Praising son Jeb, former President Bush breaks down
TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) -- Former President George H.W. Bush broke down in tears as he cited his son, Gov. Jeb Bush, as an example of leadership.
Bush was addressing lawmakers, his son's top administrators, and state workers gathered in the House chamber Monday for the last of the governor's leadership forums.
He said he was proud of how his son handled losing the 1994 governor's race to popular incumbent Democrat Lawton Chiles and vaguely referred to dirty tricks in the campaign.
"He didn't whine about it. He didn't complain," the former president said before choking up. As he tried to continue, he let out a sob and put a handkerchief to his face. When he spoke again, his words were broken up by pauses as he tried to regain composure.
"A true measure of a man is how you handle victory and how you handle defeat, so in '94 Floridians chose to rehire the governor. They took note of his worthy opponent, who showed with not only words but with actions what decency he had," Bush said before again sobbing.
After his defeat, Jeb Bush formed a group called Foundation for Florida's Future which promoted education policy. He also helped open a charter school in a poor Miami neighborhood, helped the state Republican Party organize a convention and straw poll to have sway in the 1996 presidential election and lobbied for education and campaign finance reform bills. Bush won the first of his two terms in 1998.
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