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John Sununu: George H.W. Bush's Domestic Success Overlooked

By    |   Thursday, 11 June 2015 07:55 PM

President George H.W. Bush is "a man who doesn't like to brag about himself," his former White House Chief of Staff John Sununu told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

"Never did. Was always willing to let others take the credit — and that's really the reason why I wrote the book," Sununu told "The Hard Line" host Ed Berliner of his new memoir, "The Quiet Man: The Indispensable Presidency of George H.W. Bush."

"I tried to put both his foreign policy and his domestic policies between the covers and hope that the world will see the whole thing as a complete package," he said.

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Sununu, 75, who served as New Hampshire governor from 1983 to 1989, said that he got to know Bush when he was vice president under Ronald Reagan.

"When he wanted to run, we really put together a strategy of getting him to talk to Republican governors to form that strategy," he told Berliner. "I learned that this was a guy who liked to listen, who liked to understand how complex problems were and how to solve them, and how to deal with issues — but not in a braggadocio sort of way, but in an effective way.

"It was pretty clear even in the campaign that this was a president that was going to have some very good results in the domestic domain."

But those achievements, which include signing the Americans With Disabilities Act into law in 1990, were overshadowed by Bush's foreign accomplishments. He led military efforts to depose Panamanian dictator Manual Noriega in 1989 and that won the Persian Gulf War victory in 1991.

"What he did in foreign policy was so monumental, so pivotal that people don't go back and take into account" Bush's success in making policies that affected the nation, Sununu said.

Had Bush completed a second term, he most likely would have taken on welfare reform, but the one thing Bush was very concerned about was "a much more aggressive expansion of the United States leadership role in terms of trying to deal with the world economies," he said.

"This is a president who understood that economic strength and stability is the key to peace and prosperity around the world."

But most importantly, Sununu said he was most impressed with Bush's humanity.

"This was a president who talked to his people, worked things out with them, but also invested his time," he told Berliner, citing budget meetings with then-Illinois Democratic Rep. Daniel Rostenkowski, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

"Danny Rostenkowski came down for at least two dozen one-on-one meetings with the president as we tried to work through the details to find something that could be passed.

"This was a president who invested his time and his political capital in doing things," Sununu said, "and dealt with people one on one, one in a group — almost any way at all to create the coalition to get good results."

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President George H.W. Bush is "a man who doesn't like to brag about himself," his former White House Chief of Staff John Sununu told Newsmax TV on Thursday.
john sununu, george h.w. bush, domestic, success
Thursday, 11 June 2015 07:55 PM
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