Former Secretary of State James Baker says George H.W. Bush is “the guy” who helped turn him around at a time in his life when he could have become an alcoholic.
Baker told CBS' "60 Minutes" that the former president, who died Friday at 94, was a huge part of his life.
“There were a lotta people who helped me along the way,” Baker told the news program. “But the guy who really got me going, got me started, turned me around at -- at a time in my life I've said if I were ever gonna become an alcoholic, it's when I lost that wife, and left me with those four small kids. And he was there for me and he's been there for me ever since.”
He grew emotional as he remembered his friend as being a huge part of his life.
According to "60 Minutes," after Baker lost his first wife to cancer, Bush asked him to join his campaign for Senate in 1964 in Texas as a way for him to cope with his grief. Bush lost the race.
They met years before on the tennis court when Baker was a Texas lawyer, according to the broadcast.
“Neither one of us had a partner for the doubles matches. And so they put us together. And that's how we became friends,” Baker said. “We first became tennis doubles partners.”
Bush appointed Baker Secretary of State in 1989. He is the only person in history to serve as Secretary of State, Secretary of Treasury and White House Chief of Staff.
He told “60 Minutes” that Bush’s four-year term in the White House was “one of the most consequential in history.”
Baker was with Bush Friday during his final moments.
“He had a very gentle and peaceful passing” Baker said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“They made arrangements for all of his children to call in to, in effect, tell him goodbye,” Baker said. “And his last words, the last words George Bush ever said were: "I love you."
“And he said those words to 43, George Bush -- President George Bush 43, who had called in to say, 'Dad, I love you, I will see you on the other side.' And President Bush said, 'I love you.' And those were his last words.”