at Portrait Unveiling
Texas State Capitol
January 4, 2002
10:07 A.M. CST
Thank you. Thank you, Laura. You need to know, I listen to her every day. (Laughter.)
Whatever success we've had is because she's constantly telling me what to do.
(Laughter.) I'm proud of Laura and I can't tell you what a great job she has
done for America -- you know that, yourself. But she brings such a steadiness
and a calm resolve and I'm really proud of her. (Applause.)
I want to thank the Governor and the First Lady, thank you all very much for
your hospitality. It's great to see the Lieutenant Governor, and Sally; the
Speaker and Nelda. It's good to see you all. I can't help but notice that my
friend, Jan Bullock, is here, as well. Jan, thank you for coming. (Applause.)
We've got all kinds of dignitaries here. I want to thank you for taking time
out of your day to come and witness my hanging. (Laughter.) Fortunately, it's
my portrait. (Laughter.)
I'm particularly pleased to be here with the artist. Now, I was somewhat concerned
when Laura told me that the Gentlings were famous painters of birds -- (laughter)
-- but they would make time to paint my picture. (Laughter.) Pretty tough old
bird here to paint, wasn't I? (Laughter.) But I appreciate, Scott, your taking
time to try to figure me out. It's a real pleasure for me to work with you.
I know it's a challenge from your part, but it looks like you did me justice
and I thank you. And it's also good to see your brother, Stuart.
The Gentlings are a part of the really fantastic artistic community we have
here in Texas. These guys may seem a little odd when you meet them upstairs,
but they're really good at what they do. (Laughter.)
I've got to tell you, I was talking with Bomer last night and we started laughing
about all the wonderful times we had in this building. And as I look around
the room, I see many who helped make that happen. This was a joyous six years
for us here.
It kind of reminds me of what Harry Truman said. He said, "I've tried never
to forget who I was or where I'd come from, and where I was going back to."
And that's what this Capitol says to us. And so does Crawford, by the way. It's
One of the things that happened here is that we made a lot of friends. You know,
sometimes in politics friends are just a fleeting memory. But that's not the
case for us. Our friends are permanent parts of our life. We don't view such
things as political friends. You're either our friend or you're not our friend,
no matter what your politics are like.
That's why we have got such fond memories of working with Pete and Nelda Laney.
Oh, I know he's got the Democrat label, but somehow our relationship transcended
that. And the same with Bullock. I can't help but chuckle about our breakfasts
that we used to have in this building, Pete, with Bullock. I'd like to share
some of the stories with the people watching on C-SPAN -- (laughter) -- but,
unfortunately, I can't repeat them in mixed company. (Laughter.)
But the truth of the matter is, whether it be the Speaker or Bullock or Janelle
or others, from both parties, we came in this building with one desire -- to
do what's right for Texas. We've got political labels around our name, no question
about it. But we made up our mind to try to figure out what was best for our
state and to work together.
And so I went up to Washington with a wonderful sense of being able to get things
done, because of my relationships and my experience here in the State Capitol.
I still believe that can happen. But sometimes Washington needs to figure out
that politics isn't what's most important, the people are what's most important.
And so I'm going to take that can-do Texas spirit to Washington for however
long I'm there, and remind people that results are matter -- results are what
matters, not rhetoric; remind people that if you're willing to share credit,
if you're willing to tell the other person that you're going to succeed, as
well, amazing things can happen; and remind people that our country, just like
our state, is much bigger than the political process.
Those are the lessons I learned here in this State Capitol. I also learned you
cannot succeed without a good team around you. There's no such thing, in my
judgment, as a one-man band when it comes to politics or being the governor
or being the President of the United States. You're only successful if you're
able to convince a lot of good folks to join on the team and to empower them
to achieve the common objectives.
And that's exactly what we did here in Austin. I think history will show that
the staff of Governor George Bush was one of the greatest staffs ever assembled.
You should be applauding because you're the ones who were on the staff, in this
We had fun. We got some positive things done for Texas. We worked hard. And
it was the memories that I'll never forget. And so I want to thank you all who
worked on our team. It should be noted that many of them who were on this team
moved to Washington. Pinky Albaugh -- (laughter) -- he's not here, so I can
say it. (Laughter.) Karen, of course. Karl Rove. Gonzalez -- I see Al is here,
the chief attorney. Margaret Spellings, she's got a new last name now -- those
of us who know her husband are somewhat amazed. (Laughter.) Albert Hawkins.
These are all the folks that I rely on. These are people who have got great
judgment and care deeply about our country. And America is really better off
by the fact that they decided to make a huge sacrifice, leave their beloved
state and go to Washington, D.C.
We also have got a lot of others up there that many of you knew: Ashley, Izzy,
Logan. It's such an honor for Logan to know that we named one of our cows after
him that was recently born. (Laughter.) Margaret Wilson and Stuart Bowen and
Vickers Meadows. Pat Wood. These are all folks, we worked together here in Austin,
who are now serving our nation. And I truly believe America is better off as
a result of the influx of Texans who showed up.
I always will remember -- and this painting helps remind me, of the fact that
all of us were a part of a larger story, a story much bigger than ourselves.
Many have come before us, and many will follow. Mine is just one of 46 portraits
in this Dome, and I'll always be in good company here.
It is amazing for me to think, when I step back and think this will be hanging
here forever, along with J. Pinckney Henderson. I didn't know Henderson very
well. (Laughter.) But I did read about Sam Houston, or John Connolly. And the
first Texas Governor I ever knew, Allan Shivers. It's an honor to be hanging
with these men.
It's also amazing to think that it'll be here for a long, long time. I just
hope Governor Richards doesn't mind being my neighbor for eternity. (Laughter
I want to thank you all for coming. It's a day I've really been looking forward
to for a long time. We look forward to seeing you upstairs for the little coffee
Again, I remember you; I won't forget Texas. It's a huge honor to be the President,
by the way. But one of these days I'll be back, settled in, sitting on my porch
in Crawford, looking for somebody to come and recount old war stories with.