Perot cost father reelection, Bush says

Former President George W. Bush said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he thinks his father would have won reelection in 1992 if Texas billionaire Ross Perot had not entered the race and made it a three-way contest with Democrat Bill Clinton.

{mosads}“I mean, it’s just all conjecture, of course,” George W. Bush said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “But I think he would have won, because I think ultimately there would have been a– you know, a clear choice between– you know, a guy who had a very good first term and an untested governor.”

George W. Bush said that his father’s loss, despite a high favorability rating after the Gulf War, taught him a lesson about how to spend political capital – something he writes about in his new book about his father, “41: A Portrait of my Father.”

“In the book I’m– you know, I was somewhat dismayed about the inability for the White House to connect– you know, the message to connect with the American people– that domestic politics really mattered for George Bush as much as international politics. In other words, he had a lot of capital to spend, and I didn’t– in retrospect, it– it wasn’t spent wisely.”

George W. Bush also said that a portion of the book in which he writes that he did not send troops into Iraq to finish what his father started is one of the “very few defensive moments in the book.”

The former president said he was surprised that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein did not leave when given an ultimatum.

“You know, when he was captured, I was told that the FBI agent that talked to him– he said, ‘I just didn’t believe Bush,’” he said. “And it’s hard for me to believe he didn’t believe me…We’d given an ultimatum to the Taliban and delivered. I make the point in the book, of course, that– and Dad understood this better than anybody, that when you say something as President, you better mean it. Words mean something.”

Read more from The Hill: 

George W. Bush: Odds ’50-50′ that Jeb will run

Tags George W. Bush Sunday shows

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