Meet the Press   |  April 28, 2013

3: Presidential legacies and how they unfold

A Meet the Press panel of experts examines the way in which history is written recognizing the accomplishments of a president.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back to this picture which is a rare sight in dallas on wednesday and a wonderful celebration of the american presidency and bill clinton had this great line, mike, where he said this is part of the eternal effort to rewrite presidential history which is, you know, the great truth in all of these library openings.

>> history is some what written in pencil. they once asked, the great communist lead, what he thought of the revolution. too early to tell. i take that view in this stuff. there is a lot of smug kind of second-guessing, you know, revisionism, and we don't yet know yet. what i'll say about president bush , everything in the world changed in a day. the country was threatened a way it had never been before. you can find a million little mistakes but the big decisions were right.

>> karen , if you can ever get over iraq it in the public's mind, how does he do it?

>> history has a way of right sizing things. the short term politics tends to magnify controversy and minimize accomplishments. higher standards in our schools, millions of lives saved in africa. i would have added prescription drug coverage for senior citizens that both parties trade to get done. tax relief for every american that they're still feeling today and i think by the huge accomplishment which was recognizing as president obama praised his strength and resolve in the aftermath of 9/11 recognizing the gravity of the threat and making the tough decisions to help our nation confront it.

>> senator, how do you see it?

>> well, i didn't agree with his decision to go into iraq. i think some of the fiscal decisions are clearly still haunting us today with the debt. but i will say working on this immigration bill back then i overlapped with president bush for two years, he put together that coalition that will succeed now and it was very, very important. he was the ahead of his time. secondly when that 35w bridge collapsed in minneapolis six blocks are from my house in the middle of a river in the middle of a summer day, he was there days later. made sure it got funded. we worked with him and that bridge got 0 built within a year and you don't forget that.

>> chuck, the former chief of staff told me in an interview this week he took on republicans saying what the senator just said, those people who believe there was fiscal insanity during the bush years are wrong about that and republicans ought to to start supporting it because you see a fiscal austerity and fiscal balance was not the priority after 9/11.

>> it's funny in talking with some bush officials during the run up to the library, they were briefing us, that seems to be the issue that sort of got under the skin of some of you guys, karen . it's the issue of the fiscal on republican attack here.

>> right.

>> on this front and these presidential libraries . the first draft of obit wears, it must be weird being president and everyone is wondering what are you going to say in it's the same type of feeling. weird living eulogies. but you bring up the prescription drug , the obama administration is looking at the prescription drug rollout which, by the way, all the runup was, oh, my god, you can't handle this. this is going to be chaotic to model the health carrollout.

>> enormously popular and coming in 35% under the projected cost.

>> and before it was done, people it -- before you started doing it, are there was all this concern. do they know what they're doing? is this going to work? and seniors will be up in arms about it. so they're actually using the prescription drug --

>> the difference is we injected private sector competition and choice.

>> no more. i have two minutes left and i have to get to 2016 politics. yeah, right. barbara bush , the shot heard round the world about her son from the "today" show. watch.

>> mrs. bush, would you like to see your son, jeb , run?

>> he's by far the best qualified man but, no. i really don't. i think it's a great country. there are a lot of great families and it's not just four families or 0 whatever. there's other people out there that are very qualified, and we've had enough bushes.

>> sounded like jesse jackson , stay out the bushes. karen , what did that mean? you don't have to protect jeb .

>> i think the instinct of a mom to protect yet another son from the spears of the political process. i think that's exactly what it was. jeb bush has big shoulders and if he decides to run, he would be a great candidate.

>> that's what we call new england encouragement. i tell you this, i don't know what jeb will do. i work for him by disclosure. if he does decide to run, one day he will be president.

>> when governor bush was running, she once predicted that he couldn't beat ann richards . we all know how that turned out.

>> i think part of the challenge for jeb bush he would be formidable in the republican primary but there is a risk that the republican primary has moved beyond him, has moved so far to the right that he wouldn't be able to win that.

>> he himself said that. but jeb bush said this in 2012 , i thought i was a conservative, and look at what's going on here.

>> also hillary clinton .

>> that's right. she was channelling the whole -- and there is going to be a part of the country that says, wait a minute, what? don't we have new people?

>> it's going to be hillary versus new. and jeb can move that primary which is the best reason for him