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Bush reveals stories behind paintings of world leaders: Putin ‘dissed’ Barney

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Bush-BarneyFormer President George W. Bush made an appearance Friday on NBC’s Today show to reveal a collection of paintings that have kept him busy since leaving the White House.

The paintings are part of an exhibit called, “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” which will be displayed at the Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, NBC News reported.

Joining Jenna Bush Hager, who served the dual role of daughter and NBC correspondent, Bush shared the story behind some of the paintings, including a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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“As you know, our dear dog Barney, who had a special place in my heart — Putin dissed him and said, ‘You really call that a dog?’’’ Bush said.

“A year later, your mom and I go to visit and Vladimir says, ‘Would you like to meet my dog?’ Out bounds this huge hound, obviously much bigger than a Scottish terrier, and Putin looks at me and says, ‘Bigger, stronger and faster than Barney,’” he continued.

“I just took it in,” Bush added. “I didn’t react. I just said, ‘Wow. Anybody who thinks ‘my dog is bigger than your dog’ is an interesting character.’ And that painting kind of reflects that.”

Bush said he was reluctant to display the painting be cause he’s not “a great artist.”

“I don’t want people to think I’m a great artist,” he told his daughter. “On the other hand, I did want to refresh the Bush Center. I want people to come and visit us. We view ourselves as a place where people can learn.”

There was another revealing of sorts during the interview, that being the former president’s favorite painting — a portrait of his father, President George H.W. Bush.

Tom Tillison


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