By People Staff
August 13, 1990 12:00 PM

He grew up in Connecticut, has a place in Houston, and summers in Kennebunkport, Maine. He pitches horseshoes, fishes for bass, calls his wife Bar. He is the surf-and-turf President. But what else makes George Bush George Bush? Is it the patrician hairline? The down east, down-home twang? The hands that sometimes flap about, mid-speech, like break-dancing pigeons? To find out, PEOPLE beat the bushes for ersatz Georges—comics who make a living practicing the sincerest form of flattery—and asked them to share their tips on how to do the Chief Executive thing. Now no longer do you, or anyone else, have to let George do it; in a pinch, you can let Randy do it. Or Stew. Or Jim. Or…

DAVID WERNER, 31, member of the Capitol Steps, a Washington, D.C., musical comedy troupe:

For the voice, combine “a preppy New England thing, like in a Pepperidge Farm commercial,” with a flat Texas twang, “like the owner of a country-music station.” Talk about subjects that are “right out of the news, like Panama or broccoli,” and use plenty of hand gestures, “because he’s the hands-on President.”

JIM FLAHERTY, 36, Boston comedian:

Once you pick up the voice—”It’s a little Mr. Rogers-ish”—you can add the classic Bushisms: speaking in sentence fragments and stretching out key words and phrases (“It’s ba-a-a-a-d”). When making a point, use the hands and index fingers in short jutting motions. At random intervals, throw one hand to the side so that it “just comes out somewhere in the middle of a sentence.”

JOHN SIMMONS, 34, Washington, D.C., comedian and founder of the Gross National Product comedy troupe:

“You got to get that red, white and blue combination worked down—the blue suit, the white shirt, the red, white and blue tie. And make sure the pinstripes aren’t too wide.” Get a Millie look-alike and a flag to wrap yourself in. Malaprop sporadically: Indicate that you are the environment President by declaring, “We’ve got to take care of this clubhouse effect.”

RANDY CREDICO, 35, New York City comedian:

“His mannerisms are easy to imitate. I love his timing—it’s the worst. He’s always hitting the table after he’s made his point. Voice-wise he’s easy to do because he’s so whiny. He’s got a little John Wayne in there, a little Jack Nicholson, and he mispronounces everything. And he’s got terrible syntax. His face is difficult to imitate, though. He’s always got that pained look. You’ve got to squint and scrunch up your face.”

JIM MORRIS, 33, New York City comedian:

“When he’s scripted, he’s very controlled, but when he gets rattled and riled, his voice goes up to that high-pitched whine and he flings his arms around and his tongue starts wagging.” To capture his speech patterns, remember that Bush “tries to play down his upper-class roots.” Make sure, when imitating him, to “drop certain consonants, like in, ‘We’re goin’ fishin’,’ and accent the wrong syllabic, like ra-gime and re-sponsibility.”

STEW OLESON, 36, Chicago attorney who moonlights as a comedian:

Cultivate a look that says you might be in “middle management.” Furrow your brow. Gesture inappropriately. Act bothered. Interrupt yourself in the middle of a sentence, as though you’re “thinking about a new fishing lure you’re going to buy.” If the tone or mannerisms elude you, think of the key word that will always put you in character: “prudent.”