WASHINGTON – Days before Vice President Mike Pence was sworn into office, he got some advice about the job from a predecessor: George H.W. Bush.
Pence didn’t divulge what the 43rd vice president said to the incoming 48th.
But he told USA TODAY in an interview that they were words that “I’ll cherish in my heart.”
Bush, Pence said, was the vice president he most expected to emulate.
“When I think of the kind of president that I’ll be serving, I find myself more and more drawn to the example and the experience of then-Vice President George Bush,” Pence said. “Because then, as now, there was a transformational leader.”
Bush, Pence said, was a “good place for me to look for an example of a vice president who supports a president like that.”
Pence named Bush as a role model despite being close friends with Bush’s own vice president, fellow Hoosier Dan Quayle, and despite saying during the campaign that he hoped to take after Dick Cheney by being “a very active vice president.”
Pence on Saturday called Bush a “good and great man” whose “example will always inspire and his lifetime of service will be enshrined in the hearts of the American people forever.”
Displayed on the piano in the vice president’s residence is a photo of Barbara Bush with Karen Pence, taken when Karen visited the house in 1988 along with other spouses from that year’s crop of congressional candidates.
Millie, the Bushes’ dog, walked down the stairs as Bush was talking, and “we all just swooned,” Karen Pence remembered in a January interview. “She was like, ‘Ladies, she’s just a dog.’ But Millie was so famous.”
As Karen Pence now welcomes her own guests to the residence, she encourages them to walk around, enjoy the house and to not be shy about snagging a paper napkin embossed with the vice presidential seal.
“Go ahead and take one,” she tells them, “because I took one when I was here with Barbara Bush and it’s in my scrapbook.”