WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush jokes in an interview to be broadcast Sunday there is a simple explanation for why he does not see the ghosts of past presidents: "I quit drinking in (1986)."
Bush also told C-SPAN public affairs television that he and his father, former president George Bush, like to chat by telephone but don't talk much about decisions facing the current White House occupant.
"It may come as a surprise to you," he said. "I like to check in with him, ... he likes to ask about this trip where you saw so and so, or (ask) how'd that go, particularly when I've been overseas.
"But we really haven't gotten to the stage yet where we're sharing common experiences in the White House," the younger Bush said in the interview, which was conducted Thursday in the Map Room of the White House.
Asked whether, as he embarked on his second four-year term, he saw ghosts of past presidents, the president quipped: "Well, I quit drinking in '86."
Bush said he "tried to empathize, at times," with Abraham Lincoln, whom he dubbed "the country's greatest president" for steering the United States through its bloody 1861-1865 Civil War.
"But it's just really hard to project back into somebody else's shoes. So, no, I guess I don't see ghosts," said the president.
Bush also shared some of his daily work schedule, saying he gets to work around 6:50 a.m. or 7 a.m., and leaves around 5:30 p.m., adding "It's not a very glamorous social life .... I'm not a glamorous social person."
"This evening I'm going to exercise for an hour, and then that gets me into the dinner. And after dinner I'll read and go to bed," said the president.
"I read a lot of history books," said Bush, who told C-SPAN that he was reading a biography of George Washington, the first US president, and had read other biographies of prominent early Americans.
"I can't remember all the books I read, but I do read a lot of books. And from that, I'm able to gain a better appreciation of where we're going," said Bush, who majored in history while in college at Yale University.
But for me, I do see a ghost when I look at George Jr., a ghost named Sam Houston. For those that aren’t familiar with the life of Sam, you will be amazed at the similarities between these two men. And I have no doubt that when history is written, George W. Bush will be just as celebrated in America as Sam Houston is in Texas.
Posted by Texas Gal