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Barbara Bush Threatens Democratic Presidential Candidates

Barbara Bush:" you can criticize me, but don't criticize my children and don't criticize my daughters-in-law and don't criticize my husband, or you're dead."

CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Barbara Bush
Aired October 22, 2003 - 21:00 ET

For the full transcript of this interview go to: http://www.cnn.tv/TRANSCRIPTS/0310/22/lkl.00.html -- otherwise scroll down to read the quote in context

LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Barbara Bush, the former first lady and current president's mother, her first live TV interview for her new memoir, "Reflections: Life After the White House." She's here for the hour, in-depth and personal. The one and only Barbara Bush is next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We're at the beautiful Houstonian Hotel in Houston, Texas, the home for six months of the year for Barbara Bush and her husband, the former President George Bush. She's the author of a terrific new memoir, "Barbara Bush: Reflections: Life After the White house." There you see its cover. Published by Scribner.

She is our own living Abigail Adams, wife of a president, mother of a president.

Why did you write this?

BARBARA BUSH, FMR. FIRST LADY: Well, I wrote it because I keep a diary. And I wrote it because people ask us all the time, What happens to old presidents and what do they do? Well, that's a good question. George Bush does everything.

KING: I know. I had lunch with him today in between traveling somewhere.

BUSH: That's right. He makes my life sing. And a lot of funny things happen. A lot of good things happen. And I keep a diary, so it's not too hard.

KING: Have you always been a diarykeeper?

BUSH: Pretty much. Or write long letters and keep them, using that sort of as a diary.

KING: Do you look back often at what you wrote 10 years...

BUSH: No. No -- and I'm sort of surprised. I forget, needless to say.

But what it really reminds me, Larry, is that I'm the world's luckiest woman. I've had the most wonderful experiences, and I -- one day, I woke up, and I looked at the television. I had met, in the two hours of whatever morning show I was watching -- I'd met every single person on that show except for Yasser Arafat, who I then later met.

I mean, George Bush has brought me that kind of life. So it was sort of fun to write.

KING: Blessings.

BUSH: That's right.

KING: You -- it has been said in the "Newsweek" article that they had to take quite a few things out of the book.

BUSH: I read that, and now -- that really wasn't quite true. They were protecting me from being sued. But...

KING: Were you pretty rough on some people?

BUSH: No, I really wasn't. But they just wanted to be sure that -- today is such a suing world. And having written a book 10 years ago, when nobody hardly mentioned being sued, suddenly -- are you sure that's true? And I said, no, I'm not sure it's true, but it's true according to my diary. And we were very -- we checked our facts very carefully.

I thought that was sort of a funny statement because, in truth, I don't really think that was (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: And you can also -- I mean, you're critical of some people. And you can have opinions about them.

BUSH: That's right.

KING: You wouldn't be Barbara Bush without opinions, would you?

BUSH: No. You wouldn't be Larry without opinions, would you, Larry?

KING: You have to have them. How else do we exist?

BUSH: That's right.

KING: You have to have opinions. But you don't slander anybody.

BUSH: No, I don't think so.

KING: All right.

Your recent comments on the Democratic presidential...

BUSH: Isn't that funny? I knew that was going to come up.

KING: Oh, I want to discuss a lot of things. You said so far, they're a pretty sorry group.

BUSH: Well, you know, mothers are allowed to be proud of their sons. And it gets a little old when 10 grown men run around the country not talking about what they're going to do, but knocking my precious, courageous, brilliant son. That's a mother speaking.

KING: What's the biggest difference from being the husband -- being the wife of a president and the mother of a president?

BUSH: Well, first of all, you have to watch the father of the president suffer. And it hurts when your children are criticized. It hurts a lot.

KING: He takes it badly?

BUSH: He and I both do. He -- he curses, and I grit my teeth.

But, no, he really -- he knows that's the name of the game. But it gets pretty ugly.

KING: But was it harder for you...

BUSH: Much.

KING: ...when he -- when the current president is criticized than when the husband was criticized?

BUSH: Right.

KING: How do you explain it -- motherly?

BUSH: Motherly. And fatherly. I mean, that's just a normal reaction.

But the same would be true if something happened that was difficult for Jeb or for Doro or Neil or Marvin. And you can criticize me, but don't criticize my children and don't criticize my daughters-in-law and don't criticize my husband, or you're dead.

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