Sarasota News Leader

01/17/2014

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INSIGHTS INTO THE REAL '43' President Bush speaks to the news media in the Oval Office in 2001. Image via Flickr FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH REVEALS WARM ASPECTS OF HIS PERSONALITY TO A SARASOTA AUDIENCE AND REFLECTS ON LIFE AS THE MOST POWERFUL ELECTED LEADER IN THE WORLD By Vicki Chatley Contributing Writer We thought we knew him, but did we? Each of us likely formed our own opinion of George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, during his years in office. Since then the former president has maintained a low profile. Thus his scheduled appearance as the first speaker in the Ringling College Library Association's Town Hall 2014 lecture series was especially tantalizing. Would we see the same George Bush who faced the challenges of 9/11 and financial crises, or would we see an altered George Bush now that he is no longer the leader of the most powerful nation in the world? On Tuesday, Jan. 14, I was part of the audience in the sold-out Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota for Bush's speech. Note-taking, along with photography and recording, were prohibited, so there will be no quotes — just the impressions of this writer. In the years since leaving the White House Bush appears to have become an elder statesman offering insights, as only an ex-president can, into the intimate workings of government and foreign relations. He also seems to have a strong interest in history, even choosing a desk with an historical background for his personal use in the Oval Office. He said it

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