Archive: Maine's role in George H.W. Bush's presidency
PORTLAND (WGME) – CBS 13 has gone through our archives, finding many important events during George H.W. Bush’s presidency that happened with Maine as the backdrop.
It was Memorial Day weekend, May of 1990, and President Bush was enjoying a few days in Maine, navigating the Kennebunk River.
Playing a round of golf with friends at his beloved Cape Arundel Golf Club, and attending a Memorial Day service for our fallen veterans, our 41st President was in Maine that weekend, not just to relax, but to prepare for a historic moment.
"I think everybody, regardless of their faith, background, aspires to see a world at peace,” Bush said. “I think that's what this little service is about. And certainly, that's what this summit coming up with Gorbachev is about."
Just days later, President Bush and the soviet leader would sign historic accords in Washington, on weapons and trade, part of the end of the Cold War.
It was a momentous day, with Maine playing a role, but there were many more.
President Bush would host world leaders, like French President Francois Mitterrand, in 1989.
“The reason I wanted to have this meeting here, this place that means so much to Barbara and me, is to refurbish that relationship and strengthen it on a personal basis," Bush said.
It was a personal visit, that included Bush bringing Mitterrand's wife for a boat tour, right along Portland's Old Port.
And there would be other important state visits to Walker’s Point, including August of 1990, by King Hussein of Jordan.
It was a critical meeting, as the President built a coalition and support, for what would be the first Gulf War against Iraq and Saddam Hussein.
But Walker's Point wasn't just a backdrop for Bush's foreign policy.
Maine, for example, is where President Bush introduced Clarence Thomas as his Supreme Court nominee.
As with any presidency, there would be controversies, but also successes.
And through it all, Maine would be his anchor, his summer White House, a place to stroll the grounds with then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, and other members of his national security team.
Mainers and visitors alike were amazed to have a front row to history.
Those days are gone now, but not the memories, of a time when a President put Maine on the world stage.