George Bush: Fishing For Charity

Former President George Bush has returned to the Cheeca Lodge in the Florida Keys to help sponsor the Fifth Annual George Bush/Cheeca Lodge Bonefish Tournament. Money raised will benefit a local volunteer fire and rescue corps and a charter school built to help disadvantaged children. (The former president's son, Jeb, started the school with the Urban League in Florida.)

Mr. Bush says that makes being there a double delight, giving him "pleasure, and you have the feeling that maybe you're doing something worthwhile."

Mr. Bush will compete in the tournament and present trophies to the winners. This invitation-only event is limited to only 50 anglers, with an entry fee of $2,250 per angler. It includes a spot at three social events during the two-day tournament.

The sport of bonefishing is a challenge for the former president. "It's a combination of hunting and fishing, because the excitement when you see them coming across the flats with the tails in the air and the noses in the mud and they stir up the mudÂ… It's the closest to hunting and fishing together that I've ever done. And I've done a lot of fishing since I...became unemployed. Put it that way."

Mr. Bush says he's proud of his sons, Texas Goveror George and Florida gubernatorial candidate Jeb. The former president says he and wife Barbara didn't have to give them advice on how to conduct themselves in the political arena.

"They learned from their grandfather and father to conduct themselves with honor," says Mr. Bush. "But we didn't give advice... The political climate is not too pleasant, to be very candid with you. And I think most people realize that these are good, honest boys."

As for digging into personal matters of those in public office:
"They dug plenty up in the days I was running. There is a quantum leap forward in terms of intrusiveness. Some...feel they have to get a story if there is a rumor out there. So it makes...a lot of good people say, 'I'm not going to run.' That's one reason I'm proud of our boys."

Is Mr. Bush surprised about the impeachment talk in Washington? "Not surprised but I think the system is in place. The law is very clear. The Constitution is very clear. Nobody can stand in its way. So I guess I'd have to say I wouldn't have thought when I went out of office that there would be this kind of thing this soon. The best thing for me to do is stay on the sidelines...and let the system work. For me to get involved in all of that would be counter-productive. I lost fair and square to this man. And I don't think it helps to have the loser out there, saying, 'Hey, look at this.' I'm not going to do it."

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