George H.W. Bush: In his own words

George H.W. Bush had some memorable quotes during his political career.

Credit: Mark Reinstein

Credit: Mark Reinstein

George H.W. Bush had some memorable quotes during his political career.

He told us to read his lips and he envisioned a thousand points of light.

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He hated broccoli and had fun at his own expense.

George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, left a legacy of colorful quotes that his followers loved and his critics pounced upon.

Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards once said that Bush was born with “a silver foot in his mouth.” Nevertheless, Bush’s words have been etched in the American psyche.

His most famous phrase was a simple, six-word phrase: "Read my lips: No new taxes." 
Bush said that during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 18, 1988.

In his 1989 inaugural address, Bush invoked his hopeful image of the United States and the world.

“We are a nation of communities … a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky,” he said.

It was a phrase he would come back to several times during his presidency, and would be used to satirical effect by comedian Dana Carvey on “Saturday Night Live.”

Bush mocked himself during the 2000 presidential campaign while attending a nonpartisan event as his son, George W. Bush, sought the presidency.

“Though I might be tempted to utter a few words of encouragement to anyone who is considering my boy, I will heed the immortal words of Dana Carvey: ‘Not gonna do it. Wouldn’t be prudent.’”

Bush endeared himself to children but not to farmers when he commented about broccoli on March 22, 1990.

"I do not like broccoli," he said. "And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm president of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli." Bush's statement was said in jest, but it angered broccoli farmers in California, Newsweek reported. The farmers sent truckloads of broccoli to the president, who donated it to local food shelters.

Bush lost the 1992 presidential election to Bill Clinton, but he grew to enjoy his interactions with his Democratic rival, particularly after both had left the White House.

“Who would have thought that I would be working with Bill Clinton, of all people?” Bush said Oct. 25, 2005, as he discussed his work with his ex-rival on hurricane and tsunami relief. “It’s been an eye-opening and enjoyable experience for me to work with him on something truly apolitical.”

When he turned 85, Bush decided to parachute out of an airplane. Asked about the wisdom of such a daring leap by a senior citizen, Bush had a ready answer.

“Old guys can still do fun things,” he said.

Bush could joust with the media, although there was not the tension that currently marks the White House corps relationship with Donald Trump.

“It’s a very good question, very direct, and I’m not going to answer it,” he once said.

“I am not one who -- who flamboyantly believes in throwing a lot of words around,” Bush once said.

But the ones he threw around were memorable.

Information from wire services were used in compiling this report.