I have always said it and I'll say it again, there is something remarkably endearing about President George W Bush. This came across in 'W', a film that has had a lukewarm reception from the critics but I thought painted a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of the President's personality. In Europe, we have grown so used to dismissing him as an ignoramus and raging against his foreign policy that we overlook what it was that appealed to the American people. This comes through in his interview with Charlie Gibson on ABC News.
There is just something engaging about his childlike way of referring to Marine One, the presidential helicopter, as the 'magic carpet.' Or the thought of Laura Bush reprimanding him for putting his feet on the Jefferson table. His ability to remain 'joyful' in spite of it all has a boyish quality also. His comments about President-elect Obama's campaign are remarkably and genuinely admiring and magnanimous.
What is President Bush going to do with himself once he has left office? Well, you get the distinct impression that he is just going to have the time of his life. There is something refreshingly unegotistical about that. Pity about the mess both domestically and internationally that he leaves behind.