• This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," Dec. 20, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

     

    GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, a rare night in cable news, Reverend Billy Graham and President Bush 43. Earlier today, we went to North Carolina and spoke to Reverend Graham shortly before he had lunch with President Bush.

    (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

    VAN SUSTEREN: Dr. Graham, it's very nice to see you, and I appreciate you sitting down and doing this interview with us.

    REV. BILLY GRAHAM: Thank you. It's a privilege. I've looked forward to it, doing it sometime.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I've been looking forward to it, as well.

    GRAHAM: Thank you. It's the first interview I've given in several years to anybody, so I count this a privilege to be with you.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I'm flattered and grateful to have the chance.

    GRAHAM: Thank you.

    VAN SUSTEREN: So how did you meet the Bush family?

    GRAHAM: The Bush family? I would have to think that through a little bit, but I think it was his grandfather. I met them in Florida. I played golf with him, and then his grandmother invited me to her home, invited about a dozen neighbors to for me to answer biblical questions or to pray with them and to teach them. And that began a long friendship with her. She was one of the sweetest women I think I ever met, a very deep Christian. And she became a wonderful friend to me. And through her, I began to meet the rest of the family.

    VAN SUSTEREN: So you know, President Bush 41 and President Bush 43, both of them?

    GRAHAM: Right, 41 I've known very -- he became one of my best friends. And we became very close friends. I was living (ph) on very special occasions and spent several times at the White House with them. He and Barbara became very close friends to Ruth and me.

    VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, then you met President Bush 43, the younger President Bush -- younger President Bush.

    GRAHAM: George W. Bush.

    VAN SUSTEREN: George W.

    GRAHAM: Oh, yes, I remember him as -- well, I thought (ph) he was a teenager, but when we were in Kennebunkport in Maine, where they invited me many summers to take a vacation with them, the family. And he was a member of the family. And I remember George, Sr., asked me if I would conduct a Bible study in their home there on several occasions. On this occasion, I remember a young fellow back there that stood up and asked some questions. Happened to be George W. Bush. And we became friends and we had talks together and we walked together. And we played tennis together and golf together.

    VAN SUSTEREN: In his new book, he talks about you and essentially says you helped change his life.

    GRAHAM: Well, that's up to him. I wouldn't know that except I remember he was very interested in spiritual things and he asked a lot of very deep questions about the Bible and about the Christian faith. And I tried to answer as best I could. And very grateful that the Lord worked, I think, with him during this time.

    VAN SUSTEREN: In 2001, after the 9/11, you came to the National Cathedral when President Bush was the current president.

    GRAHAM: Right. He asked me to come and speak on that occasion, which I did. And I was honored to be asked, but I was very sorrowful about what had happened. And so it was a mixed emotion for me to stand up and speak at that cathedral on that occasion.

    VAN SUSTEREN: At age 92 -- and I was fortunate enough to go to your 90th birthday -- but at age 92, do you have hope for the world, for the nation? What kind of hope is it?

    GRAHAM: I have a tremendous amount of hope because I'm a believer in Jesus Christ, who was raised from the dead. I believe he is alive right now. My wife is already in heaven. I look forward to seeing her definitely in the near future because I'm 92 now and I know that my time is limited on this earth. But I have tremendous hope in the fact I'll be in the future life. And I'll be there because of what Jesus Christ did for me on the cross and by the resurrection. And this gives me a great deal of hope.

    VAN SUSTEREN: You mentioned Jesus Christ, so we should talk Christmas. What does Christmas mean to you?

    GRAHAM: Christmas means a great deal to me. I was reared in a family that celebrated Christmas to some extent, but I married into a family that celebrated Christmas in a big way. And my wife always made a big thing of Christmas for the children. We have five children, and we had a terrific time at Christmas.

    We all looked forward to it. We would get up on Christmas morning and have our prayers, and then we would sit under the tree and open our presents, usually on Christmas morning, sometimes on Christmas Eve.

    But when I looked into the crib or the manger and saw that little baby who was going to rise to become the greatest teacher that ever lived, to die on the cross for my sins, to know that I'll be forgiven because of what he was doing, it absolutely transformed Christmas for me. And all the shopping and the gifts and all the things we celebrated Christmas, it's a spiritual time. It's a time that strengthens my faith and gives me courage for the future. And I don't expect to live that much longer, but I do remember that every Christmas strengthened my faith as I came along.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    VAN SUSTEREN: We have more with Reverend Graham in two minutes. If he could go back in time, is there anything he would do differently? His answer might surprise you. More with Reverend Billy Graham is next.

    And then President Bush 43 goes "On the Record." He gives you the inside story about the day he met Reverend Graham and his life was changed. President Bush is minutes away.

    (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

    VAN SUSTEREN: Continuing with Reverend Billy Graham.

    (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

    VAN SUSTEREN: If you were to do things over again, would you do it differently?

    GRAHAM: Yes. I would study more. I would pray more, travel less, take less speaking engagements. I took too many of them in too many places around the world. If I had it to do over again, I'd spend more time in meditation and prayer and just telling the Lord how much I love him and adore him and looking forward the time we're going to spend together for eternity.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Why would you speak less, when you had such an enormous audience and people listening? Why would you want to speak less?

    GRAHAM: I didn't mean that I would speak less in these great stadiums. I meant that I would speak less at all kinds of conferences and things that I was invited to throughout the world, especially to Great Britain and the United States because I'd get up and travel to those places and I didn't have time to think and study and pray. And I needed time for that. And if I had it to do over again, I would try to organize it much better.

    VAN SUSTEREN: At what age did you realize that you wanted to be a preacher?