The George W. Bush Presidential Center will be officially dedicated tomorrow on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas. Dignitaries from across the political world will be on hand to get a peek at the 13th official Presidential library.
Mr. Bush is, of course, the 43rd President. So why only 13 libraries? I thought 13 sounded a little small. But did you know any libraries established before President Herbert Hoover’s fall outside the purview of the National Archives and Records Administration. And therefore...don’t count.
Well, now you know.
Bush's Time as Governor
This official library and museum gives visitors a detailed and interactive look at the first Presidency of the 21st century. But while the media’s attention is focused this week on his time as President, we’re going to take a moment to look back at his time as Texas Governor. R.G. Ratcliffe covered Texas politics for 29 years, including following Mr. Bush as he ran twice for governor...and then twice for President.
"His legacy as governor mostly comes out of his 1994 campaign against Ann Richards," Ratcliffe said. "He ran on essentially 4 issues: education reform, tort reform, welfare reform and juvenile justice reform."
And because of help Bush got from then Lt. Governor Bob Bullock, Bush was able to get each of those policy objectives passed into law.
Of those signature items, the education policies proved to be the most lasting. The polices of accountability and testing are not only still in place in Texas, but Bush took that platform to Washington to create the "No Child Left Behind" act.
A First Glance
As I walked around the Bush Center today, I heard a couple of people who helped create the museum say former President Bush had one simple request to those building his library: Don’t make this a monument to me. Make it a monument to the office of President.
And in that spirit, one of the highlights of the museum tour is a replica of the Oval Office. Former First Lady Laura Bush was on hand during today’s media tour of the facility. She told reporters that her favorite part was working on that office, both here and in the White House.
"Well I love the Oval Office. It was fun to decorate it when I did 12 years ago. It's fun to see it get recreated here," Mrs. Bush said.
The recreation of the Bush Oval Office includes a replica of the historic Resolute desk that several presidents, including President Barack Obama, have used.
"A man from Ohio called us and said, 'I have a replica of the Resolute desk and I've been using it and I'd like to give it to you now.' So the Resolute desk in there is a gift from a friend in Ohio," Mrs. Bush said.
You can watch the entire dedication ceremony tomorrow morning live at KUTnews.org. It’s starts at 10 a.m.