The Interview with the President Went Swimmingly


Today was one of the more exciting days in Daly family history — the reason why all depends on who you ask.gwbushdallas1.jpg

My boys, Trent and Troy, quizzed early this morning about what they thought the highlight of their day was going to be, took nanoseconds to respond, “We’re going swimming!” It was a particularly joyous occasion for Trent, the fish of the family, since he hasn’t been able to hit the pool for a couple of months after breaking his wrist this summer.

So it seemed a perfectly natural answer for a 10 and 8-year-old — even though they were only a few minutes away from meeting the 43rd President of the United States.

I brought the boys and Jean along with me to Dallas today to meet President George W. Bush at his office here, where we recorded a Focus on the Family broadcast scheduled to air next week, Tuesday and Wednesday, December 14th and 15th. I’ve met Mr. Bush a couple of times before, and was thrilled to have the opportunity for the boys to meet him, too.

Almost as thrilled as they were to splash around in the hotel pool.

The President was friendly and gracious with them, giving them presidential bookmarks as gifts and wishing them a Merry Christmas. (He also had a little fun with me, remarking as I was telling him about a spill I took mountain biking with a mutual friend, “You’re a little big for a mountain bike, aren’t you?”) The boys and I had talked in advance about some questions they might want to ask him, and with a little help from Dad they did find out whether the President carries money.

The answer? No.

Mr. Bush said aides handle any point-of-sale purchases that need to be made, so there’s no need to keep cash on hand, but added that the funds used for buying everything from food for the First Family to putting up relatives at Camp David comes from a president’s personal finances.

That was just one of the interesting things discovered in the 90 or so minutes the Dalys and some members of the Focus team spent with the president this morning.

They say you can tell a lot about what a man values by the way his office is decorated — and in that case it’s clear President Bush is a person of great faith and love for his family. The wall closest to his desk is home to three large photographs: one of him with his daughter Jenna on her wedding day; one of him with his wife, Laura; and one with his other daughter, Barbara.

On the credenza behind his desk are a few family photos as well: one of his father’s inauguration as president (there are no photos, tellingly, of Mr. Bush’s own two inaugurations); a shot of his grandfather, Prescott Bush, a U.S. senator; and an old family snapshot taken outside an airplane — the days when air travel was an *event*! — featuring his parents and grandparents and him as a toddler.

President Bush’s desk is neat and mostly unadorned — there’s a clock, a small bust of an eagle and a small bust of a steer.  There were two books stacked there, as well: “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God But Were Afraid to Ask” by Eric Metaxas and “All Things Are Possible Through Prayer” by Charles L. Allen. On the credenza is another pair of leather-bound editions: “Decision Points” and the New American Standard Bible.

gwbushdallas4.jpgI was fascinated by “Decision Points” and the straightforward way President Bush discussed the key highs and lows of his eight years in office — from the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks to the financial crisis of 2008. What struck me most, though, just as his office reflects, was how his faith in Christ and his love of family helped him weather the rough times and deepened the joy of the good times.

I don’t want to spoil some of the insights you’ll hear on the broadcast next week, but there is one thing he said to me off-mic, before the recorders started rolling, that I think succinctly sums up who he is. As we were about to begin, I told him I wasn’t going to ask a lot of questions about politics, but rather explore his personal journey as a believer in Christ, a husband and father and son, who served the American people during a particularly meaningful moment in history.

“That’s about right,” he said as he nestled into his chair. “It is Focus on the Family, not Focus on the Party.”

Those are the words of a man who seems to have his priorities straight, a man my boys will be proud to have met.

Just as soon as they get out of the pool.

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Leave a Comment

Marsha More than 1 year ago

I''m reading the Former Pres. GW. Bush's book, DECISION POINTS. I feel it is an excellent book!  It's refreshing that we had a man as President of the USA who was not afraid to show his faith in God, one who admits he is learning as he goes along in life. It was so comforting to have a President who loves his country and its freedoms it gives as much as he does. He truly does care about those who serve and those who need saved from tyranny. It's so sad we now have a very liberal administration who want to ruin the USA. Thank you so much for interviewing him as well as sharing the way his office is decorated ... simple, with God and family in mind and heart.

Linda W. More than 1 year ago

I so appreciated your interview with President Bush.  We got to hear the man as opposed to a politician.  I am so glad he was president for those 8 years!  god bless you for all you do for families!

Wendy More than 1 year ago

Thank you so much for this shared moment with President Bush.He is heroic to me and holds a place in my heart that is priceless.I am very grateful for his strong family values.Thank you for your respected work.

v More than 1 year ago

He has never been given the hononr due hime. I hope that this coutry one day appreciates him for his faith and values. May God bless America to one day stand strong and united and to again become one nation under God!!!

Ellen S. More than 1 year ago

How very exciting for you family...something tells me that when Trent and Troy are adults they'll look back on this day and probably won't remember the swimming part as much as the meeting-the-president part.  :-)

john h More than 1 year ago

We have gotten to the point where we just give a pass on any candidate as long as they are pro life and really not too concerned about their voting record as it concerns our individual rights and personal freedoms or their stance on increasing the size of government. We get what we vote for, a bigger government and more spending  under bush continued under Obama and yet we still think Bush was a great man. He cut taxes but never made an effort to cut spending so we will continue to make the same mistakes in our voting  as long as we ignore our forefathers desire to let government to be controlled by us rather than government controlling us.

Belinda More than 1 year ago

I agree with you 100%.  He and all of us need to understand that the muslims do not pray to the same God we pray to.  All religions do not lead to God the Father.  Also, I was very disappointed in Laura Bush and Barbara Bush on their abortion/homosexuality views.

Cindy More than 1 year ago

I think it unfair to judge Jim Daly and his "comfort zone".  It is refreshing to see and hear an interview with a President who follows the Lord and has gotten a bum wrap because of it!  I believe our country would be far worse off if we didn't have George Bush as President at the time he was, and I applaud Mr. Daly for doing this interview to bring some hope and joy to all at this wonderful time of year!Maybe an Obama interview will happen in the future.Blessings.

Redjo More than 1 year ago

I was happy to hear that God was in his life. It is God that gives us our direction.We need more Godley people in the White House

Jim B. More than 1 year ago

My wife, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and I were blessed to be able to speak to President Bush, some years past.  Unfortunately, this occasion was brought about my son being killed in action in Afghanistan.  The president asked to speak to us regarding my son.  During this meeting the president became very emotional when talking about my son.  He is a good God fearing man and it was an honor for my family and me to meet him.

Nellie M. More than 1 year ago

Keep up the great work on bringing Jesus too the American people and foreign people as well.  I think President Bush did a great job as President.  With a democratic Congress and Senate is was ambushed. Many people don't understand this situation! God Bless You and Merry Christmas!  My bank had no Christmas decorations or a tree. I can't rmemeber this ever happening in my life time. I am offended! I will change banks!Nellie

Sandi More than 1 year ago

He's my presidential hero!  So loving and caring.  He doesn't need the publicity, even shuns it when he is visiting our troops at Fort Hood and elsewhere.  Love him for that.

K.J. More than 1 year ago

Why do some Christians work so hard to convince the public that George Bush is a righteous man? He's just a man, O.K., and a politician to boot. It places a stumbling block before unbelievers to publicly tag a particular politician as a wonderful Christian person, even if they are. Isn't Jesus good enough? Why hold up a man? I wish Mr. Bush well, but where does our admiration belong? On whom should we focus?.P.S.- American government will not save anybody's soul.

NewGuy More than 1 year ago

Also thought "the President" was Obama.

Egirl More than 1 year ago

Excellent post, Jim.  I've seen "Decision Points" at the bookstore as I've been doing my Christmas shopping and hadn't decided whether to get it or not. I will make it a point to listen to the broadcast both days.  Thanks!

Carolyn J. More than 1 year ago

Refreshing and reinvigorates my faith and hope in God, family, and country.

Richard More than 1 year ago

All I can say to Hawks23 is AMEN!!! Even tho I had a few disagreements with some of his decisions, I still have the utmost respect for the man. He definitely was the right person to be in the White House on 9/11!!!

Melissa T More than 1 year ago

I think because this wasn't a political interview, but an interview of a man of faith who has an obvious bent toward family, that is likely why former Pres. Bush was interviewed.  Yes he was a past president, but more important a present man of faith that can bring some insight to FOF listeners about being and staying "focused on your family" through the toughest of situations.Had FOF wanted presidential interviews they likely would have asked for an interview During his presidency, not after.  And to my knowledge, President Obama has been asked for interviews by multiple conservative news groups, but has refused those interview opportunities.I appreciate FOF letting us share in their time with a plain old  Mr Bush, American citizen.And I'm sure Mr Daly's sons know about our current President and they pray for him consistently.

Florence More than 1 year ago

As a swimmer, I totally understand.  However I think I would miss class for the day for the opportunity to meet our 43 rd President.  One whom I respected although I didn't agree with him on everything.

Terry More than 1 year ago

Why does an interview with President Bush need any commentary about President Obama.  President Obama is the President of the United States but that has nothing to do with an interview of a previous President.  I believe Christians should respect President Obama as the President, but I cannot  honestly say that President Obama has made his faith any kind of example or shown that it affects his life or his policies on a day-to-day basis.

fred g More than 1 year ago

President G. W. Bush has a testimony of gratitude to Jesus, a testimony of repentance and redemption, of transformation and sanctification, of healing and deliverance, of love and blessing, of restoration and strengthening.  As he humbled himself before Jesus, God lifted him up 'for such a time'.  He is a precious brother and example to me, and always will be.

Jonathan S More than 1 year ago

I love the innocence of kids-that's great that they were looking forward to the pool the most!

Furthermore, I love that I get to follow in the footsteps of other men who love God and let that relationship inform their decisions and shape who they are.  As a young man, I can't tell you how valuable it is to have a good example of how to live out your faith and I appreciate both your leadership, Jim and fmr. President Bush's.

Alice B More than 1 year ago

I am 77 years old and I can say with all my heart that President Bush is my hero. Without God in our United States we will be in big trouble. Wise men still adore Him. You are all in my prayers. Thank you Focus on the Family.  Alice

Heidi More than 1 year ago

Awesome!  Can't wait to hear the interview with President Bush!!!

Cheryl R. More than 1 year ago

Hi Jim,

Thanks for opening the window to your family's world!   My husband and I have two boys also, and we can imagine them wanting to go swimming too.  They'll remember that special day forever.  And I'm glad you have the photo.  It's wonderful!

Great job sharing about your childhood on Focus on the Family today!  You inspire me to live it out too.  You show it doesn't matter where you've come from.  It only matters where you're going.

Keep up the good work!Cheryl