President George H.W. Bush's aide Jim McGrath reflects on 'perfect' man

ByTom Abrahams via KTRK logo
Monday, December 3, 2018
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George HW Bush spokesman Jim McGrath discusses relationship president

HOUSTON, Texas -- Jim McGrath is best known as the post-White House spokesperson for the 41st President of the United States.

But for McGrath, working for George H.W. Bush was more than a job.

He grew to love the former president like a father. And in a candid interview with Eyewitness News, he spoke at length about the job of a lifetime and the man who served as an inspiration for so many.

"You would have to go back to the founding fathers to find somebody who had George Bush's mix or blend of experiences as a war hero, as a business pioneer, you know offshore drilling, but then the breadth of his public service," said McGrath. "You would honestly have to go back to James Madison to find somebody who came into the presidency with that breadth of experience and I would argue that devotion to America and its ideals."

McGrath worked as a staff writer and editor in the Executive Office of the President from 1991 to 1993, before taking the job he would hold for a quarter century.

He wrote speeches, statements and produced video presentations on behalf of the former president. He also played golf with him.

"He's a very competitive man," said McGrath of Bush. "He's a tremendous tease. A very competitive man. I thought he stooped to behavior below the presidency on the golf course. It was really something to behold. The way he would talk low in the middle of your backswing."

Both men also enjoyed living in Bush's adopted hometown of Houston, the city where he and wife Barbara lived before leaving for Washington, and made their home after leaving the White House in 1993.

"Certainly as President of the United States, he brought the 1997 G-7 summit here," said McGrath. "And the 1992 Republican convention. The 1992 campaign didn't have quite the outcome we were hoping for but he brought the convention here because he had that authority as president to pick a site. He made sure that the national and global spotlight that was on him as president of the United States was also on his hometown he always had a lifelong love for."

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