"He's a spoiling grandfather. Spoiling," former First Lady Laura Bush tells PEOPLE of her husband

By Tierney McAfee
March 01, 2017 12:00 PM
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These days, former President George W. Bush‘s most important job is as grandfather in chief — and he’s got his strategy (or “strategery,” for the SNL fans out there) down pat.

“He’s a spoiling grandfather. Spoiling,” former First Lady Laura Bush says in a joint interview with her husband for the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

“I’m the first to admit it,” Bush confesses of his relationship with daughter Jenna’s girls, Mila, 3, and Poppy, 1.

In what way?

“Any way,” jokes Mrs. Bush.

“You want to play a video game, I’m the guy,” the former president says.

“You want to eat ice cream?” asks the former first lady.

“I’m the guy,” says Bush, whose grandkids call him “El Jefe” (the boss). “I’m probably undermining every lesson that Jenna and [her husband] Henry are trying to teach little Mila but, you know, what the heck?”

Marlo Collins

RELATED VIDEO: Click HERE to watch People Features: George W. Bush, Portraits of Courage

Frederick Ford

The former president also enjoys sharing his own passion — painting — with little Mila. The doting grandparents even set up a kid-size easel for their older granddaughter in El Jefe’s art studio at the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas.

“I’ll paint and she’ll paint. It’s really fun,” says Bush, who took up the pastime after his presidency and recently released his first art book, Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.

Peter Zambouros

Bush tells PEOPLE he supposes he’s “more sensitive” since he’s become an artist.

But as for princess tea parties with his granddaughters — “Not quite there,” he says. “I mean, I’m sensitive now. But not that sensitive.”

For much more of our interview with Laura and George W. Bush, including exclusive at-home photos, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.

  • Reporting by SANDRA SOBIERAJ WESTFALL