The dribbling out of excerpts and interview clips continues as former President George W. Bush re-emerges to promote his book, Decision Points. In the latest round of pre-release strategic leaks, Bush says he was able to quit drinking cold turkey at age 40 because he was never “chemically addicted.”
The book reportedly opens with Bush’s decision to quit drinking. In his interview with Matt Lauer, which airs in its entirety on Monday, Bush said alcohol had become a “love” that “began to compete” with his love for his wife and daughters.
“I was a drinker. Now I wasn’t a knee-walkin’ drunk. And I have concluded I was not chemically addicted, like some of my friends were, who required a 12-step program for some,” he said.
“Nevertheless, in either case, alcohol becomes central to your life,” he went on. “And I finally woke up and realized that I did not want to live a life where alcohol was central. And I’m convinced, I really am convinced, had I not quit drinking, I wouldn’t be sitting here as a former President. Because I chronicle a few incidents where alcohol made my quick tongue, not only quick, but caused me to be stupid.”
One of those incidents is one at a dinner party in Maine with Bush’s parents and his wife. After a few drinks, he turned to the “beautiful woman” sitting next to him, and blurted out, “So, what’s sex like after 50?”
“I mean total silence. And not only silence, but like serious daggers,” Bush told Lauer. Years later, on his 50th birthday, he received a note from the woman: “Dear Governor: Well, what’s the answer?”
In the latest batch of excerpts, Bush also said the picture of him looking out of the window of Air Force One at the damage after Hurricane Katrina was a mistake.
“I immediately knew it was a problem,” he writes in the book. He told Lauer he should have touched down in Baton Rouge then instead of passing overhead.
“The reason why we didn’t land in Louisiana is because I was concerned that first responders would be pulled off their task and I’d be criticized,” he said. “In retrospect, however I should have touched down in Baton Rouge, met with the governor and walked out and said, ‘I hear you. We understand. And we’re going to help the state and help the local governments with as much resources as needed.’ And then got back on a flight up to Washington. I did not do that. And paid a price for it.”
Bush’s second interview is with Oprah Winfrey, and will air on Tuesday. In excerpts released so far, she presses him to weigh in on whether Sarah Palin should be the next Republican president.
“You know, I am not a political pundit. I’m really not. And secondly, a lot is gonna happen between now and the nominating process. I — I have no clue,” he said. “You’re asking me to wade back into the swamp.”