was:

– Taken public in an IPO on Dec 13, 2001.
– It raised $400.9 million, ahead of its initial public offering.
– UDI held the contract to build the Crusader weapon system.
– TCG Holdings owned 40% of UDI prior to the IPO on Dec 13, 2001.
– The IPO was attractive for investors due the Crusader weapons system, for which UDI had a contract.
– The insider officers and President of UDI sold a lot of their stock on Dec 19, 2001.
– The Carlyle Group (TCG Holdings) sold off more than $240 million worth of UDI stock in January 2002.
– Jan 12, 2002: TCG sold 11 million shares for $202 million.
– Jan 16, 2002: TCG sold another 2.3 million shares for $41 million.
– Jan 16, 2002: Insider officers sold more of their shares.

Did they sponsor an IPO based on Crusader enthusiasm and then quickly sell their stock, knowing that Rumsfeld was going to cancel the Crusader? Yes. The Carlyle Group profited tremendously from these transactions. Rumsfeld announced the cancellation of the $11 Billion contract for the Crusader in May 2002. Stocks plummetted. Carlyle Group walks away with enormous profits.

Joe G. (Illinois)   May 11th, 2010 6:12 pm ET

George W. Bush and Borak Hussen Obama.

Two points in time make one straight line.
And it was the Americana Majority that elected both of them anyway..

IKHAN   May 11th, 2010 9:35 pm ET

Hi Larry,
The Carlyle Group & its ties to the Bushes are known that they made huge profits during the Bush-Cheney era of infamy is also known. No need for CNN to broadcast it.
Haliburton-Cheney-Rumsfeld Inc raking in moolah is also known.

Iraq fiasco has put this nation to shame. Thousands of American lives lost, thousands more scarred for life, a trillion dollar bill & counting, whole region turned into a hot bed of violence & breeding ground for extremism. This great nation lost its influence, prestige & credibility round the world. We'll continue reeling under this blow for decades if not longer.

Tim Henson   May 12th, 2010 12:48 am ET

Only the best Mrs. Bush... My Mom is 88 years old, loves u and always have for your candor, love, and 'positiveness' for the best of our country... Thank you for letting her see you in her last days and proving to me, her son, that she was right.. i.e. especially based on this past Mother's Day Celebration!!!!

Further, my son is a Music Teacher vying for the State Championship here in Oregon tomorrow @ Oregon State University... Though he may not be watching this tonite, he wrote to you when he was still in High School expressing his wish that he was going to be a 'teacher' and just for your information, he credited you for your leadership in choosing his profession...

Sorry for the long message....

Thank you,

All the Best to you and our President Bush....


Ted   May 12th, 2010 7:54 am ET

@ Rose

Congratulations, you certainly know what you talk about.
Your blog is well researched before you write the first word, I would hate to be an opponent to you in any discussion.
Keep it up.

Ted   May 12th, 2010 7:58 am ET

Joe G. (Illinois)

You constantly insult our President, calling him a a muslim and Borak!!
Why don´t you get over that you lost the election with McCain and accept the fact that he is christian and called Barack!!

Rose   May 12th, 2010 10:46 am ET

@ James B

You wrote: "Having a family member who once worked for them (Carlyle Group), I would have to say you have been misled".

FYI – I do not base my information on just one book or source. I am quite familiar with the Carlyle Group. I rely on well researched comments from divergent sources rather than base an opinion on a relative. Faulting the "left's criticism" of companies is not a reasonable response. It is a blanket statement.

For example: If we base our opinion about American politics of the GW Bush era per Laura Bush's perception of events (as she is a close relative of Bush) the end result is a grossly biased picture. Need I say more.

Hartung's book "And Weapons for All," is a comprehensive study of the impact of arms sales on US foreign policy. I prefer to look at objective sources that present evidence which can be corroborated (or refuted), rather base opinions on a relative.

You actually believe that Rumsfeld etc did not profit from the UDI stock sales when well documented public stock exchange activities confirm they did. I respectfully state that you have been misled.

IKHAN   May 12th, 2010 11:06 am ET


Right on mark.
You'll see posts where folks vent their frustration with a man of color with great love for his country, "occupying" the White House.
I wish our President the best in his efforts to be on the side of the American public given the obstructions he faces.

Dodie   May 14th, 2010 11:35 am ET

IKHAN & Ted or anyone!!

I have always wondered if the "white" house was symbolic for Caucasian (European) in power. The White House’s main building was burned by the British in 1814 during the War of 1812. When the building was being restored, the smoke-stained gray stone walls were painted white. Why not clean the gray stone? Why not paint it gray to match the original stone color? Why White???

IKHAN   May 16th, 2010 8:21 pm ET

I do not think that it was originally meant to be symbolic representing the right to rule for one race. Now I can't say. What you suggest is worth pondering though this would never come about.
Racism is raring its ugly head again and what is more troubling is that politicians who desperately seek to claw back to power seem poised to capitalize on this malodorous undercurrent.

Mr. Davidson   September 21st, 2010 11:28 pm ET

Me thins the fine first Lady ,just a wee bit out of touch.

Belinda   September 22nd, 2010 10:26 am ET

I miss them in the White House. Laura was the best First Lady ever.

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