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Ex-White House adviser calls Barbara Bush gracious, “tough as nails”

SALT LAKE CITY – Fond remembrances of the late Barbara Bush come from a Utahn who served as a White House adviser to President George H.W. Bush between 1989 and 1993.

Stephen Studdert says the former first lady expected only the best from public servants.

“And if you were less than your best in serving her husband, and therefore, serving the country, she’d call you on that, sort of like your grandmother would slap you about the head when you needed it,” Studdert said.

Mrs. Bush was always a lady, thoughtful and gracious, he said.

“Even with the president’s most vociferous partisan opponents, she had a good friendship with them,” Studdert said.

“She didn’t let the partisanship stand in the way of personal relationships and human relationships.”

Studdert recalls how Mrs. Bush would ask him about his Mormon faith.

He remembers an event where Mrs. Bush noticed one of his children wasn’t there, noting her attention to detail.

Studdert also noted how Mrs. Bush championed literacy, and help for AIDS and homelessness.