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Rochester political leaders speak highly of Barbara Bush

April 16, 2018 06:40 AM

Rochester area political leaders are talking about their encounters with former first lady Barbara Bush.

Reports out Sunday night say her health is failing, she's not seeking any more medical treatment and her family is at her side.

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It seems Bush last came here to the Rochester area in 1994. She visited Lakeside Memorial Hospital in Brockport and the downtown Hyatt. That was in her role as first lady. However, former Judge Richard Rosenbaum remembers a side of Bush many people rarely have had the opportunity to get to know.

"She was the 'real McCoy, down to earth but the 'real McCoy,'" Rosenbaum says.

Rosenbaum has been acquainted with former President George H.W. and Barbara Bush for decades. While it's been some time since he has spoken with his friends, he was thinking of her when it became public that she will no longer seek medical treatment.

Rosenbaum says that's so like Bush -- humble and practical.

"She was a humble person," Rosenbaum says. "She didn't go around lording it over anybody...because they were at the top of the heap at one time."

Rosenbaum is a former State Supreme Court Judge and chair of the New York Republican Committee. They became friends through a mutual friend, Dick Cheney. Rosenbaum says Bush's condition is sad. He says she and the former president have shared a great love. 

"She's the kind of person...grandmotherly, ready to help, but very careful not to step on anybody's toes," Rosenbaum says.

The Bush family has not said what treatment Barbara has been receiving. She has been treated for Graves' disease. She has also had heart surgery.

Her spokesperson says the former first lady is now "focused on comfort care."

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