New Hampshire

Former NH Gov. John Sununu: Barbara Bush ‘Was a Great Lady, a Great Friend'

One of the many people reflecting on former First Lady Barbara Bush's life is former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu. Sununu and his family have a long history with the Bush family, including serving in President George H. W. Bush's cabinet and maintaining a friendship with the family over the years.

"She was a great lady, a great friend," Sununu said. "It's obviously a great loss to her family, our family and the country."

The former First Lady died Tuesday at age 92. Sununu served as her husband's chief of staff.

"Traditionally, chiefs of staff may have, on occasion, not had a good relationship with the first lady, but I was really lucky," Sununu said. "Nancy and I actually spent a couple of evenings on different occasions with them in the vice president's residence in Washington when we visited for events. By the time I got to the White House chief of staff, we really had gone from more than partners, if you will, in political venture, to being close friends."

Close friends until the end, even having a meal with the Bush family recently.

"We did what we always do," Sununu said. "We laughed a little bit. We reminisced a little bit and talked a little bit about what was happening in the country."

Sununu says Barbara Bush left her mark on that country in many ways.

"Her focus on literacy was important, but she also brought a disciplined, but gentle, character to the prestige of politics," Sununu said. "I think every once in a while, when things get especially tough in modern politics, people wish they were back in the days of Barbara Bush."

Sununu said he'll hold those days with him forever. He said the character he'll miss most is her laugh.

"We always had a good time laughing together," Sununu said. "My first image of Barbara Bush will always be one of having a good laugh."

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