George W. Bush may have stepped away from the political spotlight, but he seems to have won the popular (audience) vote – on Tuesday's The Tonight Show.
The former president stopped by to chat with Jay Leno, matching wits with the host as he unfurled a series of off-the-cuff zingers that left both Leno and his audience in stitches.
Case in point: When the host asked why he finally accepted Leno's invitation to return to the show (this was his fourth appearance on it), a deadpan Bush, 67, slyly jabbed at Leno's upcoming exit from the show.
"You're about to head out to pasture – just wanted to see what you looked like before you got to the gate," Bush cracked.
The former commander in chief also admitted he doesn't miss the limelight – "eight years of the spotlight is enough" – and explained why he remains largely mum on issues of public policy.
"I don't think it's good for the country to have a former president criticize his successor," Bush, whose wife, Laura Bush, also joined her husband at one point during the interview.
So what keeps the former president busy these days?
Painting – lots of it. Bush showed off some of his own artwork (fond of painting his pets, he signs his works "43") and even brought Leno a personal present: a portrait of the host that he painted.
"There's a Rembrandt trapped in this body," he recalled telling his painting teacher once. "Your job is to find it."
He also gushed about the newest addition to the Bush clan: 7-month-old granddaughter Mila Hager, the daughter of Jenna Bush Hager and husband Henry Hager.
"It was a little slow at first because the kid didn't say much," Bush joked when asked about being a first-time grandparent.
But a moment later, Bush appeared to get pensive, nodded his head and quietly said, "I'm hooked."
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