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AARP The Magazine Gets Cover Exclusive with Former President George W. Bush on Family, Politics, Regrets, and Retirement as He Prepares for the Next Chapter in his Life

Media Contacts:
Laurie Bella, Coburn Communication, 212.536.9820, Laurie.Bella@coburn.ww.com
AARP Media Relations, 202.434.2560, media@aarp.org



AARP THE MAGAZINE GETS COVER EXCLUSIVE WITH FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH ON FAMILY, POLITICS, REGRETS, AND RETIREMENT AS HE PREPARES FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER IN HIS LIFE

Mr. Bush on Politics: “Hopefully I’m sending a signal that will help set a tone. In other words, I think that not criticizing my successor is a statement unto itself, in terms of trying to create an environment that people are able to have a meaningful discussion or debate without trash talk.”

Mr. Bush on Saddam Hussein: “I regret not finding Osama Bin Laden. I regret the fact that Saddam didn’t have weapons of mass destruction that we thought. I don’t regret removing him from power.”

WASHINGTON (November 10, 2010) – Former President George W. Bush, who led one of the most historic and controversial presidential terms in U.S. history, graces the cover of the January/February issue of AARP The Magazine, in homes November 24th. Vice President and Editor Nancy Perry Graham sat down with President Bush at his Crawford, Texas ranch for an exclusive interview which unveils surprising truths behind the man whose public image was defined by an unyielding commitment to his principles and what he believed was best for the country.

Standing on the front step of his Texas home, Bush reflects on the most momentous—and controversial— decisions in his life, including wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the global financial crisis, substance abuse, and his enduring marriage. After stepping out of the media spotlight for the past two years, he also opens up about his future for the first time, speaking out about his plans for retirement (he thinks it’s an old-fashioned term), his desire for grandchildren (he’s disappointed it hasn’t happened yet), regrets (not finding Osama Bin Laden), and much more. On how he is planning for the future, President Bush says, “Your life is just not going to unfold the way you want it to, there will be surprises, challenges, and therefore the question is how you deal with the unexpected.”

The following are excerpts from the upcoming AARP The Magazine cover story featuring former President George W. Bush, which covers the six “R”s that define his post-presidential life and are available online NOW at www.aarp.org.

On Reinvention
“It’s a word that doesn’t fit into my vocabulary. Reinvention means you’re kind of recreating somebody. Well, I’m the same person, in terms of values. My priorities haven’t changed. ”

“I’m in a transition period from presidency to active citizenry. I want to go 100 mph again—well, maybe not 100. Maybe 80. I want to live out principles that became a part of my life in my ‘40s,’50s and ‘60s.”

“I feel a sense of obligation to our troops and their families because of the decisions that I made. So I am involved with veterans.”

On Staying Mum About the Current Political Debate
“I really think it’s important for presidents to exit the stage gracefully. ‘Statesman’ gives the impression that every time a major issue comes up, I’ll be popping off. And that’s not what’s going to happen.”

“Hopefully I’m sending a signal that will help set a tone. In other words, I think that not criticizing my successor is a statement unto itself, in terms of trying to create an environment that people are able to have a meaningful discussion or debate without trash talk.”

On Regrets from His Time in Office
“The decisions I made are done. And history will judge whether or not they were correct… so I’m comfortable that I made the best decisions I possibly could.”

“We had an opportunity to reform Social Security in a way that would have protected people’s benefits and created a solvent system. Younger workers would be confident that the money they were putting into the system would be available to them when they retired. It was a missed opportunity. I regret that.”

“I regret not finding Osama Bin Laden. I regret the fact that Saddam didn’t have weapons of mass destruction that we thought. I don’t regret removing him from power.”

“Oftentimes history judges you on the decisions you make. They don’t judge you on what would have happened in the absence of a decision. I believe the world would have been a lot worse off if Saddam would be in power today.”


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