“In early 2007, I called Dad and asked him if he would invite President Vladimir Putin of Russia to Walker’s Point (the Bush family home in Kennebunkport, Maine),” Bush writes in his new book 41: A Portrait Of My Father.
Reflecting on his father’s life and leadership, former President George W. Bush describes how the pair hosted Putin for a weekend of boating and discussions about missile defence systems in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Former president George H.W. Bush was thrilled to process the request. “Just let me know what you need, son,” he said.
“When Putin arrived on July 1, 2007, Dad met his plane at the airport in New Hampshire and accompanied him on the helicopter ride to Walker’s Point. Then he took both of us for a speedboat ride,” Bush writes.
“Although initially startled by the idea of a eighty-three-year-old former President driving the boat at top speed, Putin loved the ride. (His interpreter looked like he was about to fly out the back of the boat.)
“The next morning, we had a long conversation about missile defence, in which we found some common ground. We then went fishing. Fittingly, Putin was the only one who caught anything,” according to the memoir.
(In 2009, the US and Russia announced a “reset” in relations. It hasn’t worked out.)