George W. Bush’s complex relationship with his dad: ‘Love and a bit of a rivalry’


WASHINGTON – Something was nagging then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush two decades ago before his bid for the White House – the inevitable news stories that would compare him with his presidential father.

George H.W. Bush responded with a letter of advice: Be your own person, even if it means distancing yourself from your old man.

“Chart your own course, not just on the issues but on defining yourselves. No one will ever question your love of family – your devotion to your parents,” the elder Bush wrote in a letter in 1998 to George and brother Jeb, then seeking his first term as governor of Florida.

George W. Bush largely followed his father’s advice when he moved into the White House. Even as the two Presidents Bush developed separate and competing legacies, they frequently expressed their love for each other and served as each other’s biggest cheerleader.

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