Mayor’s corruption scandal further fuels Baltimore’s cynicism about politics

Baltimore is once again beset by allegations of corruption. The city’s mayor, Catherine Pugh, is accused of bestowing contracts and political favors on companies and organizations that purchased large orders of her book. The scandal, plus rising crime and a lack of economic opportunity, keep Baltimore residents cynical about government. William Brangham talks to Paul Jay of the Real News Network.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Federal raids on public buildings, and once again the city’s top leader besieged by allegations of corruption, all of this leading to more anger, cynicism and frustration in Baltimore, Maryland, once given the nickname Charm City.

    William Brangham looks at the scandal that has become central in Baltimore, even as residents grapple with much bigger problems, like crime and a lack of economic opportunity.

  • William Brangham:

    It was a striking scene, federal agents raiding Mayor Catherine Pugh’s home yesterday, carrying out boxes of financial records and documents tied to a growing political scandal.

    The FBI and IRS searched at least six Baltimore addresses linked to the mayor, including City Hall. It’s the first federal involvement in this growing investigation of Pugh.

    The allegation against the mayor is that she took payments for her children’s book series called “Healthy Holly” when, in fact, the payments were really kickbacks. Since 2011, the University of Maryland medical system paid Pugh half-a-million dollars for 100,000 copies of the self-published books. She was a board member there for 18 years.

    The CEO of that medical system resigned this afternoon. Pugh sold another $300,000 worth of books to other customers, including two health carriers that did business with the city. Last month, she apologized, her voice weakened by an apparent bout of pneumonia.

  • Catherine Pugh:

    I am deeply sorry for any lack of confidence or disappointment which this initiative may have caused on Baltimore city residents, friends and colleagues.

  • William Brangham:

    Pugh has since taken a leave of absence and resigned her board seat at the university medical system. An acting mayor has stepped in. But calls for her to leave office permanently are growing.

    In a letter earlier this month, Baltimore’s entire City Council wrote, “We urge you to tender your resignation, effective immediately.”

    And this week, Maryland’s Republican Governor Larry Hogan said the same. Pugh is just the latest Baltimore mayor besieged by scandal. Her predecessor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, faced heavy criticism for how she handled the 2015 riots after a young black man named Freddie Gray died in police custody. She didn’t run for reelection.

    Before her, Sheila Dixon resigned after being convicted of embezzlement. The city has also gone through four police commissioners in the last 18 months, while the city’s crime is surging. Homicides are up and arrests are down.

    So let’s get some perspective from a longtime Baltimore journalist and resident. Paul Jay is the editor-in-chief…

‘Political meltdown’ grips UK after Theresa May’s Brexit defeat

The United Kingdom continues to face political turmoil over Brexit, as Prime Minister Theresa May failed to find enough support in Parliament for her amended agreement with the European Union. Judy Woodruff talks to Sir Peter Westmacott, former British ambassador to the U.S., about the most likely courses of action now, May’s “extremely fragile” majority and why Brexit matters across the globe.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And we continue our look at today’s vote and where the U.K. goes from here with Sir Peter Westmacott. He had a 40-year career in the British Diplomatic Service and he served as his country’s ambassador to the United States.

    Sir Peter Westmacott, welcome back to the “NewsHour.”

    So, what does today’s Parliament vote, rejecting this latest plan, what does it mean for the prospects of Britain leaving the E.U.? Is it now more likely or less likely?

  • Peter Westmacott:

    Well, we are now in a state of some political meltdown, as your correspondent was just explaining.

    I think at the moment it means that it is less likely that we leave on the 29th of March, as scheduled, because of today’s vote, which was resoundingly against Theresa May’s package, but also because, tomorrow, parliamentarians are very likely to vote heavily against the idea of leaving with no deal.

    So, if you haven’t got Theresa May’s deal, and you haven’t got no deal, then what have you got? Answer, on the third day, on Thursday, there will be a vote about whether to ask for an extension of the 29th of March deadline from the European Commission.

    And at the moment, that is what is most likely to happen in the near future. So I think leaving on the 29th of March is feeling a little less likely than it was before tonight’s vote.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, you’re saying parliamentarians tomorrow likely to say, OK, we need some kind of deal if we’re going the leave, the question is, what does it look like?

  • Peter Westmacott:

    Well, it’s not even as clear as that, I’m afraid, Judy.

    What the parliamentarians will like say is, we don’t like the idea of what is crashing out with no deal, because it would be chaotic in a whole lot of different ways. And neither the European Union nor the United Kingdom is ready for that.

    But what they’re not saying is what they would like, and that’s part of the prime minister’s frustration. She rushed off to Strasbourg over the weekend to try and put a few improvements to her package, but, unfortunately, without checking first with her own law officer, the attorney general, thought that the package would do the trick.

    And he then opined this morning, saying it doesn’t give the legal guarantees that she had hoped for. And so result was the Parliament said, this isn’t good enough. So we’re a bit stuck in that sense.

    The most likely thing, therefore, is extending the timetable, if the European side will agree. And a lot of the signs today — this evening — since the vote, are that the European Commission and the European member states are not giving this away for nothing, that they will have their own views as to how long the extension might be.

    And there may be some conditions that are not to the liking of the United Kingdom. So you could still end up crashing out, but it feels to me it is not so likely that it…

Venezuela’s political battle over foreign aid turns to violent confrontation

Violent protests erupted this past weekend in Venezuela over humanitarian aid shipments into the country. Meanwhile, Vice President Pence traveled to Colombia to meet with opposition leader Juan Guaido, promising that the U.S. would increase sanctions on Venezuela in an attempt to oust President Maduro, and calling for other countries to do the same. Special correspondent Nadja Drost reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    As we reported, Vice President Pence was in Colombia today to press the case against Nicolas Maduro, the man in charge of Colombia’s starving neighbor to the east, Venezuela.

    Confrontations on the border between the countries erupted this past weekend, as what was a political fight over humanitarian aid became violent. At least three people were killed and hundreds were wounded.

    With support of the Pulitzer Center, special correspondent Nadja Drost and videographer Bruno Federico have been reporting from Venezuela for us for the past two weeks. And they were in Urena — that is Venezuela — on Saturday. It’s become the focal point of the struggle between Maduro and Juan Guaido, the opposition National Assembly leader, which the U.S. recognizes as the rightful president of Venezuela.

  • Nadja Drost:

    The town of Urena on the border with Colombia was the front line on Saturday in the battle between the two leaders for control of Venezuela. And the weapon of choice, humanitarian aid.

    For the so-called Women in White, pacifist demonstrators who’ve helped lead protests throughout the country, their mission was clear.

  • Claudia Perez:

    The plan today is to reach the heart of the military. If the military don’t consent, if they don’t see in us the reflection of their mothers, daughters, wives, of whoever suffers, we will have to use force.

  • Nadja Drost:

    They’re following a plan devised by the man they now consider their president, Juan Guaido, who is trying to peel away support of President Nicolas Maduro from the military to allow aid into the country.

    And that meant going up against the national guard, military and police sent in the hundreds to guard the three bridges.

  • Claudia Perez:

    We have had so much taken away from us, to the point that we don’t have fear.

  • Nadja Drost:

    But the Women in White had little chance to make it to the heavily guarded bridge. By early morning, clashes had already broken out between protesters and the national guard.

    Protesters want to make their way onto the bridge that crosses the river into Colombia, but the national guard has been blockading all groups from access. And as they have been coming up from the bridge, protesters are meeting them. There’s been an exchange of Molotov cocktails and rocks from one side and tear gas from the other.

    No matter what happens, protesters here today say they will find a way to break the blockade of the national guard in order to allow humanitarian aid from Colombia to pass the border into Venezuela.

    Among them was a member of the opposition-held National Assembly, Joaquin Aguilar.

  • Joaquin Aguilar:

    The goal is to reach the bridge and allow the entrance of humanitarian aid, to break the barrier of repression that the regime of Nicolas Maduro is imposing on the Venezuelan people.

  • Nadja Drost:

    As the national guard took to the streets and started firing at protesters with rubber bullets, many of them were rescued…

Parkland’s legacy: Heightened security, stricter dress codes and political advocacy

A year after a gunman killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the lives and outlooks of students across the country are also permanently altered. The NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs spoke to several of them about the tragedy’s impact on their daily experiences, how safe they feel and the role of politics.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    This week marks a year since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that took the lives of 17 students and educators.

    Tomorrow will be a day when many survivors take time again to remember, reflect and grieve.

    We wanted to take some time tonight to hear from students around the country.

    Our Student Reporting Labs network spoke to high schoolers from a number of states, including California, Michigan, Wisconsin, and South Carolina. We also heard from some college freshmen who recently had graduated.

    We asked students to talk about whether they felt safer or not, what had changed at their schools, and how they were being heard, and some of the larger concerns on their mind.

    Here’s a sampling of what they had to say.

  • Kim Leadholm:

    The students of Parkland and the Parkland movement helped me change, because they really let me notice that my voice matters, that the youth voice matters, and that, although we are not legislators and political officials, we still can have our opinion and voice heard and can make a difference in regards to changes in our political platform.

  • Memphis Cleveland:

    Obviously, Parkland was a really big turning point in this, but it has happened in a lot of different places that, you know, maybe we don’t hear about every day. But because of Parkland, so many things have changed, even in my smaller school.

  • Elliott Corbin:

    I have definitely become more paranoid in school a little bit. Like, right after it happened, everyone…

How these 3 governors say we can overcome political polarization

The past month saw a political climate of extreme division in Washington, D.C., over the partial government shutdown. But some leaders at the state and local levels are striving for improved bipartisanship and compromise. On Monday, Judy Woodruff sat down with three governors trying to work across party lines: Larry Hogan, R-Md., Chris Sununu, R-N.H. and Tom Wolf, D-Pa.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    As Washington, D.C., feels more divided now than ever before, some leaders at the state level are aiming for something often unheard of in today’s politics, common ground.

    Last night, I sat down with governors from three states who have had to work with legislatures dominated by the opposite party.

    All three were critical of Washington’s handling of the federal government shutdown.

    Maryland Governor Larry Hogan told me he would have done everything differently.

    But the governors also struck a hopeful note about the state of American politics.

    Here’s a little of that.

    As you look at this audience, who are really, really frustrated, for all the reasons we have been talking, what — can you give them hope? Can you give them a few sentences to believe that the system is still worth believing in, that we haven’t just lost our way in this country?

  • Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md.:

    You know, I know people are very frustrated. I’m frustrated, not just with Washington, but the divisive, angry politics.

    And I know a lot of people are ready to give up, and they say that the system is…

Florida politics play into disaster relief debate

Florida politics play into disaster relief debate
© Getty Images

Hurricane Michael, and the federal and state response to the disaster, could determine the outcome of Florida’s hotly contested Senate race as Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.), one of the chamber’s most vulnerable Democrats, and Gov. Rick Scott (R) battle to take political credit for the relief effort.

The storm gives Nelson and Scott an opportunity to play leadership roles on television as stricken residents of Florida’s panhandle look for the government’s help in putting their lives back together.

But failure to deliver — or the appearance of falling short — could hurt either or both candidates as the campaign enters its final stretch.

“It’s a big deal,” said Alex Patton, a Florida-based GOP consultant. “It’s a highly emotional time. Most Floridians relate to it.”

“It’s a ton of free airtime during a very emotional time. You can look like, talk like and be a leader,” he added. “People remember this stuff.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, who is the mayor of Tallahassee, has been interviewed the most on television in recent days, according to consultants in the state, which is likely to help his campaign for governor.

Scott, as sitting governor, also has had a lot of free airtime while Nelson, who was in Washington voting until Wednesday, has received less. But Democrats say being on television the most isn’t necessarily helpful if voters are disappointed with the relief efforts.

“There’s certainly an advantage to put on that government-issued polo shirt and windbreaker and stand behind the podium and tell people you care about the safety of their families but there are two sides to it,” said Ben Pollara, a Florida-based Democratic consultant and fundraiser.

Pollara noted that Scott came under criticism after Hurricane Irma when he did not quickly respond to messages asking for help left on his cellphone by employees at a nursing home where 14 senior citizens eventually died because of bad conditions.

“It’s probably been a net positive for Rick Scott and Andrew Gillum this week as the rest of the political world shuts down and they’re on TV every day looking like strong leaders but I think it’s premature to say that this will be defining moment in the campaign not knowing yet how the storm will ultimately be defined politically,” Pollara said.

Democrats say Nelson, who leads Scott by a couple of points in recent polls, could score big political points by securing a promise soon from Republicans for significant aid to Florida’s battered panhandle.

“He desperately needs this,” a Democratic aide said of Nelson. “He needs something good to come out of this.”

Senate Democrats increasingly see Nelson as their most vulnerable incumbent after Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who has fallen behind her challenger by an average of 9 points in recent polls.

Nelson missed votes Thursday as he traveled to Florida to help his constituents deal with the storm’s aftermath.

“This…

How will Trump’s undermining of May play out in British politics?

President Trump lobbed a volley of verbal grenades at British Prime Minister Theresa May in a tabloid interview before he arrived in the UK, saying May had botched Brexit and praising the former foreign secretary as a potential prime minister. Special correspondent Ryan Chilcote joins Judy Woodruff from London to discuss the fallout from the visit.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    News of the Russia indictments came as President Trump was in Britain. But his visit to one of America’s closest friends was greeted by a storm of protesters and by a storm he created with new potshots at Britain’s leader.

    Ryan Chilcote begins our coverage.

  • RYAN CHILCOTE:

    This was the picture President Trump had long sought, an audience with Queen Elizabeth, a military honor guard standing at attention at Windsor Castle, followed by tea with the 92-year-old monarch.

    But the courtly scene followed a day of chaos, after Mr. Trump lobbed a volley of verbal grenades squarely at British Prime Minister Theresa May.

    In an interview conducted with The Sun tabloid before he arrived, the president said may botched Britain’s leaving the European Union. And he warned that’s endangered a potential trade deal with the United States.

  • PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

    I did give Theresa, who I like — I did give her my views on what she should do and how she should negotiate. And she didn’t follow those views. I would actually say she probably went the opposite way.

    It will definitely affect trade with the United States, unfortunately in a negative way.

  • RYAN CHILCOTE:

    The broadside struck a prime minister already weakened by resignations from her government this week over Brexit. Mr. Trump even praised one of those who quit, former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, as a potential prime minister. He’s said to covet the job.

    On the heels of those headlines, the president arrived midday at Chequers, the prime minister’s retreat outside London. After a meeting and lunch with May, both leaders took questions.

  • PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

    I didn’t criticize the prime minister. I have a lot of respect for the prime minister.

  • DONALD TRUMP:

    Unfortunately, there was a story that was done, which was, you know, generally fine, but it didn’t put in what I said about the prime minister. And I said tremendous things. But we record when we deal with reporters. It’s called fake news.

  • RYAN CHILCOTE:

    As far as May was concerned, publicly at, least it was much ado about nothing.

  • THERESA MAY:

    We agreed today that, as the U.K. leaves the European Union, we will pursue an ambitious U.S.-U.K. free trade agreement.

  • PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

    I just think it’s changing the culture. I think it’s a very negative thing for Europe. And…

Shields and Brooks on Trump’s Supreme Court politics, Ocasio-Cortez’s primary upset

Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, including the retirement and legacy of Justice Anthony Kennedy, a shocking Democratic victory in Queens, and the continued fallout over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy and family separation.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And now to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

    Big news, the equivalent of an earthquake, I guess, in Washington, political earthquake.

    Mark, what does it mean that Anthony Kennedy is stepping down from the Supreme Court? What does it mean for the court? What does it mean for the city, for the country?

  • Mark Shields:

    No, let me just say, God likes Donald Trump, because she has now given him a second appointee to the Supreme Court, something that Barack Obama, in eight years, got two. Bill Clinton in eight years got two. George W. Bush in eight years got two. He’s getting two in 18 months.

    Anthony Kennedy is getting encomiums of praise, in large part, Judy, two sources. One, he was a gentleman. He was considerate to those around him. He didn’t — there was no personalizing or polarizing to him. And that is welcome and refreshing in this Washington.

    But the second thing is, he was a liberal on individual rights and sort of social issues. He wasn’t on economic issues. He always came down on the side of corporations against consumers and the side of the employer against — the boss.

    And he wrote probably the worst opinion, in my judgment, in the history of American politics, the campaign — permitting corporations to make unlimited campaign contributions, and allowing the gushing of water — of money into campaigns.

    But he will — he has been a key vote on capital punishment, on a whole host of issues, including gay marriage and ratifying Roe v. Wade. So, in that sense, the nominee will be to the right of him, and it will perhaps energize Republicans who were not energized about 2018.

  • David Brooks:

    Well, first, it struck me that a lot of my progressive friends are reacting like losing Kennedy is like losing, I don’t know, Franklin Roosevelt.

    Like, suddenly, they’re all on his side, which is odd to me, because, in most of his decisions, Citizens United and Bush v. Gore, he voted very solidly with the conservatives.

    But it shows the prominence of two issues for progressives, which is abortion and gay marriage, and it shows how the social issues really are what motivate people these days.

    I would say I would characterize him as a pragmatic libertarian, tended to emphasize individual rights and freedoms. And so sometimes that went a little — a lot of time, it went a little right. Sometimes, it went a little left. But it tended to be an individualistic mind-set, which had some good virtues.

    I thought it — in general, it weakened any sense of community, any of sense of, we have a shared nation, because his world view was so individualistic.

    Nonetheless, he was just a very cordial man, a very good man to be around in Washington, an exemplar of an old style public servant.

    As for the politics, I agree with Mark. It’s just a total gift for Republicans. It will unify the right. It will energize the right. It will energize the left, too, but more — in the coming campaign, it puts pressure on the people in the middle.

    And so Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins on the Republican side, it puts some pressure on them, but I don’t think a whole lot. They voted for Gorsuch.

  • David Brooks:

    But it puts a bunch of pressure on the centrist Democrats who are running in the red states. And I think puts more pressure on the Democrats than it does on the Republicans.

    (CROSSTALK)

  • Mark Shields:

    Yes, I agree with David.

    Joe Manchin in West Virginia, who I think has to be favored for reelection, as a Democrat in a state, Donald Trump’s best state, he won by 42 percent, that is going to be a difficult vote for him, especially if Mitch McConnell, in all likelihood, holds the vote around Halloween to keep attention riveted on the issue.

    Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, a state that Donald Trump carried by 36 percent, Democratic incumbent. Joe Donnelly in Indiana that he carried by 17 percent. And Claire McCaskill in Missouri that Donald Trump carried by 19 percent. It’s going to be a lot of political pressure for them.

    Judy, the key to me is, this is a bigger issue, the Supreme Court has been, for conservatives and Republicans than it has been historically for Democrats.

    For example, in the exit polls in 2016, the Clinton-Trump race, 26 percent of the Republican voters said the Supreme Court and who sat on it was an urgent vote matter to them, to the point that it affected and influenced their votes. Only 18 percent of Democrats said…

Remembering Barbara Bush, political dynasty matriarch

We look back at the life of former first lady Barbara Bush. Son and former President George W. Bush describes his family saying goodbye in a conversation with Amy Holmes and Michael Gerson, then Judy Woodruff gets remembrances from Susan Page of USA Today, C. Boyden Gray, White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush and Bonnie Steinroeder, former pastor at the First Congregational Church of Kennebunkport.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    She was a wife and mother to presidents, but a lack of pretension and a sense of humor that could be self-deprecating were what endeared Barbara Bush to the American people.

    She stood out in a crowd, with a shock of white hair that earned her the family nickname Silver Fox. It was part of Barbara Bush’s determination to be herself, as she recalled in 2004 for a PBS documentary.

  • Barbara Bush:

    Who’s jealous of an overweight, white-haired woman? Nobody. So, I think that was in my benefit, in a way.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The future first lady was born Barbara Pierce in New York City in 1925, to Marvin and Pauline Pierce. Her father was president of McCall Corporation, of “Redbook” and “McCall” magazine fame.

    The family lived in Rye, New York, where Barbara grew up with three siblings. From there, she went off to Smith College, but in 1945, she dropped out to marry George Bush, who was on leave from the Navy. They’d met four years earlier.

    The couple moved to Texas in 1948 with their first child, a son, George W. He was soon joined by a sister, Robin. But she developed leukemia and died at the age of 3, a tragedy that reshaped the family.

    Three other children followed, and Barbara went on to oversee a total of 27 moves, as her husband’s career took them around the world, from Texas, where he built his fortune in the oil fields, to politics and public life. In the 1960s and ’70s, Barbara was by his side for two losing U.S. Senate bids, a winning campaign for a U.S. House seat, and stints as U.N. ambassador, chair of the Republican Party and CIA director.

    In 1980, he ran for president and ultimately ended up as Ronald Reagan’s running mate. As a political spouse, Barbara Bush’s wry sense of humor endeared her to many, but she later acknowledged it didn’t suit everyone.

  • Barbara Bush:

    Well, I tried to behave myself, but I’m a little impulsive. So, occasionally, I said things I was sort of sorry I said, but I think I believed them.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    That tendency caused her trouble in 1984 when she referred to Geraldine Ferraro, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, as something that — quote — “rhymes with rich.” Mrs. Bush quickly apologized.

    She remained plainspoken after her husband won the White House for himself in 1988. Right from the start, the new first lady set a new tone, downplaying fashion, for instance, in sharp contrast with her predecessor, Nancy Reagan.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In 1989, she even wore camouflage gear on a trip to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War to visit with U.S. troops at Thanksgiving.

    Mrs. Bush also made dogs a fixture in the first family’s life. Millie, their springer spaniel, had the run of the White House. Millie produced a famous litter of puppies, displayed before the Washington press corps when they were just a few days old.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In time, Mrs. Bush was inspired to write a bestselling children’s work, titled “Millie’s Book.”

    She reminisced about it in 2012 at the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

  • Barbara Bush:

    And she made over a million dollars for charity. As George says, I worked all my life, got the highest job maybe in the world, and my dog made more money than I did.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Writing her own book was just part of a larger campaign for literacy in America. Barbara Bush took an active role in several literacy organizations, including the one she founded.

  • Barbara Bush:

    Remember, we have a new baby in the house.

    I have now spent more than 25 years promoting family literacy, as I truly believe that being able to read, write and comprehend is one of the Keys to a very successful, happy life, and that a literate society is important to keeping our country safe and strong.

  • Barbara Bush:

    What’s the matter with Americans? You’re in the best shape of any country in the world. Don’t Americans know that when you achieve peace ,it costs money? Peace is costly? We ought to be willing to pay for the fact that we go to bed every single night of our life freer and safer because of George Bush.

    Things are turning, Judy, and they are coming to a strong economy. But we’re going to have to all work for it. But it’s because we all have peace, and we ought to be darn grateful to George Bush.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Mrs. Bush made one of her last public appearances in March, with her husband and presidential scholars, in College Station, Texas.

    Campaigner, literacy advocate, first lady, mother, and wife, and, as her family described Barbara Bush, their linchpin.

    Barbara Bush was 92 years old.

    In Dallas today, her eldest child, President George W. Bush, opened up about his family’s loss. He sat down with the PBS public affairs show “In Principle” hosted by Amy Holmes and Michael Gerson, earlier served as one of the younger President Bush’s White House speechwriters.

    Mr. Bush began by discussing his father and how he was mourning.

  • President George W. Bush:

    I’m very appreciative of the outpouring of sympathies, particularly for my dad, you know.

    At age 93, he’s going to miss mother. After all, they were married for 73 years. I’m comfortable with her passing because she was comfortable with her passing. And she told me point blank, “I do not fear death. I know there’s a loving God.”

    And I have told my — our daughters and some of my brothers and sisters, wow, what a beautiful, beautiful lesson.

    I don’t want to sound cavalier, but I truly am at peace, and I feel very blessed. And, plus, my mother, I can just hear her saying, get on with your life and do something good.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • President George W. Bush:

    Yes.

    There was a lot of psychobabble about my relationship with my parents during the presidency, and it’s natural, because people haven’t had a chance to ask many presidents, what it’s like to be president with your father being a former president and mother a former first lady?

    And the most important thing they told me was, “Son, I love you, and we’re proud of you,” which is the most important thing any parent can tell a child.

  • President George W. Bush:

    I did, yes. Laura and I went over and saw her at the hospital. She was doing pretty well, slightly feisty still, which is a good sign.

    And she and I used to kind of needle each other in a friendly way. And then the doctor walked into this hospital room. And mother said, “Do you want to know why George W. is the way he is, Doctor?”

    And the doctor didn’t have any choice.

    And mother said, “Because I drank and smoked when I was pregnant with him.”

    (LAUGHTER)

  • President George W. Bush:

    So, I knew she was feeling pretty good. And then, a week later, she went downhill. But she chose no — didn’t want to have any life-sustaining care. In other words, she was ready to move. And they made her comfortable.

    And I called her yesterday, when I had the sense that she was ready to go. She couldn’t talk back, but I told her how much I loved…