And shortly after Jeb Bush was elected to his second term as Florida governor in 2002, he was visited by Uruguayan President Jorge Batlle Ibáñez, who brought presents for both the governor, then-President George W. Bush and their father, former President George H.W. Bush.
New documents released from the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on Monday include a December 2002 letter that Ibáñez wrote to George Bush
, explaining the "boleadoras" -- or hunting lasso -- that he brought for the President.
The lasso, made of three stone balls tied together with a horse hide, was used by Uruguayan natives to hunt "nandues," or South American ostriches, the Uruguayan president wrote. They were also used to catch "galloping horses by throwing them at their hind legs."
They were worn around the waist as an ornament in special occasions, he continued, but, "Nevertheless, they can be useful still!"
There were no details of the gifts brought for Jeb Bush or Bush 41.
The records also revealed that in the draft process, George W. Bush's original thank you letter to Ibáñez carried a formal tone, thanking the president for the lasso that was "passed along to me by Governor Jeb Bush."
But handwritten edits show that "Governor" was crossed out and replaced by "my brother," so that the letter read more casually: "... passed along by my brother, Jeb."
The draft process shows not only the careful editing that takes place in official letters but also the rare reality that the White House had multiple ways of referring to the governor of one of the largest states. Jeb Bush was governor of Florida for six of the eight years that his brother served as president.
The batch of documents, released in response to public records requests, also shows a letter that President George W. Bush wrote to Emma E. Booker elementary school in Sarasota County, Florida, acknowledging that he had to leave early from a school visit after learning of the 9/11 attacks.
"Thank you for inviting me to come to your school last week. I enjoyed my visit and really appreciate your understanding why it was important for me to leave early," said the letter, dated six days after the attacks. "Mrs. Bush and I hope you have a great school year and that you already remember to study hard and read a lot!"
While the letter makes no mention of Jeb, who was governor of Florida at the time, the letter marks an interesting relic that highlights how George W. Bush was in his brother's state at the time of the attacks.
Furthermore, the files include a letter that Jeb Bush wrote to his brother along with then Colorado Gov. Bill Owens and then Connecticut Gov. John Rowland on January 16, 2003, with suggestions on how the federal government should reform Medicaid.
"We must proceed as if lives depend on our very action. They surely do," the governors concluded at the end of the letter.
The letter, which was reported at the time
, came just months before the administration would release a proposal for reform that would give states more flexibility in administrating Medicaid.
Also of note in the documents, Jeb Bush emailed then-chief of staff Andy Card on August 24, 2004, thanking his brother's administration and FEMA for acting quickly after his state was struck by a hurricane.
"Please tell the President and your team how grateful we are. The response has been awesome from FEMA and other departments," Jeb wrote, less than 10 minutes after one of his state employees sent him an email showing how fast the state was able to send federal funds.
All told, Florida would suffer four major hurricanes in the second half of 2004.