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The past and future of the Bush political dynasty

Past and future of the Bush political dynasty
The past and future of the Bush political dynasty 04:53

Former President George H.W. Bush's political life was part of a robust family legacy. His father, Prescott Bush, was a U.S. senator from Connecticut. Mr. Bush and his son, President George W. Bush, are only the second father-son duo to occupy the Oval Office. The other is John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

In both his military career and in political life, George Herbert Walker Bush was driven by a sense of duty, reports CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford.

"I just had that driving feeling that I ought to go in the service," Mr. Bush once said.
"He's often said that, 'Any definition of a successful life must include service to others.' And that just defines most of his life," said Tim McBride, who served as Mr. Bush's personal aide.

America pays tribute to George H.W. Bush, a devoted public servant 05:55

McBride saw the president as a father figure and was with Mr. Bush on inauguration day in 1989. Minutes before he was to be sworn in as president, Mr. Bush made a curious observation.

"President-elect Bush notices that Mrs. Reagan is bundling up, very snugly, President Reagan," McBride said. "He's gonna wear a coat. She's wrapping a scarf around him. He is clearly ready for much colder conditions."

So the president-elect demanded his own coat.

"And I said, 'Sir, your coat's down in the car. We won't get it in time. It's not possible.' He said, 'Well, I need it. I can't go out looking more robust than President Reagan,'" McBride said.

Mr. Bush lost his re-election bid in 1992. By 2001, another Bush – George W. – was back in the Oval Office.

"As I recall the conversation went something like this: 'Welcome, Mr. President.' 'It is good to see you, Mr. President.' And, that's all we said," George W. Bush said.

"They'll remember him as a good honest president. I mean, he got a lot of things done. But, I think the thing I take pride in is integrity," Mr. Bush said of his son.

Proud as he was, according to McBride, Mr. Bush did not set out to build a political dynasty.

"None of that motivated him or, I believe, motivates any of his family," McBride said.

It's a sentiment Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, echoed when he ran for president in 2016.

"The idea of being a Bush, I know, it's complicated for people looking in on the outside," Jeb Bush told "CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell. "I can distinguish between being proud to be a member of this extraordinary family… and also recognizing I gotta go make this case myself."

Amid declarations that he was doomed by his last name, Jeb Bush dropped out of the GOP primary.

"I once heard someone just say that the times choose the president," McBride said.

"You think, if his last name was Smith, he would've had a better chance?" Crawford asked.

"I think running as a Bush would've been tough in '16 for any candidate. But beyond that, there were other factors that caused the voters to look somewhere else, I think," McBride said.

Voters may one day look toward yet another Bush – Jeb's son, George Prescott Bush. Currently the Texas land commissioner, George P. Bush seemed destined to join the family business. At 12 years old, he led the pledge of allegiance at the 1988 Republican National Convention that nominated his grandfather. Now the fourth generation of his family to enter politics, George P. Bush did so with his uncle's blessing.

"He's always thought that I'd be good at it, but in terms of doing it for the right reasons, that's what the consensus was. Whether it was him or my grandfather or my dad is, you've got to do this with a servant's heart," George P. Bush said.

With the unwavering heart of a servant, Mr. Bush leaves behind a legacy that transcends politics.

"You can't believe what our grandchildren do," Barbara Bush said before her death. "They all do something for others ... They do public service — they do something for others."

George P. Bush is one of the most popular politicians in Texas where the Bush name still resonates. Even if he doesn't decide to run for president, there are still another 16 Bush grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren who could enter public office.

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