Ever wondered what former U.S. President George W. Bush is really like in a one-on-one conversation?
Peter Marquez, a former White House employee who worked in the National Security Council, shares his personal experience with President Bush on Quora – a question and answer website.
Although he does not wish to provide details of conversations, his personal interactions with the former President provide us insight on the true character of the man who ran our country for eight consecutive years – amidst much criticism.
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Marquez admits to only having a small “sample size” of conversations with President Bush; yet he adds that all of his former associates shared similar experiences with him.
“First, he is extraordinarily intelligent. Forget what you’ve read in the press. The man is smart and has an incredible memory. He’ll remember things that you said months ago or he’d remember some minute detail of some obscure policy issue. He studied the issues and took it as a challenge to know as much about a topic as his experts knew.”
Marquez notes an occasion when President Bush asked all of the NSC directors to create a “transition book” for the Obama administration. He was in charge of space. So after filling a 3-inch binder with all of the required information, he placed it on the President’s desk. Two days later, the book was returned to his desk. Marquez was impressed to see the margins filled with handwritten comments and questions from the President, who remembered several details that he, as the “expert”, had forgotten to include.
“Anybody who says the man is dumb has never met him.”
Marquez then goes onto his second point, which is that Bush is highly personable, but “not in a fake DC kind of folksy way – he comes across as actually caring. He asks about your family, asks how you’re doing and he remembers details about all that and later asks you how certain members of your family are doing.”
He provides a personal example, describing a White House Christmas Party he attended with his wife – a “hardcore liberal democrat.” When they went to the President and First Lady, Marquez said wife was amazed by Bush’s sincere welcome.
“…the President gives my wife a big hug, looks her straight in the eye and says, ‘Melissa, I’m so glad you’re here. It’s great to meet you…’ and then he mentioned how he appreciated my work there, etc. But my wife, who was told by her friends to hate George Bush, was floored by how warm and kind he was. After that encounter she had to tell her liberal friends that the guy actually wasn’t the devil–the President actually gave her a hug.”
Marquez says, thirdly, that Bush has “an incredible sense of humor and great comedic timing.” Although that isn’t a characteristic easily detected from his televised speeches, Marquez said he is hilarious and quick witted behind closed doors.
“I wish I could reveal some specifics here but just trust me – the guy is really funny. His responses were sharp and quick – it was something the writers of the West Wing would have appreciated.”
The former NSC employee concludes with his fourth point, observing President Bush to be a serious man.
“I know I just got done commenting on his warmth and humor but make no mistake the man took the job seriously and knew exactly how to find the key issues in any discussion. On matters of policy the President could quickly hone in on the critical points and he would politely hammer away at the issues until he felt he had the right answers or that he knew what the right questions were that needed to be answered. You always made sure you brought your “A” game when talking to the President because he would ask questions about your research or recommendations and you’d better have the answers (or know how to get the answers).”
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