Politics & Government

Miss George W. Bush yet? Some apparently do

More than a year after President George W. Bush left the White House, some people are getting a little sentimental about him.

Several weeks ago, a billboard popped up in Minnesota featuring a cheery picture of Bush smiling and waving, next to the phrase "Miss me yet?"

Now T-shirts, hats, coffee mugs and other items featuring the same photo and phrase are selling on the Internet at a steady clip.

This is a far friendlier reception than when Bush left office Jan. 20, 2009, with an approval rating of 22 percent — the lowest for a president in at least 70 years. It also comes after a year of Democratic-led initiatives in Congress, including federal stimulus projects and proposed health care reform.

"There are those who may have disagreed with President Bush on a few issues," Tarrant County Republican Chairwoman Stephanie Klick said. "Now that we have President [Barack] Obama, many would prefer President Bush to be in office again."

Since leaving office, Bush has maintained a low-key lifestyle in Dallas.

He did personally make an unsuccessful push for the peace process in Northern Ireland last week in his first known direct involvement in a public policy debate since leaving the White House. But it attracted no media attention until The New York Times reported it this week.

He and his wife, Laura, live in a fairly secluded Preston Hollow home, which is now blocked off to passing traffic. He jogs, works on his memoirs and has made some public appearances, such as talking to Southern Methodist University students and thanking the local hardware store that offered him a greeter's job when he moved back to Texas.

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