The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

An alarm must have gone off some­where, sig­nal­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush to step out of his self-im­posed ex­ile and back onto pub­lic radar. In­deed, Mr. Bush made a re­cent ap­pear­ance on NBC’s “Tonight Show”, he of­fered a pub­lic greet­ing on Vet­er­ans Day and ex­pounded on vig­or­ous pol­icy opin­ions at a mas­sive meet­ing of oil and gas ex­ec­u­tives.

“If pri­vate sec­tor growth is the goal and Key­stone pipe­line cre­ates 20,000 new pri­vate-sec­tor jobs, build the damn thing,” Mr. Bush told the 4,000-mem­ber au­di­ence.

“One thing that’s made th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties more invit­ing for Ge­orge W. Bush is that his poll num­bers are up. There’s a more wel­com­ing au­di­ence out there, a more pos­i­tive re­cep­tion,” Bruce Buchanan — a pres­i­den­tial his­to­rian with the Univer­sity of Texas at Austin — tells In­side the Belt­way.

“The for­mer pres­i­dent is not nec­es­sar­ily sig­nal­ing he wants to en­ter the po­lit­i­cal de­bate. But I think he may be look­ing to be in the role of an elder states­man now,” Mr. Buchanan ob­serves. “I think Mr. Bush has noted that his own pre­de­ces­sors have done very well with the elder states­man role. He’s al­ready set up his li­brary, a re­search arm and a foun­da­tion. So he could be ready for hand­son ac­tiv­i­ties.”

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