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George H. W. Bush

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The father promotes his son, candidate George W. Bush:  “he’s a good man and won’t let you down”

George Herbert Walker Bush, 1924–2018.  41st President of the United States.  Typed Letter Signed, George Bush, one page, 6½” x 8½”, on engraved personal stationery, Houston, Texas, December 6, 1999. 

Letters in which one President talks about another are scarce, if not rare, and this one is a wonderful example.  Ever the politician, and ever the father, Bush cannot resist plugging the candidacy of his son George W. Bush for the presidency even as he writes a delightful letter thanking a correspondent for commenting on his new book, All the Best, George Bush.  The younger Bush would be elected in 2000 in one of the closest and most controversial presidential elections in American history.  In a typed postscript, the elder Bush writes:  “PS - Thanks for your support of George W. – he’s a good man and he won’t let you down.”  In the body of the letter, addressing the book, he writes:  “Your wonderfully thoughtful letter just came across my desk, and I’m writing to say thank you.  /  Although I was never really interested in  writing a memoir – historians can decide the ups and downs of my time in office – I did want to let others know about what I call ‘heartbeat.’  /  Kind words mean a lot to me these days, . . . and yours were sure appreciated.”  In a nod to the book’s title, he closes with “All the best . . . ”

Bush resisted calls from friends to write a memoir after he left the White House following his defeat by Bill Clinton in 1992.  He thought that two books “‘got it right’ both on perceptions of the Bushes as a family and on how my administration tried to handle the foreign-policy problems we faced”:  his wife Barbara’s A Memoir (1994), which he called “a wonderful book about our days together both in and out of public life and about our family,” and his own A World Transformed (1998), with Brent Scowcroft, which “dealt with the many historic changes that took place in the world when we were in the White House.”  But he gave in to prodding by publisher Lisa Drew to publish a compilation of letters that he had written over his lifetime.  Aided by a friend, Jean Becker, who did most of the legwork, the book became All the Best, George Bush:  My Life in Letters and Other Writings (1999).  Echoing a friend’s suggestion that the press “never really understood your heartbeat,” who he really was, Bush wrote in the preface that the book was “not meant to be an autobiography” but instead was “all about heartbeat.”

George W. Bush, then the Governor of Texas, announced in June 1999 that he would seek the 2000 Republican presidential nomination.  His early opponents included Arizona Senator John McCain, who ultimately became his strongest rival, and Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, publisher Steve Forbes, former Vice President Dan Quayle, conservative political commentator Pat Buchanan, and former Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole.  Bush won the nomination with 99.6% of the delegates, although the primary race was not nearly as lopsided.  In the general election, Bush and former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney defeated Vice President Al Gore and Senator Joe Lieberman in the closest and most controversial race since the 1876 Hayes-Tilden election.  After the United States Supreme Court declared Florida’s ordered statewide ballot recount unconstitutional, the previously announced Florida result stood, and Bush won the state and was elected President with 271 electoral votes, one more than the 270 needed for election.  He was reelected in 2004.

This is a very nice letter.  Bush has signed with a black ballpoint pen.  The letter has one normal mailing fold that touches neither the text nor Bush’s signature. There are faint lines and mat board impressions from prior framing in places around the perimeter, and there are mounting traces on the back.  Overall the letter is in fine condition.



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