In an interview broadcast live on Facebook, former President George W. Bush told Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg that he is finished with living in the limelight.
“I’ve had enough of fame,” Bush told Zuckerberg, while discussing his recently released book “Decision Points.”
“On the other hand,” Bush added, “I do have an obligation to the publisher to sell books.”
It was an interesting format in which to make such a statement, both because Bush was back in the limelight promoting his book and because he was doing so on Facebook, a site that has been criticized for its lax approach to privacy.
Asked why he chose to do the interview with Facebook, the former president joked, “Cause you’ve got a lot of people paying attention to us. And I’m trying to sell books.”
Bush was in good humor throughout the interview, though he did become more serious when he discussed some of the bigger decisions of his presidency, such as the surge in Iraq and the Wall Street bailout.
For the most part, he continued to refuse to engage in current affairs. Asked about the latest release of material from WikiLeaks, Bush likened the situation to when he found out during his presidency that, as the result of a leak, the New York Times was on the verge of publishing information about how the U.S. listened in on America’s enemies.
“Leaks are very damaging,” he said, “and people who leak ought to be prosecuted.”
Of the present situation with WikiLeaks, Bush commented briefly, saying “I think it’s going to be hard in some cases to keep the trust of foreign leaders.”
Throughout the interview, Bush made repeated comparisons between his role as president and Zuckerberg’s role as CEO of a successful company, speaking about a shared concern with education, their strengths as leaders, and the constant criticism both receive.
Speaking about how the two continue to be active in education — Zuckerberg recently donated $100 million to Newark schools — Bush joked with Zuckerberg, “you didn’t even graduate college,” following it up with a fist pound and a grin.
A CEO of a successful company, or a president, Bush said, will inevitably be criticized. “The fundamental question,” he said, “is how you deal with it. And if you believe in what you’re doing, then the criticism means nothing.”
“Running Facebook requires common sense decisions,” Bush added later, furthering the comparison. “Obviously it requires a vision. You can’t lead unless you know where you’re going.”
“This really sounds like I’m pandering doesn’t it,” he interjected in the middle of making one such comparison between being president and the CEO of Facebook.
But Zuckerberg laughed it off. “You’ve made fun of me enough,” he said.