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George, Barbara Bush on 'LKL': We're no political dynasty

By the CNN Wire Staff
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George H.W. Bush: There's no rivalry
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Bush 41" says son Jeb won't run for president in 2012
  • Barbara Bush says Sarah Palin should stay in Alaska
  • Both Bushes praise son George's presidency

(CNN) -- Jeb Bush would make a good president, but the former Florida governor has no intention of running for the Oval Office in 2012, according to his father, former President George H.W. Bush.

The elder Bush made the comment in an exclusive interview to be broadcast Monday night on "Larry King Live."

In the hour-long interview, Bush and his wife, Barbara, discussed their lives and their relationship with another son -- former President George W. Bush. While the Bushes spoke with obvious pride of their family and accomplishments, they rejected talk of a Bush political dynasty, even when reminded that they are one of only two father-son presidential families in American history.

Asked if Jeb was thinking about running for president in 2012, his father responded: "I don't think he is. In fact, I know he's not."

"But would he be a good president? Absolutely," Bush continued. "And don't just take that from a father's prejudice view. I mean, he's a good man, he performed as governor, he's well-spoken, he's not an extremist, he's not a wild guy that attributes bad motives to those that disagree with him, and he's good. And people that know him and hear him say the same thing. I think the bottom line is, he just doesn't want to try, doesn't want to do it."

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Both Bushes mentioned former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as a possible Republican contender for a likely race against incumbent President Barack Obama two years from now.

"He's a reasonable guy," George Bush said of Romney. "He's a conservative fellow, that's good. But no, I think he'd be a good president, a very good president."

Barbara Bush also mentioned Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour as a possible GOP contender, and made clear that she doesn't favor former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in the running.

"I sat next to her once. Thought she was beautiful," Barbara Bush said of Palin. "And she's very happy in Alaska, and I hope she'll stay there."

Both Bushes agreed that a woman president is a certainty for the United States, with George Bush saying: "That's what they call a 'gimme' in golf, I think. It's going to happen. I don't know who, or when, but I would say fairly soon."

The former president seemed uncertain when asked about the conservative Tea Party movement, which has taken the Republican establishment by storm.

"I don't know what it really is," Bush said. "Some of the ideas make a lot of sense. But ... I noticed in the paper today they were talking about what the Tea Party would do to get the Republicans in Congress to do something. Well, these people have all been elected whether they're Tea Partiers or not. So I'm confused by it, frankly."

I'm confused by it, frankly.
--Former President George H.W. Bush on the Tea Party movement
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But, he quickly added, "I think it's all right."

The former first couple also talked about George W. Bush's new book, "Decision Points," which details some of the crucial moments of his eight years as president.

"I loved the book," Barbara Bush said. "I thought it was very frank. He's not trying to write a biography, he's trying to tell how it is in the White House."

Her husband agreed that it was "good" and "from the heart."

"I think he's done a good job selling the darn thing, he's been out there all over the place," the former president said.

History will be kind to his son "because he's a man of principle, did what he said he was going to do, kept our country safe in the first time we were really attacked" on September 11, 2001, Bush said.

In particular, he praised one of his son's most controversial decisions -- to invade Iraq in 2003 to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

"Saddam Hussein is no longer around, and that in itself makes it the right thing," Bush said. "Now, do you worry about the large loss? Of course, you do. But I think he made a courageous decision, proper decision, and we forget that Congress and many people in the press wanted to bring down Saddam Hussein, and George stepped up to the plate and did something about it."

At the same time, the former president acknowledged that the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a main reason for the invasion, "was a great disappointment" to his son.

"But that doesn't mean that the mission itself isn't worthwhile," Bush said.

The Bushes also discussed rarely mentioned events in their lives -- the loss of a daughter to leukemia as well as a later miscarriage -- which are included in George W. Bush's new book.

"He wanted to point out -- barely a child -- but he wanted to point out how close we were," Barbara Bush said of her son, who asked her permission to include the miscarriage story in his book. "And I must say, he was the cutest guy you ever saw. Just 14, no socks on, drove me to the hospital like a grown-up man and paced the hall and some woman said, 'Don't worry, your wife will be fine.' "

While the Bushes have undergone some physical problems in recent years -- Barbara Bush revealed in the interview she has recovered from heart troubles and a perforated ulcer, while George Bush said he has leg problems -- the former president made clear that he intends to skydive once more on his 90th birthday in 2014.

"It's all set," he said. "We go with the Golden Knights and they've committed to it."

CNN's Gabriella Schwarz, Alan Silverleib and Tom Cohen contributed to this story.

Watch Larry King Live Monday through Sunday 9pm ET. For the latest from Larry King Live click here.

 
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