Bush thinking hard about his library





President Bush had dinner last month on the Stanford University campus at the home of George P. Shultz, who was President Ronald Reagan's secretary of state, and the topic of conversation was not, as might be expected, the war in Iraq. Instead, guests said, Mr. Bush spent the evening focused on how he could create a public policy center with his presidential library after he leaves office in 2009.

The dozen or so guests at the dinner included directors and fellows of the Hoover Institution, the Stanford-affiliated policy center with close ties to the Bush White House. Mr. Bush spent most of his time, guests said, grilling the center's director, John Raisian, about the pros and cons of having an organization like Hoover within the confines of an institution like Stanford.

Whatever Mr. Bush decides, one thing is obvious: Two and a half years before he leaves office, with his popularity at record lows, Mr. Bush is actively thinking ahead to his post-White House life. His dinner with Mr. Shultz, a Hoover fellow, offers a glimpse into how the president wants to spend at least some of his time and influence his legacy — after he leaves office.

At this point, Southern Methodist University in Dallas is considered the favorite to get Mr. Bush's presidential library and policy center, but the University of Dallas and Baylor University in Waco, Tex., near the president's ranch, are also in the running. All three universities have submitted formal proposals to the Bush library selection committee, led by Donald Evans.


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