President Bush Meets "Mr. President"...Steve Bridges
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They say everyone has a double somewhere in the world. President George W.
Bush on February 24th, 2003, found his in – of all places – the Oval Office
of the White House.
“Is this me?” Bush asked with a wry smile when coming face to face for the first time with comedian/impressionist Steve Bridges. Well, yes and no.
For the past year, Bridges has been doing his right-on impression of President Bush for audiences across the nation. And while he’s not really the president, most people are hard pressed to tell them apart.
Thanks in no small measure to Academy Award-winning prosthetic make-up artist Kevin Haney, Bridges’ Bush Double looks and sounds convincing enough to have earned the comedian an
exclusive contract with The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (NBC). During the past 12 months, he’s also made appearances on , Judy Woodruff’s Inside Politics (CNN), The Early Show (CBS), Goodmorning America (ABC), Hannity and Colmes (Fox). At one time or another, he’s also shared the stage with some of Washington’s biggest names – political consultant James Carville, former Senator Bill Bradley, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former CNN Washington Bureau Chief Frank Sesno.
Although Bridges wasn’t in makeup when he Haney, Manager - Randy Nolen and Publicist - Jim Howard visited the Oval Office, that didn’t stop the president from laughing. Or from giving his candid review of the taped performances he’s seen of Bridges being him.
“He remarked how odd it was to see someone who looks and acts like him. In fact, I think he said it was downright weird.”
That would be “weird” in a good way, however.
“The President said he really appreciated the tone of my material, how it was all in fun and
something he’d feel comfortable having his daughters hear.”
During the pair’s 20 minute meeting, Bush the Real and Bush the Double covered a wide variety
of topics – their common home state of Texas, Haney’s Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy, the history
of the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, even the subtle differences between doing impressions
of George Bush Sr. and George Bush Jr.
“At one point, he actually invited me down to Crawford, Texas to do a little fishing,” Bridges said.
After all was said and done, what was Bridges’ impression of the subject of his very presidential impression?
“I walked away with a sense that I knew him. He’s amazingly down to earth. What you see is what you get, no pretense. And he has a very good sense of humor.”
That said, Bridges also remarked he still was able to get a sense of the weight of responsibility on the President’s shoulders.
“He takes his job and his responsibility to the country very seriously. There’s no doubt about that.”
At the same time, Bridges noted that the White House continues to make celebration a priority as well, citing a ceremony that same day for the NCAA champions.
“I was struck by the fact that despite all that was going on in the world at the time, the White House was doing exactly what they were telling the American people to do – getting on with life.”
Asked to name what he will remember most about his trip to the Oval Office, Bridges said it was a Norman Rockwell painting of someone waiting to see the president.
“The caption was ‘It’s the people’s house.’ At that very moment I knew exactly what the artist meant.”