My 'accidental interview' with President George H.W. Bush

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As I listened to the heartwarming stories told today at the funeral of Pres. George H.W. Bush, I was reminded of my own personal encounter with the late president. I call it the "accidental interview."

It was in 1992, the final year of the Bush presidency. First Lady Barbara Bush was a dedicated advocate for children's literacy, and she frequently read books to children at the White House. At that time, I was on Good Morning America and served as the ABC Network's spokesperson for literacy.

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So, GMA sent me to the White House to do a "live remote" with the first lady at one of her readings. At the end of our final segment on the air, President Bush walked into the room. He lovingly grasped the first lady's hand, and he warmly welcomed me to the White House. We were no longer on the air, but I was still wearing a microphone, and the cameraperson was still rolling, so this encounter became the accidental interview.

President Bush was warm, gracious, engaging, and amazingly down to earth.

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At today's ceremony, speaker after speaker mentioned what a loving couple the Bushes were, and how President Bush loved holding hands with his "Barb." Those stories reminded me vividly of what I witnessed that morning 26 years ago.

The first thing the president did as he walked into the room was reach for "Barb's" hand. In fact, I think he may have still been holding her hand as he shook mine-- if my memory serves me correctly.

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In any event, that was a special and tender moment- and certainly a memorable one. My interaction with President Bush was just a casual conversation, not an actual interview-, so I have no headline-grabbing quotes to share.

I do, however, have the lasting memory of this man who seems to have left a positive impression on everyone he met- even those who were not his political allies.

For more stories, pictures and videos about former President George H.W. Bush, go here.
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