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WATCH: George H.W. Bush was ‘America’s last great soldier statesman,’ biographer says

WASHINGTON — 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.

READ MORE: A full schedule of George H.W. Bush’s memorial events, funeral

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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