'George Told Me I Only Had 10 Minutes': Former Sen. Simpson Remembers Bush 41's Sense of Humor
Simpson: he could never remember a punchline.
Former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson drew lots of laughs with his eulogy of his longtime friend, George H.W. Bush, telling stories of the 41st president's trademark sense of humor.
"Relax: George told me I only have 10 minutes. He was very direct about it. It wasn't even funny," Simpson quipped as he began his address at the memorial service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
The 87-year-old Wyoming native said he first met Bush in 1962 in Washington, D.C. after his father, Milward Simpson, was elected to the Senate.
When his parents left Washington a few years later, Simpson recalled that they sold their home to George H.W. Bush, who had just been elected to Congress.
Simpson joked about his "tumultous" time in Washington while he knew Bush, saying he went from the "A social list" to the "Z."
"I never came back to the A," he said, drawing a round of laughs from the audience, including George W. Bush.
Simpson recalled one time that Bush invited he and his wife, Ann, to Camp David.
"At the time, his popularity rating was 93 percent, mine was .93 percent," he said, applauding the president's "loyalty" despite the politics of the day.
After promising no tax hikes while he was president, Bush signed off on a bipartisan bill which required additional revenue in the form of new taxes, Simpson recalled.
Knowing it would be a "punch in the gut" for him politically, Simpson explained that Bush knew he had to do what was best for the country.
"He often said, when the really tough choices come, it's the country, not me. It's not about Democrats or Republicans, it's for our country that I fought for," Simpson said of Bush.
"He loved a good joke, the richer the better. He threw his head back and gave it a great laugh, but he never, ever could remember a punchline. And I mean, never. So the punchline for George Herbert Walker Bush is this: you would have wanted him on your side. He never lost his sense of humor. Humor is the universal solvent against the abrasive elements of life."
He went on to say Bush never hated anyone because "he knew what his mother and my mother always knew: hatred corrodes the container it's carried in."
Watch the full eulogy above and Bush 43's eulogy, here.