Interviewer: Everyone says this was a very divisive campaign and that the country now needs to be unified. Would you say that it was any more divisive than usual?Really? Can't point to an example?
George Herbert Walker Bush: Well I think maybe more ... uh ... there was more visceral hatred about the President than I've ever felt. Uh .. I don't ... I remember campaigns being really tough .. uh ... when I ran against Clinton, but he wasn't, they weren't using words like "liar" and, uh, it wasn't as difficult as ... This one was more difficult than in the past, I think. I expect the Kerry people would say the same thing but I don't think they can point to any example where the President himself got into that, uh, name-calling, uh, outrageous posture.
Well, there were the debates:
BUSH: That's totally absurd.
BUSH: The only consistent about my opponent's position is that he's been inconsistent.
BUSH: ... He said he thought Saddam Hussein was a grave threat, and now he said it was a mistake to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
BUSH: He keeps talking about, "Let the inspectors do their job." It's naive and dangerous to say that.
BUSH: don't think my opponent has got the right view about the world to make us safe; I really don't.
BUSH: ... First, the National Journal named Senator Kennedy the most liberal senator of all. And that's saying something in that bunch. You might say that took a lot of hard work
BUSH: He's just not credible when he talks about being fiscally conservative. He's just not credible. ... And of course he's going to raise your taxes.
BUSH: Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations.
BUSH: ... It's an empty promise. It's called bait and switch.
BUSH: Well, his rhetoric doesn't match his record. ... He talks about PAYGO. ...pay go means: You pay, and he goes ahead and spends.
BUSH: ... In his last litany of misstatements. He said we cut Pell Grants.
BUSH: He forgot to tell you he voted to tax Social Security benefits more than one time.
BUSH: ... He just doesn't understand how the borders work, evidently, to say that. That is an outrageous claim
BUSH: ... In our first debate he proposed America pass a global test. In order to defend ourselves, we'd have to get international approval.
BUSH: ... Apparently you can't pass any test under his vision of the world.
And speeches he made on the campaign trail:
"I didn't pick my Vice President for his hairdo."
"My opponent is a tax-and-spend liberal"
"This is my opponent's alliance-building strategy: brush off your best friends, fawn over your critics."
"There is a mainstream in American politics, and John Kerry sits on the far left bank."
"And then -- and then he entered the flip-flop hall of fame."
Perhaps former president Bush just didn't take too great an interest in his son's campaign.