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President Bush Cops to Infamous ‘Bushisms’ in New Video: ‘I Was the Master of Malaprop’

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Never misunderestimate George W. Bush. The former president and infamous wordsmith is taking on higher education — and looking back at some of his presidential gaffes — as the latest instructor for MasterClass.

The 43rd president has joined the online platform to teach a class on “Authentic Leadership.” The class spans three hours (divided into 12 video lessons) and includes instruction on everything from “the art of personal diplomacy” to “crisis management” and “building a strong team.”

President Bush also speaks out about some of the most pivotal events from his time in office, offering a moment-by-moment breakdown of 9/11, as well as sharing his experiences from the White House as the country dealt with Hurricane Katrina and the financial crisis.

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Of course President Bush also had his fair share of detractors, and the former Commander-in-Chief uses his new MasterClass to address key criticisms that were leveled his way. “As President, sometimes I had information that the American people didn’t know, and I had to make decisions on knowledge that wasn’t evident,” he offers, in a clip from his MasterClass trailer. “That’s just the nature of leadership.”

But, he adds, “So long as you’re guided by principle and so long as you’re guided by a cause greater than self, you can endure criticism, because it’s going to come.”

The trailer also shows President Bush reacting to his multiple public speaking blunders, which became so frequent that they were given their own term: Bushisms. “You know, I was the master of the malaprop,” he jests, referencing his memorable use of the non-word, misunderestimate. “The press corps reaction was, ‘Did the guy actually just say that?’”

Though he’s a good sport about his gaffes, another section of the trailer sees him adding, seemingly without irony, that “When I was speaking to audiences, I didn’t want them to feel like I was smarter than they were.”

In addition to hearing from President Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush joins her husband to share stories from their time together in the White House and on the campaign trail. The last lesson in President Bush’s MasterClass, meantime, is titled “Happy Are the Painters” and gives viewers a glimpse into the family compound in Maine and his personal art studio. The studio is where the former president took up painting years ago, as a way for him to get back into the routine of “daily learning” that he missed after the presidency.

“With the right mindset, every part of life can be a learning experience,” President Bush says, in a press release. “For me, being your president was the ultimate learning experience, and now I want to share some of what I’ve learned—and continue to learn—with you.”

President Bush isn’t the only former president on MasterClass. Bill Clinton teaches a course on the platform about “Inclusive Leadership,” and the site also features classes from former U.S. Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady Hillary Clinton; the late Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright; and President Bush’s Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

President Bush’s former senior advisor Karl Rove also has a course on MasterClass, teaming up with Obama staffer David Axelrod to teach “campaign strategy and messaging.”


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All of the online classes are available to take with a subscription to MasterClass.com. A subscription starts at just $15 a month and includes unlimited and on-demand access to all 150+ courses on the site.


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