CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former President George H.W. Bush had a bold prediction when he visited West Virginia eight days before the 2000 General Election with his son, George W. Bush, in a tight race with Vice President Al Gore.
“We live and die by these deadly polls—they are showing George with a real chance to win this state,” Bush told MetroNews in a back hallway at the Brushfork Armory in Bluefield . “If he wins West Virginia he will be the 43rd President of the United States.”
He was spot on.
Bush 43 did win West Virginia on Nov. 7, 2000 and won the presidency.
Monday the body of the elder Bush was transported from Texas to Washington, D.C. where the flag-draped casket of the 41st U.S. President, will be in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol until Wednesday. Members of the general public will be filing by as the former president lies in state for 41 hours.
U.S. Attorney for Southern West Virginia and former West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Mike Stuart called Bush the example of one who ‘seized the day.’
“He did seize the day, every single day. It was a life well-lived. A life of great love for his family,” Stuart said during appearance on Panhandle Today Monday on WEPM Radio in Martinsburg.
“He’s one of my favorite presidents ever,” Stuart said. “I think it’s because of the whole package. Not just his service as president but the way he did it. The way he lived his whole life.”
On Oct. 30, 2000, the former president stood on the Bruskfork Armory stage and spoke for 15 minutes with coal miners and other supporters of his son standing behind and in front of him. He bristled at the criticism aimed at him being on the campaign trail after losing his reelection bid eight years earlier.
“For me it will have nothing to do about vindication. It will have nothing to do with legacy–we hate that word. What it will have to do with is that a man of honor and integrity was elected that will restore respect and dignity and honor to the White House,” Bush said to a cheering crowd.
Stuart said the Bush family is very grateful for the support of West Virginians.
“They respected West Virginia and they respected all of the folks that worked so hard in West Virginia,” Stuart said.