U.S. Senator Roy Blunt says President George H.W. Bush treated Missouri like it was one of the states he was connected to. Funeral services are underway for Bush, who died Friday at the age of 94.
On the Senate floor, Blunt says Bush was in Missouri a lot because of its political importance as a bellwether state and for personal reasons.
“Certainly, in Missouri, we claim part of the Bush family. His mother grew up in Missouri. The Walkers were from Missouri, and he treated Missouri like it was one of the states that he was connected to by relationship. The impact of his mother is pretty great,” says Blunt.
He says from 1904 to 2004, the bellwether state of Missouri voted for the winner of the presidential election every time but one.
“That last 20 years of that time period very much is the time period where President Bush 41 and Bush 43, for that matter, were part of national politics. So, Missouri would have been a significant place for him anyway, but his brother lived there, his younger brother Bucky, who passed away in the last few years. Future Ambassador Burt Walker was there. Lots of sort of interrelated and connected family members,” he says.
The only presidential election Missouri did not vote for the winner was in 1956 when Dwight Eisenhower won the race. Missouri voted for a former Illinois governor, Adlai Stevenson.
Blunt goes on to say the Missouri connection goes a little bit further.
“Not only did Missouri vote for President Bush in 1988… But after Desert Storm, President Bush looked around to find a place to do the first 4th of July parade after Desert Storm and he came to Marshfield, Missouri, in the county where I was born, in Webster County,” Blunt says.
Blunt recalls being picked as the grand marshal of the parade that year. When he learned the president wanted to come to be in the parade, Blunt says he was more than willing to step aside to let Bush lead. Blunt instead walked closely behind.
He says the first campaign kickoff was in Branson in 1992. Blunt and Bush went to a country music show at the Moe Bandy Theater. Loretta Lynn was sitting with the president and Mrs. Bush.
“Their good friend from Texas Moe Bandy was performing and that was a part of America and a part of our music that the president loved,” says Blunt.
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