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Former President George W. Bush participates in a signing ceremony for the joint use agreement between the National Archives and the George W. Bush Presidential Center Wednesday, April 24, 2013, in Dallas.
George W. Bush is back in the Oval Office. Fortunately for him, it is just a replica of his old workplace.
Bush took a walk through the new George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas on Thursday and told NBC’s Matt Lauer that he does not miss his old job.
“I had all the fame and power I needed for eight years,” Bush said. “Laura and I knew when our time was up, it was time to come home.”
Bush and wife Laura reflected on their eight years in the White House on the day that five living past and present U.S. presidents gathered to help dedicate the George W. Bush Presidential Center in a ceremony that is expected to attract more than 8,000 spectators.
The event also marks Bush’s first return to the spotlight since he left the real Oval Office four years ago when he left behind a presidency that was punctuated with low approval ratings and controversial decisions -- decisions that Bush unabashedly says he does not regret.
“We were successful in protecting the homeland,” he said. “People are going argue whether such and such yielded information and I am telling you that it did and without it, you cannot protect the homeland.”
The tour of the center with the Bushes included a stop at the display of hanging chads - a relic of the Florida election recount where the Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favored of Bush after the 2000 presidential election.
The decision marked the beginning of a presidency for which Bush said he had high hopes: economic development, tax relief, education reform and faith based initiatives.
But that all went out the window on Sept. 11, 2001.
“I became a wartime president, something I did not want to be,” Bush said.
Still, Laura Bush says her husband is at peace. And while the former president does not miss being Commander in Chief, he has no qualms about encouraging his brother Jeb Bush to run in 2016. Bush said in an interview that aired on ABC on Wednesday that his younger brother would make a "marvelous candidate."
But their mother Barbara Bush disagreed.
"We've had enough Bushes," she said in a separate interview with Lauer, adding that Jeb is "by far the best-qualified man," but thought there were many worthy candidates.