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Sam Donaldson on George H. W. Bush's relationship with the press

Donaldson told Brian Stelter on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday that Bush, who died on Friday at the Houston home at…

Donaldson told Brian Stelter on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday that Bush, who died on Friday at the Houston home at the age of 94, sometimes challenged reporters, but he was always respectful.

“I never heard of him calling a reporter to chew him out, never be angry with a reporter,” he said. “He understood what we were about.”

Charles Bierbauer, who served as CNN’s senior Washington correspondent during the Bush years, told Stelter Sunday that Bush always came across as “informed”.

“And that’s what journalists are like,” said Bierbauer.

Donaldson expressed admiration for Marlin Fitzwater, who served as press secretary under President Bush and Ronald Reagan.

Fitzwater would “slip around” questions “but he did not try to insult reporters,” said Donaldson.

Former CNN Washington President, Frank Sesno, told Stelter that Fitzwater was in advance with reporters when Bush failed and would actively work to keep the record straight.

Fitzwater would “walk around and say what the president meant to say was this or that,” said Sesno. “There was no attack, there was no suggestion that it was false news.”

“I really think it was a sign of the feeling of respect, as I say, it was very noticeable then and all of it is almost absent now,” said Sesno. “Of course, this was another environment. This was before the age of the Internet and before the cable exploded to what it is now. “

Bush, however, had his reservations about the press, just as the other president told Sesno.

He remembered Bush with La Crosse , Wisconsin, just before losing his reshuffle of the bid to Democrat Bill Clinton in 1

992. Senso asked him about his role in the Iran-Contra store, and Bush was “furious.”

“At one point,” Shall we talk if anything else? “said Sesno. Bush “interrupted the other interviews after that.”

“So it was not that sweet and nice,” said Sesno.


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