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5 Key Takeaways from Authors & Insights: Jean Becker

Today, former Chief of Staff to President George H.W. Bush Jean Becker joined Gray TV White House Correspondent and McCain Institute Media Fellow Jon Decker for a conversation about her new book “The Man I Knew: The Amazing Story of George H.W. Bush’s Post-Presidency”. The two discussed everything from how Jean found herself working for the Bush family, the evolution of President Bush and President Clinton from political rivals to friends, President Bush’s role as the father of two politicians and much more. You can find a video of the conversation below, and stay tuned for the audio-only podcast version of the event, which can be found on the McCain Institute’s Spotify and iTunes channels.



Jean’s Impromptu Job as Senator McCain’s Driver
“It was 2008, Senator McCain of course is running for President. He flew into Houston to do a campaign rally with President Bush and when the rally was over I did not know where his staff was. It was early enough in the campaign and he didn’t have secret service yet, but President Bush was leaving to go out of town on a plane. Senator McCain needed a ride to a hotel in downtown Houston and President Bush volunteered me to drive him. And I will tell you that it was nerve-wracking because Senator McCain was a legend. And I kept looking at him in my car nervous that I was driving this very important man but I got him there safe and sound.”

President Bush and Losing Gracefully
“Let’s go back to January 20, 1993. He very famously left a note in the desk in the Oval Office for the incoming president in which he wished him well and told him you are now my president and I’m going to stay out of your way. President Bush did that because he knew what was best for the country, he knew how to be a good loser, he was just a class act.”

On President Bush’s Deep Commitment to his Family
“He was an amazing grandfather, and Walker’s Point was the place in the summer where they all gathered. But he also throughout the year he would write them emails and letters, all his grandkids and his five children they have an amazing collection of letters that their dad and their grandfather wrote them over the years. He would end a lot of the letters with ‘I’m here if you need me.’ His pride in them knew no bounds and they revered him, it’s a close knit family.”

How President Bush Spent the Crucial Six Weeks of the 2000 Election
“One of the things we did during that six week period, we went to a lot of matinee movies. I would find really funny movies and we would go see them.“

President Bush 41’s Surprise Visit to Milwaukee on 9/11
“That evening I’m sitting with all of my friends and we’re waiting for the President to address the nation and my cell phone rings. And everyone was surprised because cell phone was sporadic in DC that day, and its President Bush 41. I said I’m so glad to hear from you, I know you can’t tell me where you are but I’m very glad to talk to you. He says what are you talking about, I’m at the Hampton Inn outside Milwaukee Wisconsin.”

Publish Date
September 15, 2021