Former President George W. Bush talked about his values, his struggles with alcohol, and his West Texas roots at the Global Business Travel Association convention on Tuesday, but he concentrated mainly on telling stories from his presidency — and hawking his memoirs, “Decision Points.”
Bush was the day’s keynote speaker for more than 6,500 business travel professionals — ranging from company travel managers to representatives from airlines, hotels, and travel technology firms — gathered for a three-day conference at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.
Bush opened by responding to a dig taken at him by Monday’s keynote speaker, comedian Seth Meyers, who said Bush was speaking because he thought GBTA stood for “George Bush is Totally Awesome.”
Bush, dressed in a suit and light blue tie, countered with: “So GBTA. George Bush Travels A lot.”
Bush didn’t make any references to the presidential race or presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney during his half-hour speech and half-hour interview with the travel association executive director. “I don’t think it’s good for a former president to be out there undermining the current president,” he said.
Bush said he didn’t miss much about the presidency.
“I mean, it’s a pain in the [rear] to have to stop at a red light,” he said. “Airplanes are a little tougher these days. But I do miss saluting men and women who have volunteered in the face of danger. I miss being commander in chief.”
And readjusting to civilian life has had its challenges, he said, relaying a story about Laura Bush asking him to do the dishes and referring to it as his “new domestic policy agenda.”
Asked about his legacy, Bush said he wanted to be remembered as a guy who lived life to the fullest and understood the importance of serving mankind. “The legacy is over,” he said. “I did what I did.”
Members of the press who went into the official press area were asked to leave three minutes after Bush began his speech, but those who went in through the main entrance were not prevented from staying.