Bush 43 backs free press on national stage

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Among young University of Houston journalists still recoiling from the president's labeling of American media as an "enemy of the people",  the unexpected words of a former commander in chief have delivered both confidence and comfort.

"It was encouraging and it was inspiring and it makes us want to keep doing what we're doing," said Alex Meyer, Managing Editor of the Daily Cougar.

Meyer's referring to former President George W. Bush, who after eight years of relative silence appeared on the Today show and offered unqualified support of a Fourth Estate that was frequently critical of him.

"I consider the media indispensable to democracy. We need an independent media to hold people like me to account. Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive and it's important to the media to call to account people who abuse their power," said Bush.

Bush 43 did not limit his return to a national stage to bolstering an independent press. He also differed sharply with the tone and direction of Mr. Trump's immigration policy.

"I am for an immigration policy that is welcoming and upholds the law," said Bush.

Rice Political analyst Mark Jones believes Bush's statement was meant as a call for moderation.

"That President Trump needs to do a better job of differentiating between people who are the 'bad hombres' as President Trump would say and the people who are the productive members of society who need a route or some type of path to either citizenship or at least legalize their status," said Jones.

While former President Bush said Americans deserve answers about the Trump campaign's alleged contacts with the Russians, he tempered his comments by saying the new president deserves a fair chance to govern.