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A Relaxed George W. Bush Tells Jay Leno: History Will Judge My Presidency

George W. Bush talked with Jay Leno on his talk show Tuesday night.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: President George W. Bush appears with Jay Leno; a recap of Renzo Piano’s visit to Fort Worth, a 6-year-old goes off to college, and more.

President George W. Bush and wife Laura appeared on NBC’s "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno Tuesday night. Bush talked about his presidential library at SMU, his health, as well as his mother and father. He says he’s enjoying life in Dallas. He also talked about his budding painting career. He took lessons from Gail Norfleet, a Dallas artist. “There’s a Rembrandt trapped in this body,” Bush told her. “Your job is to find it.” Leno showed paintings that Bush made of his dog, Barney, and Bob the cat. Bush said that painting has changed his life. Then he presented Leno with a portrait of the retiring talk-show host. Bush said he’s purposefully tried to stay out of the spotlight – he said it isn’t good for the country to have a former president criticize his successor. Bush also said that history will “judge whether the decisions I made [as president] were consequential.” And he said he doesn’t miss the spotlight.  “You look more relaxed,” Leno told him. Bush responded: “No kidding. Duh!” The crowd laughed. Leno remarked that President Obama is the subject of countless jokes on late-night talk shows such as his. “Better him than me,” Bush said.

Here’s video from last night’s show:

  • Italian architect Renzo Piano was in Fort Worth Tuesday, visiting his newest creation: the Piano Pavilion at the Kimbell Art Museum. The proud papa was pleased with what he saw. “As an architect you make kids,” Piano said. “Buildings are like kids. You have to be happy to let them go.” KERA’s Bill Zeeble followed Piano around and has more details. Art&Seek’s Jerome Weeks takes us on a tour.

  • JFK’s back brace may have cost him his life. President John F. Kennedy was wearing a back brace on the day he died. If he had not been wearing it, he might have lived, says the doctor who tended to the president in the emergency room at Parkland Hospital. When Kennedy was brought to Parkland Hospital, Dr. Kenneth Salyer, then a 27-year-old resident, was the doctor on duty. "He was still breathing," Salyer told CBS News. "It's sort of agonal, labored, close-to-your-last sort of breaths. But he still was breathing.” The brace probably cost Kennedy his life, Salyer believes. "The first shot that hit him went through the soft tissue of the back of his shoulder and exited through his trachea," Salyer told CBS News. "That same bullet went through [Texas Gov.] John Connally's chest, through his right hand and into his thigh and knocked him completely down in the car." Kennedy was still upright as a target because he was wearing his brace, which made it possible for him to be shot again.

  • Malachi Lewis is a college student – and he’s only 6 years old. The Denton boy is learning about math and science from high school students studying at the University of North Texas, KXAS-TV (Channel 5) reports. Malachi is taking weekly classes that cover chemistry, biology and computer science in UNT’s Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science program. TAMS is a two-year, early college-entry program for high-achieving high school students interested in math, science, engineering and related fields. Malachi read through kid science books within hours – and understood all of the concepts. "He's unique," his mother, Melanie Lewis, told KXAS. "He just really, really loves to learn. At first, it just seemed like he's ahead -- he's reading, really cool -- but then he started asking for chemistry books and periodic tables."

  • NaNoWriMo may sound like a disease. Or maybe a biotech startup. But it’s actually the nickname adopted by National Novel Writing Month. And North Texans are among the 300,000 people across the country who are trying to write a novel in just 30 days. NaNoWriMoparticipants win when they reach a goal of 50,000 words before Nov. 30. But it's really not about winning. If writers hit the word count, they get an online badge, and a few sponsor perks. Mostly, it's about being part of a community of writers. KERA’s Doualy Xaykaothao has the story.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.