Video: Bush's many inaugural roles

By Brian Williams Anchor & “Nightly News” managing editor
NBC News
updated 1/20/2005 7:46:42 PM ET 2005-01-21T00:46:42

When George W. Bush was sworn in as president Thursday, it was his second inauguration. But that’s not the only reason he may have felt like he had been there before.

On Inauguration Day 1981 — when Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush came to power — there was another future president on the stand that day: 34-year-old George W. Bush, with a ringside seat on the day’s proceedings.

The fact is George W. Bush has seen the presidency up close since he was a boy.

His grandfather, Prescott Bush, who was sworn in to the Senate the same day as John F. Kennedy, was close to Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. Nixon later became a mentor to George H.W. Bush.

And throughout the senior Bush’s political career, George W. was close at hand.

At the 1972 Republican convention, other VIPs brought their wives. But United Nations Ambassador George Bush brought his son, who had a chance to meet future Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

At the 1980 convention, Bush introduced his son to Ronald Reagan.

In 1988, George W. was there when his father ran for president, playing a key role behind the scenes. He was there at the convention, celebrating as his dad captured the nomination. And he was there when his father became president of the United States.

On that inauguration day, George W. Bush was asked about his own political future.

“I haven’t really figured it out yet,” he said on Jan. 20, 1989. “I’m back in Texas, live in Dallas, trying to make a living. No silver foots for this Bush. And I haven’t made up my mind.”

Twelve years later to the day, George W. Bush, presidential understudy, was back at the White House — but this time to move in.

Now, of course, he has done what Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan did but his father could not: get re-elected. Thursday, he once again took his place on the inaugural stage.

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