Dick Cheney and James Baker Remember George H.W. Bush: 'Perhaps One of the Very Best Presidents of All Time'

December 2, 2018

In an interview with "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of State James Baker discussed the legacy of late President George H.W. Bush.

Bush, who served for one term as the 41st president, passed away late Friday night at the age of 94. Baker said he was "the best one-term president" in the history of the United States.

Baker, who has said Bush's legacy has often been overlooked, was asked by Wallace why he thinks that is.

"I'm not sure why they missed it, except perhaps he was not re-elected. He was a one-term president. In my view, and I would bet this is true with Dick Cheney as well, he was the very best one-term president this country has ever had and perhaps one of the very best presidents of all time," Baker said.

Cheney, who served as secretary of defense under Bush, praised the late president's leadership during the Gulf War and victory over former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

"In terms of his leadership, the important thing to remember is what we put together during those years ... we'd all worked together back during the Ford years. And it was, in my opinion, I'm probably biased, about the most successful national security, foreign affairs, defense team in my experience to watch operate."

Baker concurred, saying, "[y]ou're absolutely accurate, Dick."

"He was a consequential leader: His knowledge of foreign leaders, people he'd worked with over the years, his understanding of the military, his willingness to support the military," Cheney added. "We gave him a very long list of things we wanted to have in the Gulf before we launched offensive weapons. He didn't turn us down on anything. He approved all of them and said humbly, 'show me how you're going to do it.'"

Baker, who called Bush his best friend, discussed his peaceful final day.

"He had a very gentle and peaceful passing ..." Baker said.  "They made arrangements for all of his children to call in to, in effect, tell him goodbye. In his last words, the last words George Bush ever said were 'I love you' and he said those words to 43, his son former President George W. Bush, who had called in to say 'Dad, I love you, I will see you on the other side,' and President Bush said 'I love you,' and those were his last words ... He had a very gentle and easy passing, the kind we ought to all hope we have."

Bush will lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda this week leading up to a state funeral at the Washington National Cathedral. He will be buried at his presidential library in College Station, Texas beside his wife of nearly three-quarters of a century, Barbara, and their daughter Robin, who passed away in 1953 at the age of 3 from cancer.