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George W. Bush Hopes New Library Will Enhance Presidential Legacy George W. Bush Hopes New Library Will Enhance Presidential Legacy

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Politics

George W. Bush Hopes New Library Will Enhance Presidential Legacy

The signature exhibit features a two-ton twisted piece of steel from the World Trade Center.

Former President George H. W. Bush is expected to attend the dedication of his son's presidential library in Dallas next month. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

March 28, 2013

All four living members of the most exclusive men’s club in America will join George W. Bush to dedicate his $500 million presidential library next month in Dallas, but there may be a major no-show — the former president's daughter, Jenna Bush.

The 31-year-old is scheduled to deliver George and Laura Bush’s first grandchild around the same time her dad’s library and institute is dedicated April 25, so doctors want her to stay put in New York rather than travel to the campus of Southern Methodist University for the festivities.

Some friends of George and Laura chuckle that they may be even more agog about Jenna’s and husband Henry Hager’s impending blessed event than the library’s unveiling.

“Over the moon doesn’t begin to describe how excited Laura is,” an old friend told National Journal. “She’s crazy with anticipation. He’s pretty excited, too, but he’s trying to be a little cooler about it. And who could blame them?”

 

The closely-knit Bush clan is basking in a sentimental April trifecta: the grandchild-to-be; the library dedication, expected to attract more than 15,000 onlookers; and the rebound of 88-year-old patriarch George H.W. Bush, who nearly died a few days after Christmas but by all accounts has dramatically rebounded from a lung infection.

“41 is indeed going!" his chief of staff Jean Becker told National Journal. “He gets stronger every single day. He truly is amazing.” He’s begun receiving a few visitors again and recently showed up at an event at his library on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station.

The elder Bush and his son — 41 and 43, in the family parlance — will be joined by President Obama and former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton at the dedication of the library and its adjoining policy institute. Bush partisans believe the institute will be the intellectual engine that in time rehabilitates the 43rd president’s image.

“George is happy as he can be,” another Dallas acquaintance describes George W. Bush. “He’s convinced his achievement in keeping the country safe after 9/11 will get the attention it deserves as the years roll on.”    

That’s probably why it’s no coincidence that the library’s signature exhibit from Bush’s eight years as president is a 17-foot, two-ton twisted piece of steel from the World Trade Center. The mangled, blistered remnant from that fateful day is known as “impact steel” — experts have determined that it was actually struck by one of the jumbo jetliners on 9/11.

The hallowed relic has been anchored vertically in the main exhibit hall and promises to be the most powerful and popular of all the library’s artifacts. Some staffers and VIP visitors are said to have been moved to tears after seeing it.

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