HOUSTON – President Bush's parents were "overjoyed" to learn of Saddam Hussein's capture last weekend, the former president said Wednesday in his first public remarks about the arrest.
Former President Bush, who spoke briefly to reporters while touring the vascular surgery (search) program at the Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center, acknowledged he had "great pride" in the news.
"But it's a far more important and wonderful blessing for our country," he said. "It was one magical moment. It made up for the fact that [President Bush] invited me for Thanksgiving and didn't even show up ... because he was in Baghdad."
He was referring to his son's stealth trip to Iraq (search) while the former first couple, their twin granddaughters and first lady Laura Bush dined at the presidential ranch in Crawford, Texas.
"Lunch was prepared for 12, and five of us did it in. We took a nap, ate turkey sandwiches and went to bed," Bush said of the family meal, eaten while his son was en route back to the United States. "About 5 o'clock the next morning I heard a knock on the door: 'Dad, let's go fishing.' He was back from Baghdad. Unbelievable."
The former president, who once was the target of an assassination plot by Saddam and defeated his Iraqi forces in the first Gulf War, said "at this Christmastime, Barbara and I are overjoyed" that Saddam is in custody.
However, he said he still feels uncomfortable talking about events in his son's administration.
"I've refrained from doing it because I had my chance as president and it's just a policy I've had on everything," Bush said.