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OFFBEAT NEWS
October 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM
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Former US president George W. Bush says he made a swift transition from the White House pampering to picking up his pet's poop, according to a news report Wednesday.

Bush told a packed university lecture hall in his home state of Texas on Tuesday that, shortly after leaving Washington, he faced a decidedly un-stately moment when his dog Barney relieved himself on a neighbor's lawn.

"Ten days out of the presidency, there I was with a plastic bag in my hand, picking up that which I had been dodging for eight years," he was quoted as saying by the Tyler Morning Telegraph in remarks confirmed by his office.

The former president has mostly shied from the limelight since leaving office -- except for a high-profile stint raising money to help Haiti recover from a devastating earthquake -- and kept a low political profile.

But Bush now plans a round of interviews to coincide with the November release of his book about his time in office, "Decision Points."

"This will come as a shock to some people in our country who didn't think I could read a book, much less write one," joked the former president, who left office deeply unpopular amid the US economic crisis.

"It's not a judgmental book," he told some 2,000 people on the campus of the University of Texas at Tyler. "It's not a 'Bush is cool' (book)."

The former president spared a little bit of nostalgia for his eight years in office, telling the audience: "I miss being pampered; I miss Air Force 1; I miss being commander in chief of an awesome (military)."

Bush also firmly defended his decision to seek a massive government rescue of troubled banks in late 2008, even as fellow Republicans now fiercely denounce such bailouts ahead of critical November 2 elections.

He told the audience that he acted after top economic advisers warned that failure to do so could lead to a crisis worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s.

"Depression, no Depression," he was quoted as saying in the Tyler Morning Telegraph. "It wasn't that hard for me, just so you know. I made the decision to use your money to prevent the collapse from happening."

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