Before He Became President, George H.W. Bush Shared His View On Leadership

"You have to be what you are in life."

When George H.W. Bush was running to become president, he was often accused of being "too nice."

But when the media approached former President Bush with that descriptor, he always had a candid response. Bush, a Navy pilot who was survived being shot down in World War II, should not have had to prove his toughness to anyone. Yet he explained that toughness was not being a bully, being nasty or being feared. Instead, he said, toughness was having a strong moral fiber, a strong character, and leading in a way that people wanted to follow. 

"You have to be what you are in life," Bush said. "You don't have to style it so you're into the latest fad or the latest thing ... and I'm not going to change"

Check out the video above for a look back at Bush's comments.

Cover image: Mark Reinstein / Corbis via Getty Images


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.