Bush at 60: 'I Really Do Feel Young'
President Bush turns 60 on Thursday, but it hasn t slowed him down. On the run, he talks to PEOPLE about biking, bum knees and bad gifts.
What’s the last body part that gave out on you?
My knee. My legs are probably next. But I’m working out hard still at age 60, trying to retard age, riding hard (on my mountain bike).
Is that the biggest regret about getting old, your body sort of giving out?
Actually, I don’t feel old. If you had asked me when I was 30 what it would be like to be 60, I would have said that seems old. Now that I’m 60, I really do feel young.
Mrs. Bush also turns 60 this year. What’s the last romantic thing she did for you?
She said, “Get out of bed and get me coffee” (laughter). No, she’s having a surprise birthday party for me.
What’s the worst birthday gift you ever got?
The bland tie, the dreary sweater . . . I m still hoping for some good ones here, so I don’t want to offend the main giver (gestures toward Laura Bush). Maybe a new pair of bike shorts from the First Lady is all I would care about.
Are your daughters Barbara and Jenna still daddy’s girls
As far as I’m concerned. I’m the guy they’re able to manipulate (laughter).
Is life at home different without the girls there?
When they first went to college I was thrilled for them. I love the idea of people leaving the nest and being in a position to explore the wonders of life. So I’m excited for them. Of course, we miss them. (But) they make us very proud because they’re really decent people and good humanitarians.
Do your own parents still give a little too much opinion on how you’re doing?
Mother does, in particular (laughter). The other day she said, “It’s hard to believe I have a 60-year-old son.” I didn’t say, “It’s hard for me to believe I have an 81-year-old mother.”
Could you and Al Gore ever be friends, like your dad and Bill Clinton?
I don’t know. I know that Bill Clinton and I have got a very good relationship. In 2 1/2 years I’ll be a member of the ex-Presidents club. But I’m very busy these days. I’ve got a lot to do, and so I’m really not worrying much about my post-presidency. I have vowed that I will sprint to the finish line and use every moment I’ve got to achieve some big things.
Do you think Gore is right on global warming?
I think we have a problem on global warming. I think there is a debate about whether it’s caused by mankind or whether it’s caused naturally, but it’s a worthy debate. It’s a debate, actually, that I’m in the process of solving by advancing new technologies, burning coal cleanly in electric plants, or promoting hydrogen-powered automobiles, or advancing ethanol as an alternative to gasoline.