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The Latest: Mulroney praises Bush as strong world leader

December 5, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on events honoring late former President George H.W. Bush (all times local):

12:25 p.m.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney has praised former U.S. President George H.W. Bush as a strong world leader who helped oversee the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union and was “responsible for the North American Free Trade Agreement” with Canada and Mexico.

With President Donald Trump, a sharp NAFTA critic, seated in the front row at Bush’s funeral, Mulroney said Wednesday the deal “created the largest and richest free trade area in the history of the world” and was “recently modernized and improved by new administrations.” Trump had called the trade deal unfair to the U.S. and moved to replace it.

Mulroney said Bush also deserves credit for the Americans with Disabilities Act and revising the Clean Air Act. He said, “There’s a word for this. It’s called leadership.”

Bush died last week in Houston at age 94.

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12:15 p.m.

Former President George W. Bush appeared to hand former first lady Michelle Obama something at his father’s funeral, recreating a moment from Sen. John McCain’s funeral earlier this year.

At McCain’s funeral, Bush and Obama were seatmates and he appeared to hand her something during a eulogy. The bipartisan moment went viral, and Obama later told NBC’s “Today” show Bush slipped her a mint.

On Wednesday, Bush dug into his pocket right before he shook the hands of the former presidents and their wives gathered for the funeral of his father, former President George H.W. Bush. He appeared to switch something into his right hand before he shook Mrs. Obama’s hand and then hand something to her. She smiled at him after the exchange.

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12:05 p.m.

Humor is creeping its way into the somber ceremony at the Washington National Cathedral to remember the life of former President George H.W. Bush.

Presidential historian Jon Meacham was the first speaker on Wednesday and said that on the primary campaign trail in New Hampshire once, Bush grabbed the hand of a department store mannequin while asking for votes. Meacham says when Bush realized his mistake he said, “Never know. Gotta ask.”

Meacham recounted how comedian Dana Carvey once said that the key to doing a perfect impersonation of the 41st president was “Mr. Rogers trying to be John Wayne.”

Looking ahead to the 1988 election, Bush once said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that the undecideds could go one way or the other.”

And Meacham said that late in his presidency, Bush’s tongue ran amok when he said: “We are enjoying sluggish times, but we’re not enjoying them very much.”

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12:05 p.m.

George H.W. Bush’s biographer is hailing the late president as a noble man who made the world better and inadvertently made it chuckle.

Historian Jon Meacham has told mourners at a Washington memorial service that Bush’s credo was, “Tell the truth, don’t blame people, be strong, do your best, try hard, forgive, stay the course.”

Meacham said Abraham Lincoln’s “better angels of our nature” and Bush’s thousand points of light are “companion verses in America’s national hymn.” Meacham says Bush “made our lives and the lives of nations freer, better, warmer and nobler.”

President Donald Trump has mocked the “points of light” phrase at some of his campaign rallies this year. He contrasted it with his own campaign slogan, saying “Putting America first, we understand. Thousand points of light, I never quite got that one.”

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11:05 a.m.

It’s an extraordinary scene inside the Washington National Cathedral, where former world leaders are mingling, waiting for a ceremony remembering former President George H.W. Bush to begin.

Former Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter are seated in a front-row pew.

President Donald Trump walked in and shook hands with Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, who greeted him by saying “Good morning.” Trump did not shake hands with Bill and Hillary Clinton, who looked straight ahead.

Bill Clinton and Mrs. Obama smiled and chatted as music played. Carter is seated silently next to Hillary Clinton in the cavernous cathedral. Obama cracked up laughing at someone’s quip. Vice President Mike Pence shook Carter’s hand.

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11 a.m.

The casket of former President George H.W. Bush has arrived at Washington National Cathedral in a lengthy, slow-moving motorcade that transported his family, friends and dignitaries.

Bush’s flag-draped coffin left the Capitol on Wednesday morning and was moved to the packed cathedral. The former president had been lying in state at the Capitol Rotunda since Monday.

World figures, members of Congress, President Donald Trump and all four ex-presidents are attending the ceremony. Bush’s son former President George W. Bush will give a eulogy, bidding a final Washington farewell to his father, who died Friday in Houston at age 94.

Bush’s remains will be flown to Houston to lie in repose before a private burial Thursday at his family plot on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station.

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10:55 a.m.

The hearse bearing the coffin of George H.W. Bush has driven slowly past the White House in a symbolic final nod at the building where he served as the nation’s 41st president.

The funeral procession of limousines on Wednesday was carrying Bush’s casket from the Capitol, where thousands of mourners had been paying respects to him since late Monday.

It was en route to the National Cathedral, where President Donald Trump, all four surviving former presidents and hundreds of other dignitaries and mourners were set for a memorial service.

Bush died last week at age 94. He is to be buried Thursday in Texas.

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10:50 a.m.

The U.N. Security Council has paid tribute to the late U.S. President George H.W. Bush, standing silently in his memory.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara (ah-lah-SAHN’ WAH’-tah-rah) was presiding over the U.N.’s most powerful body on Wednesday and asked the 15 members and diplomats in the crowded council chamber to observe a minute of silence to honor Bush at the start of a meeting on sustaining peace after conflict.

Speaking on behalf of the council, Ouattara said “President Bush left us following a long, illustrious career serving his country,” including as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, where he presided over the Security Council in 1972.

Ouattara conveyed the council’s “warm gratitude to the people and government of the United States of America” and condolences on Bush’s death.

Bush died last week in Houston at age 94.

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10:35 a.m.

Former President George H.W. Bush’s casket has left the U.S. Capitol for a state funeral at the Washington National Cathedral.

Family, friends, congressional leaders and others gathered with military brass on the steps of the Capitol for the send-off Wednesday as cannons echoed a salute and a military band played “Hail to the Chief.”

Bush’s flag-draped coffin was carried to a waiting hearse for the procession to the cathedral. His son former President George W. Bush put his hand over heart at the plaza.

The 41st president had been lying in state since late Monday in the Capitol Rotunda, an honor reserved for few. Hundreds of visitors, including many former White House officials, arrived to pay tribute. Bush died last week in Houston at age 94.

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9:40 a.m.

Friends and family are gathering at Washington National Cathedral under tight security for a funeral service honoring late former President George H.W. Bush.

Wednesday’s national funeral service will cap three days of remembrance by dignitaries and ordinary citizens. It will bring together world envoys, the four remaining ex-presidents and President Donald Trump.

After Wednesday’s service, Bush’s remains will be returned to Houston to lie in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church before burial Thursday at his family plot.

The 41st president oversaw the post-Cold War transition and led a successful Gulf War, only to lose re-election in a generational shift to Bill Clinton in 1992. He died last week in Houston at age 94.

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7:35 a.m.

The public viewing for late former President George H.W. Bush at the Capitol Rotunda has drawn to a close.

A funeral service at Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday will cap three days of remembrance by dignitaries and ordinary citizens as they honor Bush, who died in Houston last week at age 94.

The Republican president oversaw the post-Cold War transition and led a successful Gulf War, only to lose re-election in a generational shift to Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992. His funeral will bring together world envoys, the four remaining ex-presidents and President Donald Trump.

Bush’s remains will be returned to Houston to lie in repose before burial Thursday at his family plot on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station

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6:40 a.m.

Pope Francis is sending his condolences to the Bush family and says he’s praying it finds strength and peace as it prepares to bid farewell to former President George H.W. Bush.

The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, sent a telegram of condolences on Wednesday to the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo. In it, Parolin says Francis was saddened to learn of Bush’s death last week in Houston at age 94 and assured the family of his prayers.

The telegram says: “Commending President Bush’s soul to the merciful love of Almighty God, His Holiness invokes upon all who mourn his passing the divine blessings of strength and peace.”

Funeral services for Bush are planned for Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral.

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12:15 a.m.

Washington is bidding its final farewell to former President George H.W. Bush, his funeral at Washington National Cathedral drawing world envoys, the four remaining ex-presidents, and President Donald Trump.

The ceremony late Wednesday morning will cap three days of remembrance by dignitaries and ordinary citizens alike. The Republican president oversaw the post-Cold War transition and led a successful Gulf War, then lost re-election in a generational shift to Democrat Bill Clinton.

Joining American notables and representatives from more than a dozen countries is an electrician and fix-it man, Mike Lovejoy, who has worked at Bush’s Maine summer estate since 1990.

Bush’s remains will be returned to Houston to lie in repose before burial Thursday at his family plot on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station.

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