Former President George W. Bush presents Jay Leno with a portrait on Nov. 19, 2013
Stacie McChesney/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty

George W. Bush says eight years in Oval Office ‘plenty’


George W. Bush doesn’t pine for his old job as President of the United States.

“I really don’t miss the spotlight,” he said during his fourth appearance on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Tuesday night. “Eight years is plenty.”

Bush has been keeping a low profile in Dallas since leaving office in 2009. “Laura and I love living in Texas. Dallas is our home, and we’re very comfortable there,” he said. In his spare time, the Republican has been tapping into his artistic side by taking up painting as new hobby. He made a portrait of Leno and presented it to him on set.

“There’s a Rembrandt trapped in this body,” Bush said.

He briefly resurfaced in July, urging lawmakers to come to a “positive resolution” on immigration reform and attended a memorial service in Africa alongside President Obama honoring victims of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings.

Bush needled Leno, saying he accepted Leno’s offer to be a guest on the show before the retiring host heads “out to pasture.”

Though Bush refrained from commenting on current political affairs. “I don’t think it’s good for the country to have a former president criticize his successor,” Bush told Leno. 

But Bush doesn’t mind late-night comedians taking aim at Obama. “Better him than me!” Bush said with a laugh. And he seemed to enjoy a Leno joke about Obamacare.

When Leno commented on Bush’s “much more relaxed” appearance, Bush shot back with a “No kidding… Duh!”

Former first lady Laura Bush briefly joined the former president on Leno’s couch. She told the host that Bush’s recent heart surgery was “very scary.” 

“I wasn’t that scared,” Bush said. 

The 43rd president didn’t seem stressed about his legacy, including the issue of sending U.S. troops into Iraq on the basis of inaccurate intelligence.

“I’m very comfortable with the fact that it’s going to take a while for history to judge whether the decisions I made are consequential or not and, therefore, I’m not too worried about it,” said Bush. “I’ve read some biographies of Washington and my attitude is that if they’re still writing biographies about the first guy, the 43rd guy doesn’t need to worry about it.”