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Bush chides father for election remarks

Reuters | October 22, 2006

WASHINGTON - President Bush gently admonished his father for saying he hates to think what life would be like for his son if the Democrats win control of Congress in the November 7 election.

It was the latest sign of possible strain in the relationship between the two men.

"He shouldn't be speculating like this, because -- he should have called me ahead of time and I'd tell him they're not going to (win)," a smiling Bush told ABC "This Week" in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

It follows the recent release of a book, "State of Denial," by journalist Bob Woodward, that says the 82-year-old former president was "anguished" over how the Iraq war has played out, although he has dismissed that account.

Earlier this month, the elder Bush was reported to have told a Republican fund-raiser in a Philadelphia suburb that "if we have some of these wild Democrats in charge of these (congressional) committees, it will be a ghastly thing for our country."

He was also quoted as saying, "I would hate to think ... what my son's life would be like" if their Republican Party lost its majorities.

The two men have rarely appeared together in public in recent years. But they praised each other at the October 7 christening of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, named the USS George H.W. Bush, after the 41st president.

Though the elder Bush has said his job is to stay on the sidelines, that did not stop him from raising a warning about the prospects for a Democratic takeover of Congress.

Asked whether he had thought about the possibility, the president told ABC: "Not really ... I'm a person that believes we'll continue to control the House and the Senate."

Polls show Democrats running ahead. They must pick up 15 House seats and six Senate seats to take over Congress.

A power shift would create a political nightmare for Bush, whose public approval ratings are below 40 percent. His domestic legislative agenda would be stymied and he would see stepped-up pressure to withdraw from Iraq while possibly facing congressional investigations into the unpopular war.

 

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