Bush Tells Leno His Legacy Will be Settled in a Few Hundred Years, Gives Him a Painting

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Two of America's most beloved celebrities sat down for a rare interview on Tuesday night as NBC's lame-duck late-night host Jay Leno played host to former president George W. Bush.

There is a non-zero chance that The Tonight Show bookers set up the interview primarily to troll liberals, who tend to be skeptical of the talents of both participants. If that was the intention, Bush rose to the occasion. "It's going to take a while for history to judge whether the decisions I made are consequential or not," he told Leno, pointing out that people were still writing biographies of George Washington. "My attitude is, if they're still writing biographies about the first guy, the 43rd guy doesn't need to worry about it."

Leno and the former president talked casually about post-president life, a conversation frequently punctuated with Bush's distinctive chuckles. The talk show host remarked that Bush seemed more at ease than when he was president, eliciting a sarcastic, "Duh!" in response. Leno also praised Bush's new presidential library, hosted at Southern Methodist University, which Bush said was focused on its 9/11 exhibit. "Really important to remind the country that evil does exist, and that the human condition elsewhere matters to our national security," he said of the exhibit.

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As was inevitable the conversation turned to Bush's new hobby of painting. "I do take painting seriously," he told Leno, "it's changed my life." The pair reviewed some of Bush's work, including a painting of his Scottie dog Barney. "I introduced Barney to Putin," Bush said, "and he kind of dissed him." Apparently Barney wasn't tough enough for the insistently virile Russian president.

And then the grand finale: Bush painted Leno like one of his French Freedom girls.

Bush also made an appearance on ABC a little earlier in the evening, when famed magician David Blaine stole his watch.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.