"It would never have occurred to me (or anyone else who dealt with him at the Capitol) to think of Bush as dumb or lacking gravitas," Paul Burka recently wrote in Texas Monthly, about Bush's bright early days as governor. "He was both fluent and knowledgeable about the things a governor needed to know ... He had an unerring instinct for knowing how others really felt about him and how to win them over." In Washington he still has the people skills, but he has given no sign of mastering issues. Thus his stalling, defensive pose when put on the spot.
Burka says that the change began when Bush took seriously a run for the White House. He became more partisan, more formal, more cautious. The results were evident in his second Texas debate, against Garry Mauro.
Bush was halfway toward his presidential style, speaking more slowly and less gracefully than four years earlier, and with a more dismissive air toward his opponent. While Mauro was speaking, Bush would sigh, grimace, and send body-language messages of boredom or contempt.
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