One of the Bushes needs to get their memory checked.
The former president wrote in his new book Decision Points that his mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush, had a miscarriage and showed him the fetus.
In an interview with CNN’s Larry King that aired Monday, the former First Lady said that her son’s memory may have “dimmed” because she never put her fetus in a jar.
“George discloses something very personal about you, which he says you gave him special permission to write about,” noted King. “He wrote that when you once had a miscarriage, you showed him the fetus in the jar.”
“Paula put it in the jar,” Bush replied. “And I was shocked when she gave it to him to — but, you know, memories dim a little bit.”
Paula Rendon is the Bush family’s longtime housekeeper.
“Were you shocked that he put it in the book?” King asked.
“No. He asked permission and I gave him permission. It’s his book,” Bush said.
Different people grieve in different ways, but Justin Frank, a psychoanalyst based in Washington D.C., told The Daily Beast‘s Casey Schwartz that saving the fetus is not a normal response.
“You don’t save a fetus in a jar — you just don’t do that,” Frank said. “I would consider that to be the behavior of an extremely depressed person. Probably also extremely angry… because I think she’s saying — essentially — that she has had to suffer.”
The Daily Telegraph observed that while the former president is staunchly pro-life, his mother does not necessarily hold that point of view.
“I hate abortions, but just could not make that choice for someone else,” she once said.
Bush’s son told NBC’s Matt Lauer that the point of the story was not to show how he came to be pro-life.
“I thought it was very important for people to understand the relationship with my mom,” the former president said. “There’s no question that it affected me — my philosophy — we should respect life.”
“The purpose of the story really wasn’t to show the evolution of a pro-life point of view, it was really to show how my mom and I developed a relationship.”
In the interview broadcast Monday, King pressed Bush on her stance on abortion.
“You had differing opinions, though, on pro-life, did you not?” King asked.
“I don’t remember,” the former first lady demurred.
Former President George H. W. Bush, who also appeared in the interview, interruppted. “Yes, they did,” he admitted.
“Shh, George,” she said.
This video is from CNN’s Larry King Live, broadcast Nov. 22, 2010.