President Bush laughed about 1992 debate gaffe during 2000 Nashville visit


As President George H.W. Bush is being remembered this week, a visit to Nashville in 2000 showed how he could often poke fun at himself. 

Toward the end of one of the 1992 presidential debates, Mr. Bush looked at his watch while a moderator was reading a question. 

The former president addressed the looking-at-your watch moment while holding a news conference at a Nashville aviation service on the same day his son was debating Al Gore in 2000. 

 “I just wanted to get the damn thing over with,” Mr. Bush said while chuckling with the small group of reporters at the airport event. 

The elder Bush indicated his son would hopefully not repeat the gaffe in the debate later that night. 

Bush went on to say critics blasted him for a “lack of interest” or that he was “bored” in the 1992 debate. 

Then the 41st president defended himself.  

He said looking at his watch did not happen on the world stage in events like summit meetings with then Soviet Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev. 

“I never remember turning to Gorby and saying, ‘Now Gorby, you have overdone your two minutes,'” smiled Mr. Bush. 

Those words from the former president drew even more laughs from those at the Nashville event that October day in 2000. 

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