Pubdate: Mon, 13 Sep 1999
Source: New Haven Register (CT)
Copyright: 1999, New Haven Register


Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Former President Bush says son George was a "rambunctious"
youngster who never gave his parents reason to believe he used drugs and is
right not to answer further questions about the issue.

The elder Bush is not advising George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign
- -- "I don't want to always be in the game anymore." He also hopes Americans
elect someone who can live up to "the very high standards" for the White
House that Bush said Bill Clinton has failed to meet.

The former president, defeated by Clinton in 1992, discussed varied topics
in a television interview from his family home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

A transcript was released before its scheduled broadcast tonight on the Fox
News Channel show "The Edge with Paula Zahn."

"All this stuff about George's totally irresponsible past, we never saw
it," the ex-president said.

"Barbara and I never saw this. We knew he had some problems but -- that he
faced up to, but no different than most kids."

The younger Bush, the Republican governor of Texas, was "a rambunctious
little guy" and his father recalled an episode when the youngster tried to
hit him.

"I just held him at arm's length -- he was about nine -- just flailing away
at me," Bush said. "He didn't like some decision I had made, a leadership
decision, I'm sure."

The younger Bush has acknowledged that at one time he drank heavily and
that he made "mistakes" in his youth. No evidence or even credible
allegation has been made that he ever used cocaine or any other illegal drug.

When pressed, he has said he had not used illegal drugs in the past 25 years.

His father said he is upset how the media have questioned his son about
rumors of cocaine use, and believes it is right for him not to answer more
questions on the subject.

"I do feel strongly about that, about gotcha politics, about
intrusiveness," Bush said. "And I think I'm very proud that he's with that
position and let the voters decide."

The former president said he has not asked his son whether he ever used drugs.

"I wouldn't even consider to do that," Bush said. "I think what he's doing
is correct and he has my full support."

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