Former President George W. Bush said that he relied upon his faith when making big decisions during his years in the White House, and shared why he doesn't criticize President Barack Obama at an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Tuesday.
- (Photo: Tonight Show video screencap)
Leno pointed out that since leaving office, Bush has largely stayed away from commentating on political issues. The former president explained that "I don't think it's good for the country to have the former president criticize his successor."
The talk show host complimented Bush that he looks more relaxed now than while he was serving at the White House. The former Texas governor admitted that he doesn't miss the spotlight, and that eight years is "plenty" to spend as president.
"Well you have to believe in what you're doing, first and foremost. I relied upon my faith. My family helped a lot," he added about making important decisions. "I did the best I could do."
Bush reflected that he is comfortable with allowing history to judge the decisions he made while president, and joked that books are still coming out on George Washington, the very first president, so he doesn't have to worry about it for a while.
Leno brought up the president's library and museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, which was unveiled earlier this year. The 43rd president of the U.S. listed the several showpieces that are at display there, including a 9/11 memorial.
"It's really important to remind our country that evil does exist, and the human condition elsewhere matters to our national security," Bush said.
The talk show host then showed photos of the former president's artwork, with Bush admitting that he likes to think of himself as a painter now, and presented Leno with a surprise portrait of the comedian.
Although he has largely stayed out of the spotlight since leaving the White House, Bush did attract some controversy earlier this month after it was revealed that he was scheduled to speak at a Messianic Jewish organization.
The Messianic Jewish Bible Institute of Dallas, Texas, had planned to have the former president speak at one of their events, but then removed references to his appearance on their webpage. A number of Jewish leaders apparently complained that Bush was giving his support to a group whose mission is to convert Jewish people to Christianity.
"It's disappointing that he would give his stamp of approval to a group whose program is an express effort to convert Jews and not to accept the validity of the Jewish covenant," said Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.