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‘Conan the Republican’ Schwarzenegger eulogizes former President George H.W. Bush

George H.W. Bush dead at 94

Former US President George H.W. Bush passed away at age 94 in Houston, TX.
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Former US President George H.W. Bush passed away at age 94 in Houston, TX.

California’s former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was among the public figures to eulogize President George H.W. Bush, who died last Friday.

“President Bush has left us for one last flight but his destination isn’t unknown. He’s flying into the arms of the love of his life, (former First Lady) Barbara (Bush),” Schwarzenegger tweeted Friday night in response to news of the 41st president’s death.

Schwarzenegger and Bush shared a history going back decades.

Schwarzenegger then appeared on CNN’s Sunday show “State of the Union,” where host Jake Tapper remarked that the weightlifter and movie star’s friendship with Bush, “to the outside observer, it might seem kind of like an odd couple.”

The former governor re-tweeted clips of that interview over the weekend.

Schwarzenegger shared the story of meeting Bush for the first time while visiting the White House, while Bush was vice president.

“He was a very sincere man and just a wonderful human being,” Schwarzenegger said.

At the tail end of his 1988 presidential campaign, Bush asked Schwarzenegger to introduce him at a campaign event in Columbus, Ohio, where Bush called the actor “Conan the Republican.”

Schwarzenegger so impressed Bush, the former governor said, that Bush invited him to join him on Air Force Two as he flew to a series of campaign stops.

Schwarzenegger also explained to Tapper the significance of a photo taken of Bush and him on a toboggan at Camp David in 1991, with a caption handwritten by Bush reading “Turn, damn it, Turn!!”

Schwarzenegger said Bush was teaching him how to sled in the American style.

“We went down, totally out of control, of course we crashed into Barbara Bush, who broke her leg after that,” Schwarzenegger said.

Bush is scheduled to be buried at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Texas later this week.

Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for McClatchy. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.