George W. Bush Gives Jay Leno Portrait During 'Tonight Show' Appearance

Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013 04:57 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Former President George W. Bush shared his artistic side during a rare national television appearance on Tuesday.

The 43rd president visited "The Tonight Show" for the first time since leaving office in January 2009, and presented host Jay Leno with a portrait he painted of the comedian.

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"I am a painter," he told Leno. "You may not think I'm a painter; I think I'm a painter."

Bush said he took up painting after leaving office, and eventually hired a teacher in Dallas.

"There's a Rembrandt trapped in this body. Your job is to find him," Bush said of what he told his instructor.

Bush's visit wasn't all light and airy, as the former commander-in-chief said, "I relied upon my faith, my family helped a lot and I had a good team around me" while in the White House, and he doesn't miss being in office.

"Eight years is plenty," he said. "I don't miss the spotlight."

Bush has stayed mostly out of public view since his handed the White House keys to Barack Obama, but told Leno he agreed to a fourth overall appearance because he wanted to see the late-night host again before Leno leaves the seat for good next spring.

Asked for thoughts on Obama, Bush said, "I don't think it's good for the country to have a former president criticize his successor."

He said making tough decisions is part of the territory.

"You have to believe in what you're doing, first and foremost," he told Leno. "I did the best I could do. I'm also very comfortable with the fact it's going to take a while for history to judge whether the decisions I made are consequential or not."

Bush engaged in a long war with Iraq and left office with a high level of debt. He has been accused by critics of lying about weapons of mass destruction. He maintained that he will let history judge his legacy and noted that historians are still writing biographies about George Washington.

"My attitude, if they're still writing biographies of the first guy, the 43rd guy doesn't need to worry," Bush said.





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