George H.W. Bush: Post Archives Reveal a Handyman of Politics

Before his term as president, George Herbert Walker Bush took on several governmental roles to build trust with his fellow conservatives.

George H.W. Bush jogging in gym clothes

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George H.W. Bush will be remembered most for his Presidential term, but the New England-born aristocrat served in many capacities of federal government before becoming the chief executive.

In “The Flowering of George Bush,” the Post covered his rise in a Republican party that was previously reluctant to trust the statesman for his perceived liberal tendencies. He had served as a House representative, U.N. Ambassador, Chief of the U.S. Office in Peking, Republican National Committee Chairman, Director of the C.I.A., and Vice President. “‘All his jobs seemed like stinkers at the time,’ said Chase Untermeyer, Bush’s young executive assistant and a fellow Texan. ‘But he took full advantage of them, and by making the best of it, benefited politically. He thinks being vice president is an excellent job, and he has ‘Bushian’ enthusiasm for it.’”

During the attempted assassination of Reagan in March 1981, Bush demonstrated his loyalty to the President as well as his willingness to rise to whatever the occasion called of him: “Everything went smoothly because the President had laid the groundwork,” Bush said. “It was a judgmental call for me on some occasions. I didn’t want to make it appear as though I was making presidential decisions, although I did have a substantial role.” Bush’s Vice Presidency continued in a larger scope, similarly to Walter Mondale’s before him.

Years later, in 1988, Bush’s health habits were the focus of a feature, “Our Healthy Veep & Family,” by Saturday Evening Post Publisher Cory SerVaas, An avid golfer, runner, baseballer, and tennis player, the Veep was about to win his election when this magazine detailed the exercise habits of Bush Sr. Despite his busy campaign schedule, exercise was non-negotiable for the future President: “The exercise period is inviolate. If it happens when his plane first lands for an important engagement, so be it.” The article also featured a candid interview with his wife, Barbara. Mrs. Bush extoled her husband’s virtues and shared why she wanted to marry him: “I figured anyone who was as nice to his little sister as this young man was would surely make a fine father for our future children.”

First page of the article, "The Flowering of George Bush"
Read “The Flowering of George Bush” from the September 1981 issue of the Post.


First page of the article, "Our Healthy Veep and Family"
Read “Our Healthy Veep and Family” from the October 1988 isuee of the Post.

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