George W. Bush tells Jay Leno 'I am a painter'

George W. Bush sat down with Jay Leno on his Tonight Show in a rare public appearance, opening up about the legacy of his presidency, President Barack Obama and his new life as a self-described painter.

George W. Bush On Leno

When Leno acknowledged that being the President of United States must be a pretty tough gig, and referenced Obama’s graying hair, Bush revealed how he dealt with the pressure. "Well, you have to be believe in what you're doing," the former president said.

He then added, "I’m also very comfortable with the fact that it’s going to take a while for history to judge whether the decisions I made are consequential or not. And therefore I’m not too worried about it. If they're still writing biographies of the first guy, the 43rd guy doesn't need to worry,” Bush quipped.

Bush On President Obama

Since leaving office nearly six years ago, Bush has remained virtually silent on matters of policy, choosing instead to focus on his pet projects from his Texas home. Why doesn’t he throw his two cents into the mix? "I don't think it's good for the country to have a former president criticize his successor," Bush said.

Bush is happy, however, that it’s someone else who’s become the main target of late night jokers. Referring to Obama, Bush joked, “Better him than me,” adding, “Eight years is plenty. I don't miss the spotlight."

When Leno commented on his healthy and relaxed appearance since leaving office, Bush laughed, “No kidding, duh.”

Bush Talks Painting

While Bush has been away from politics and out of the spotlight, he has managed to make headlines a few times – for his new passion, painting.

"I am a painter. You may not think I'm a painter; I think I'm a painter," Bush told Leno before pulling out a ’43 original portrait of the talk show host. Bush also shared pictures of his dog Barney and cat Bob. He revealed to Leno that when he hired his paiting instructor he told her, “There’s a Rembrandt trapped in this body. You job is to find him.”

Not one to let up on trying to turn the conversation to politics and Obama, Leno asked Bush and his wife Laura Bush about the blocked artery that required him to have surgery over the summer. After Bush said he wasn’t too worried about the health scare, Leno joked, “You had Obamacare?”

– Chelsea Regan

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