President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush reflected on the life and legacy of Barbara Bush, the fiercely devoted former first lady best known for her candor who died on Tuesday at age 92, calling it the “end of a beautiful life.”
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“She truly believes there’s an afterlife, that she’ll be wonderfully received in the arms of a loving god,” Bush told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo during an interview on Wednesday. “And therefore did not fear death. And as a result of her soul being comforted on the deathbed, my soul is comforted.”
Family spokesman Jim McGrath confirmed the death in a statement. The cause wasn't immediately known.
The wife of 41st President George H. W. Bush, and the mother of 43rd President George W. Bush, Bush was dedicated to her family, but also outspoken in advocating for causes of her choosing, like universal literacy. Laura Bush, who said she learned how to be a first lady from watching Barbara Bush, eventually went on to champion the same trademark interests as her mother-in-law.
“She was funny, fierce. She said her mind,” Laura Bush said. “She was a great role model for me, for sure. I learned how to be a first lady.”
The feisty, outspoken first lady dodged public controversy by maintaining that governing the country was her husband’s job, viewing herself as a private citizen who needed to help combat social ills in the country.
''I don't fool around in the government,'' she said. ''I leave that to George. I really work in the private sector encouraging people to go out, give time and give money.'
But Bush -- a warm and funny woman “till you got out of line,” her son said -- had another side to her perhaps unseen by the public eye, often teasing or debating with her sons.
“I went over to see her a week ago Saturday,” George W. Bush said. “She and I were needling each other, and she turned to the doctor and said, ‘You want to know why George W. is the way he is?’ And the doctor looked somewhat surprised. She said ‘Because I drank and smoke when I was pregnant with him.’ She’s funny.”