Birthdays

Today – December 12 – is a big day for birthdays! This is especially true for the entertainment industry, and for those who are, let’s say, among the older among us.

Born on December 12, 1893 – Edward G. Robinson

Born on December 12, 1900 – Sammy Davis

Born on December 12, 1915 – Frank Sinatra

That’s not a bad roster of births. But there’s another big day coming, just over a week away. We call it Christmas. On that day, December 25, we celebrate the birth of our Lord. And Jesus has something very different from the men mentioned above. Let me explain.

Died in 1973 – Edward G. Robinson

Died in 1988 – Sammy Davis

Died in 1998 – Frank Sinatra

See the difference? While Robinson, Davis, and Sinatra are no longer with us, Christ is. The one who was raised on the third day is with us today. So as you play your old Frank Sinatra Christmas album, rejoice that, while ol’ blue eyes is no longer with us, the One he is singing about is.

The Rushmore Report – Think There Are No Dangerous Criminals Among Illegals? Guess Again!

I may gag if I hear it again. Democratic pundit Juan Williams, whom I really admire, is the latest example of a mind-numbing defense of illegal immigration. He recently said, on Fox News, “Undocumented immigrants commit crimes at a lesser rate than native born citizens.” This is an unbelievable statement for two reason – ANY crime is too much, and it’s simply not true.

Let’s start with the first argument. I don’t know why conservative on-air commentators virtually never point this out. Democrats essentially say that as long as “undocumented immigrants” (illegals) commit crimes less often than the rest of us, their crimes cannot be used to argue against the unmitigated flow of illegals. So, if it could be documented that – this is only a mathematical example – 5 percent of American citizens commit crimes, while “only” 4 percent of illegal immigrants do, the illegals must be welcomed in.

So Williams’ defense of the presence of illegals (who have already committed crimes by crossing the border in the first place) is that as long as they kill and rob fewer neighbors than other subsets of the population, we must look the other way. Their crimes are to be tolerated.

But the data actually does not stand in support of this argument, anyway. Let me give you an example.

Last week, the Associated Press reported that ICE arrested 58 illegal aliens during a five-day sweep of Massachusetts, Rhode island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, from November 30 to December 4. Dozens of these individuals either were convicted or had pending charges against them.

“Thirty of the people have prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, and 33 have criminal charges pending. Nine had been previously deported, and 15 had been previously released by local authorities despite the agency’s request to hold them,” the AP reported.

Further, two of the illegal aliens arrested were wanted for murders in Brazil. One of these men in question was found in Lynn, Mass., while the other was found in Putnam, Conn.

According to ICE’s Boston Field Office, “Ultimately, efforts by local politicians have shielded removable criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and created another magnet for more illegal immigration, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people it purports to protect.”

Similar raids throughout New England this year have yielded drug dealers and violent criminals using fake identities to conduct massive welfare fraud. As reported by Townhall in July, “The Department of Justice announced charges against 25 individuals who committed fraud using Puerto Rican identities in an effort to gain government benefits and in some cases even vote. Twenty-two of the 25 charged were illegal aliens, many with records of drug dealing, violent crimes, and some previously deported.”

The AP concluded that it is unclear how many of these illegal aliens arrested will actually be deported.

So what are we saying? Two things . . .

First, ANY crime is too much.

Second, life-threatening criminal behavior by undocumented immigrants is much worse than is being reported.

The Rushmore Report – Tick Tock: Senate Races Clock to Pass Key Measures

With just weeks left until the end of the year, a bipartisan group of senators is working hard to get a major criminal justice reform bill passed before the clock runs out. The goal of The First Step Act is to help prisoners return to society and to address excessive prison sentences. “We have the opportunity in front of us,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

Specifically, Grassley said, “We have the opportunity right now where the president’s for something and we have broad bipartisan support in the Senate for it.”

The bill has already passed the House, and Grassley believes more than 75 senators would vote ‘yes’ if it makes it to the Senate floor. He worries that if it’s delayed until next year, it’s over.

“If we don’t do this bill and Democrats come in and control the House, we’re not going to get the broad bipartisan support that we have for this now,” he warned.

In addition to prison reform, lawmakers are also wrestling with President Donald Trump’s demand of $25 billion for a border wall. Legislators must make a decision by Friday to prevent a partial government shutdown.

Grassley said he’s confident Congress can avoid that scenario simply because it costs a lot of money to open and close the government.

“I don’t think with the fiscal situation in our country we should do anything as stupid as shutting down the government,” the incoming Senate finance chairman told CBN News.

Meanwhile, a few senators, like James Lankford (R-OK), are working to permanently remove the threat of these shutdowns.

“When you’re constantly fighting about a government shutdown, then you’re always distracted over what the real issues are,” he said.

Lankford introduced a bill that would require the previous year’s funding to kick in until Congress passes a budget, and only penalizes lawmakers, not the American people, for missing their deadline.

“Let’s put the pressure where the pressure needs to be,” he said.

Congress has until December 21 to reach a spending deal to fund the rest of the government.

About the Author

Abigail Robertson serves as the congressional correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network.

The Rushmore Report – The Three Times I Met President Bush

Like much of America, I was glued to the television for much of last week. President George H.W. Bush was a special man. I always identified with him on a more personal level than most of my generation. Part of that was because he was born exactly one day before my dad – June 12, 1924. And like my dad, he served in the Pacific Theater of the Second World War. But there’s more. I will never forget the three times I met the former president.

Let me say up front, I didn’t actually “meet” the president, in the way some consider “meet.” Though we were in the same rooms (very large rooms), we never actually talked. I never shook his hand. In fact, I was never within 20 feet of the man.

But to observe George Bush up close was to meet him. He was everyone’s father, grandfather, or friend. Maybe that’s why I wept openly so many times last week – when George W. Bush gave the eulogy, when the train made its way from Houston to College Station, and when the Aggie Band played. Through all the speeches, images, and pageantry, Bush’s faith and patriotism were on full display.

But let’s get back to the three times I “met” George Bush.

1. On the tennis court

The year was 1982. I was invited by a close friend to play tennis at the Houstonian Club – a very exclusive country club. When Gary and I approached our court, we were held back for a few minutes. The two men playing on our court played beyond their scheduled time. So we waited – and watched. Who were these two players? One was Texas Democratic Senator Lloyd Bentsen. The other player? Vice President George H.W. Bush. And Bush had a pretty good game. But more impressively, he was playing with one of the leading Democrats in Washington. Bush had made friends with the “enemy.” For Bush, life was more than politics. He built relationships across the political aisle. That said a lot for the character of this very good man.

2. The vice presidential search

I was one of about 25 pastors in the Houston area who were summoned to meet with Vice President Bush. The year was 1988. He was running for president, and at the time of this meeting, his nomination was in the bag. Now, he was contemplating his vice presidential choice. To that end, he instructed his staff to assemble clergy in small groups around the country. He wanted to know who we thought he should name as his running mate. Mr. Bush was unable to attend this meeting. But his faith and priorities were there for all to see.

3. The Astros game

This is my favorite Bush story. The year was about 2012. Bush would have been about 88 at that time. Beth and I were given third-row seats to an Astros game. Our seats were one section removed from George and Barbara Bush. They were 20 feet and two secret servicemen away. But they were close enough for me to observe their every move with my eagle eye. And here’s what happened.

George Bush ordered a bag of candy from the employee assigned to them. He placed the candy on the ledge in front of him, just behind the backstop. Then a fan to his left called his name. He turned to wave. And when he turned back, his candy was missing. We saw what he missed. Barbara hid his candy. He looked around in exasperation. Finally, he turned back to his left to order another bag of candy. And when he turned to the right once again – poof! – his candy reappeared. George figured out what the rest of us sitting nearby had seen. Barbara took, then returned, his candy.

When he figured out what Barbara had done, they shared a laugh and a kiss. What’s my point? The man was human. He didn’t seem to care what anyone else thought. Being “presidential” mattered less to George Bush than supporting his beloved Astros with his best friend by his side.

Conclusion

No, I didn’t actually meet President Bush. I have met two presidents in my lifetime – both very briefly. And I love them both – Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. But I feel like George H.W. Bush was the only president I ever knew.

Our loss is heaven’s gain. As President Bush’s minister said at the service in Washington, heaven just became a kinder, gentler place.

The Rushmore Report – Odds on the Top 54 Presidential Contenders for 2020 (You’ll Love #54!)

It’s never too soon to predict the next presidential election. Just 698 days from the 2020 election, Kris Abbot has given us the latest “Sportsbook” odds on the dozens of potential candidates actually winning the race. For the sake of brevity, I am “only” going to list the top 54 contenders, in order. Why stop at 54? Because you will love who the odds makers have slotted into the 54th position. And before some of these names strike you as preposterous, remember that this time four years ago, a certain New York real estate tycoon may have been outside the top 54.

Before I give you the list, let’s note a few themes of the early polls.

First, while President Trump remains the individual favorite to win the race, the Democratic Party is favored to win the race. What does that mean? It means that while Trump has the highest individual chance of election, there is a greater chance that whoever emerges from the Democratic primaries will unseat him.

Second, Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX) and Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) are co-favorites among Democrats, according to the current betting odds. O’Rourke helped inspire a shifting electorate in Texas that saw record numbers come out for the midterm elections, but at the end of the day, Ted Cruz won by a slim 51-48 percent margin. O’Rourke’s popularity, though, has thrust him into the national spotlight as he and Harris are now the two front-runners to represent the Democratic Party in 2020.

Third, celebrity candidate groundswell has slowed. With Trump emerging from the world of real estate and reality TV, there was early support for potential candidates such as Oprah Winfrey, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, or Mark Cuban. While they are still remote possibilities, the bet is that the pendulum has swung toward more traditional candidates going forward.

Let’s get started with the top ten. These are the most likely winners of the 2020 presidential election, in order from best odds to least. Again, you will love #54!

1. Donald Trump
2. Beto O’Rourke
3. Kamala Harris
4. Bernie Sanders
5. Joe Biden
6. Elizabeth Warren
7. Mike Pence
8. Cory Booker
9. Kirsten Gillibrand
10. Oprah Winfrey

Here are your next ten . . .

11. Michelle Obama
12. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
13. Michael Avenatti
14. Nikki Haley
15. Andrew Cuomo
16. John Kasich
17. Mitch Landrieu
18. Paul Ryan
19. Julian Castro
20. Chris Murphy

Now, we could continue this list all the way to #54, but you are probably already numb from reading the first 20. So I’ll just give you the highlights of 21-53. (You will love #54!)

28. Marco Rubio
29. Mitt Romney
30. Ben Shapiro
33. Joe Kennedy III
34. Hillary Clinton
35. Mark Zuckerberg
36. Mark Cuban
39. George Clooney
44. Jeb Bush
47. Leonardo DiCaprio
48. Bill Gates
49. Ivanka Trump
50. Kanye West

And now we unveil the man of the hour. He’s a Republican who has never held office. He graduated from the University of Michigan, and then went on to play a little football in the NFL. And he would probably make a better president than the vast majority of those ahead of him on this list.

Will he make it to the Oval Office? Probably not. But we can hope. Let’s start a national movement, because this guy – more than any other candidate – is a true Patriot. A New England Patriot.

54. TOM BRADY

A Day of Infamy

On this day in history – December 7, 1941 – the Japanese Navy Air Service launched a surprise attack against the American Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The day, coined as a “day of infamy” by President Franklin Roosevelt, thrust the United States into the Pacific Theater of the second World War.

American losses were massive: 2,403 deaths, 1,178 wounded, 188 aircraft destroyed, 159 aircraft damaged, and 19 ships destroyed.

There were numerous historical precedents for unannounced military action by Japan, but the lack of any formal warning, particularly while negotiations of military action in Asia were still ongoing, led our President to his famous “infamy” characterization of the date. Because the attack commenced without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, the attack on Pearl Harbor was later judged in the Tokyo Trials to be a war crime.

“A date which will live in infamy.” There have been other dates like that – in each of our lives. For me those dates include December 15, 1979 (dad’s death) and September 28, 2008 (mom’s death). On a national level, those dates include November 22, 1963 (death of John Kennedy) and September 11, 2001.

We attach significance to specific dates. These dates serve as reminders of past crises and events. They remind us of things we need to avoid. They teach us lessons of the past that guide us into a better future.

So on this anniversary of the Second World War – 76 years ago – may we all resolve to be a better nation and a better people. This “date of infamy” only defeats us if we fail to learn its lessons.

The Rushmore Report – George Bush: The Day that Changed Everything

George Herbert Walker Bush’s life is marked by many significant dates. His wedding date and presidential inauguration stand out as obvious examples. You can toss in the beginning and end of the Gulf War, his son’s presidential election, the birth of his five children, the death of his beloved wife. But the future president’s life was defined by one day more than any other – during his senior year in high school.

The year was 1941. The date was December 7. The 17-year-old boy was walking the campus of Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., when he heard the news. The U.S. military base in Hawaii had been bombed. This moment, according to Bush biographer Jon Meacham, changed everything for George Bush. His response to the news? He wanted to serve his country – immediately.

Bush would recall for Meacham’s book, “After Pearl Harbor, it was a different world altogether. It was a red, white, and blue thing. Your country’s attacked, you’d better get in there and try to help.”

Bush made the decision quickly. He wanted to become a pilot as fast as he could. He briefly considered enlisting in the Royal Air Force in Canada because, he told Meachem, he “could get through much faster.” But he was lured by naval service, inspired by the grandeur of the Navy’s power and its reputation for camaraderie and purpose. A combination of flying and the Navy fit just right.

That winter, Bush would go home for his last Christmas out of uniform. And at a Christmas dance, he would fix his eyes on Barbara Pierce, age 16. She would, of course, become his wife.

On June 12, 1942, Bush turned 18 and graduated from Andover. After commencement, he left for Boston to be sworn into the Navy. Nearly one year later, Bush became an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve and earned his wings as a naval aviator. Meacham speculates that Bush was likely the Navy’s youngest flying officer, just days shy of his 19th birthday. His assignment was to fly torpedo bombers off aircraft carriers in the Pacific theater.

At dawn on September 2, 1944, Bush was scheduled to fly in a strike over Chichi Jima, a Japanese island about 500 miles from the mainland. The island was a stronghold for communications and supplies for the Japanese, and it was heavily guarded. Bush’s precise target was a radio tower.

About 7:15 that morning, Bush took off through clear skies along with William G. White, known as “Ted,” and John “Del” Delaney. Just over an hour later, their plane was hit. Meacham wrote that smoke filled the cockpit and flames swallowed the wings. Bush radioed White and Delaney to put on their parachutes.

“My God,” Bush thought to himself, “this thing is going to blow up.”

Choking on the smoke, Bush continued to steer the plane, dropping bombs and hitting the radio tower. He told White and Delaney to parachute out of the plane, then climbed through his open hatch to maneuver out of the cockpit.

“The wind struck him full force, essentially lifting him out the rest of the way and propelling him backward into the tail,” Meacham wrote. “He gashed his head and bruised his eye on the tail as he flew through the sky and the burning plane hurtled toward the sea.”

As Bush floated in the sky tethered to a parachute, he saw his plane crash into the water and disappear below. Then he hit the waves and sand, and fought his way back to the surface, kicking off his shoes to lighten his load.

“His khaki flight suit was soaked and heavy, his head was bleeding, his eyes were burning from the cockpit smoke, and his mouth and throat were raw from the rush of salt water,” Meacham wrote.

Fifty feet away bobbed a life raft that Bush managed to inflate and flop onto. But the wind was carrying him toward Chichi Jima, so Bush began paddling in the opposite direction with his arms. Of the nine airmen who escaped their planes that day, according to a story in the British newspaper Telegraph, Bush was the only one who survived. But he didn’t think he would.

“For a while there I thought I was done,” Bush told Meacham.

Bush would later learn of horrific war crimes committed against American captives at Chichi Jima, including cannibalism. His eight comrades were tortured and then beheaded or stabbed to death, according to the Telegraph. The body parts of four American pilots were cooked and eaten by Japanese officers.

For his part, clinging to his raft, Bush was alone, vomiting over the side and slowly grasping the fact that White and Delaney were both gone. Hours passed. He cried and thought of home. Barbara would soon receive a letter from him saying “all is well,” but she had no way of knowing the truth. The letter was sent before Bush’s plane went down.

Bush, who would win the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism under fire, thought he was delirious when a submarine rose from the depths to rescue him.

“Welcome aboard, sir,” greeted a torpedoman second class.

“Happy to be aboard,” replied the future commander in chief.

It all started on December 7, 1941, “the day that lived in infamy.” It was the day that would change the course of America – and one 17-year-old high school senior who would someday be her President.

The Rushmore Report – The Faith of George Bush

The 41st President of the United States died Friday night at his home in Houston at the age of 94. George Herbert Walker Bush was a quiet man who lived a life of a quiet faith. He rarely spoke out about his faith, but to him it was real. It was a faith he embraced from childhood. Last year, historian Gary Scott Smith noted that, above all, he was for all his life a man of quiet but persistent faith:

Bush was raised by devout Episcopalian parents and remained affiliated with this denomination almost his entire life. His father Prescott, a Republican senator from Connecticut, and his mother Dorothy led family worship every morning, using readings from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer and A Diary of Private Prayer by Scottish Presbyterian theologian John Baillie. They strove to teach their children how the Bible applied to daily life. While worshiping for many years at Episcopal churches in Houston, Washington, and Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush’s theology and social policies have more in common with evangelicals than with many fellow Episcopalians.

While flying a combat mission for the Navy in September 1944, Bush’s plane was severely damaged on a bombing mission, forcing him to parachute into the Pacific Ocean south of Japan. The Japanese hunted him, but a U.S. submarine picked him up. Bush thanked God for saving his life and asked, “Why had I been spared and what did God have for me?”

Their three-year-old daughter Robin’s battle with and eventual death from leukemia in the early 1950s both tested and deepened Bush’s faith. He declared that “prayer had always been part” of his and his wife Barbara’s lives, but it became more fervent during this ordeal. “Our faith,” Bush testified, “truly sustained us.”

Bush saw God as active and all-powerful and the Bible as divinely inspired and authoritative. “One cannot be America’s President,” the Republican frequently asserted, without “the strength that your faith gives to you.” The Bible, which had helped shape America’s values and institutions, Bush attested, “has always been a great source of comfort to me.” He affirmed that Jesus was God’s divine Son and frequently referred to Christ as “our Savior.” Moreover, Bush peppered his speeches with biblical quotations, precepts, and stories to underscore his positions.

Bush’s cabinet meetings always began with prayer. The Bushes prayed together every night before going to sleep. “My husband,” Barbara declared, “prays and believes enormously.” During his presidency, Bush referred to prayer in 220 different speeches, proclamations, and remarks. In hundreds of letters Bush thanked citizens for praying for him and testified that he drew “great strength” from their prayers.

Consider the beginning of Bush’s first inaugural address, which bears the eloquent touch of Peggy Noonan — and reminds us of the kind of honest piety and simple grace that is now so rarely heard from our leaders:

We meet on democracy’s front porch. A good place to talk as neighbors and as friends. For this is a day when our nation is made whole, when our differences, for a moment, are suspended. And my first act as President is a prayer. I ask you to bow your heads.

Heavenly Father, we bow our heads and thank You for Your love. Accept our thanks for the peace that yields this day and the shared faith that makes its continuance likely. Make us strong to do Your work, willing to heed and hear Your will, and write on our hearts these words: “Use power to help people.” For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people. Help us remember, Lord. Amen.

He concluded with these words:

There is much to do. And tomorrow the work begins. And I do not mistrust the future. I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems are large, but our heart is larger. Our challenges are great, but our will is greater. And if our flaws are endless, God’s love is truly boundless.

Some see leadership as high drama and the sound of trumpets calling, and sometimes it is that. But I see history as a book with many pages, and each day we fill a page with acts of hopefulness and meaning. The new breeze blows, a page turns, the story unfolds. And so, today a chapter begins, a small and stately story of unity, diversity, and generosity — shared, and written, together.

May the Lord bless him and keep him.

From the Book of Common Prayer:

O Almighty God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, who by a voice from heaven didst proclaim, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord: Multiply, we beseech thee, to those who rest in Jesus the manifold blessings of thy love, that the good work which thou didst begin in them may be made perfect unto the day of Jesus Christ. And of thy mercy, O heavenly Father, grant that we, who now serve thee on earth, may at last, together with them, be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; for the sake of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord … 

About the Author

Deacon Greg Kandra is a Roman Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. He is a husband, deacon, journalist, writer, preacher, coffee addict, and frequent blogger with a national following.

The Rushmore Report – President Bush’s Five Greatest Accomplishments

While both his predecessor and his successor – Presidents Reagan and Clinton – have received more acclaim for their time in the White House than has President George Herbert Walker Bush, one can make the case that it was Bush whose presidency was the most successful. In fact, the case is pretty easy to make. Consider the five greatest accomplishments of his Administration – then you be the judge.

1. The fall of the Berlin Wall

No, this didn’t happen under President Reagan. After World War II, the major allied powers (France, Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union) divided both the nation of Germany and its capital city, Berlin, into four zones of occupation. In the late 1940s, France, Great Britain, and the United States unified their zones under a democratic government, known as West Germany. The Soviet Union refused to participate, and East Germany remained under communist control. Fast forward 40 years. President Reagan, seeking the democratization of Germany, famously stood on the border and scolded the Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev with those historic words – “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” But it was George Bush who actually finished the task. The Wall came down under his watch.

2. The collapse of the Soviet Union and end of the Cold War

Following World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union entered a lengthy time of great tension, which threatened the security of both nations. Beginning in 1947, the Cold War did not end until President Bush’s presidency. Under Ronald Reagan, the U.S. military build-up and financial stress applied to the U.S.S.R. began the long process that resulted in American dominance. But it was on December 3, 1989, under President Bush, that the Cold War officially ended, when Gorbachev met with Bush aboard a Soviet ship docked at Malta’s Marsaxlokk harbor. The summit and joint press conference paved the way for peace. Final documents securing the end of Soviet-American tensions would be signed within two years – under the leadership of President Bush.

3. The first Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm

Iraq invaded Kuwait, and President Bush responded. In a war that lasted just over six months (beginning August 1, 1990), Bush rallied an enormous coalition of 35 countries to expel the Iraqi forces. The U.S. stepped up to defend Saudi Arabia with Operation Desert Storm in early 1991. As a result of the War, sovereignty was restored to Kuwait, Saddam Hussein was defeated (but allowed to retain power in Iraq), sanctions were enacted against Iraq, and President Bush’s approval rating hit 93 percent – by far the highest level of any President in American history.

4. The American with Disabilities Act

Pushed by the Bush Administration, this 1990 law was a civil rights initiative which prohibits the discrimination of American workers on the basis of their disabilities. The law affords the same protections that were given by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But unlike the Civil Rights Act, the ADA also requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations.

5. The Clean Air Act

Though Republicans are traditionally criticized as anti-environment, it was President Bush who signed into law the Clean Air Act of 1990. This was the first, and remains the most comprehensive, environmental law ever passed by the U.S. Congress. Its regulations are enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Rushmore Report – Bush’s Letter to Bill Clinton the Day He Left Office

He was always a man of grace, even in moments of defeat. The 1992 presidential contest told us more about the man than his long string of success stories – as war hero, U.S. Representative, Ambassador to the United Nations, head of the Republican Party, Vice President, and then President of the United States. Perhaps the greatest insight to the mind and heart of George H.W. Bush can be found in a letter.

Though Bill Clinton and his surrogates were relentless and cruel in their attacks throughout the campaign, Bush was a man of forgiveness. And he always put his country ahead of his feelings. This was never put on display more clearly than in the content of this letter. It wasn’t just any letter. It was the hand-written letter that George Bush left behind, on the desk in the Oval Office, on his last day of office. It was addressed to his successor, President Clinton.

This is that letter, without further comment.

Dear Bill,

When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that, too.

I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described.

There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice, but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.

You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.

Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.

Good luck,

George