George H. W. Bush Jokes with Former Adviser Turned Inspiration for ‘Scandal’s’ Olivia Pope

Judy Smith, co-executive producer of “Scandal” and a former deputy press secretary to President George H. W. Bush, recalled a conversation she had with 41 before the show’s premiere at last week’s Nantucket Project when she called to give him a heads up on the storyline. The character of Olivia Pope, inspired by Smith, engages in an affair with the show’s president, a made-for-TV and fictional twist from the real life relationship between Bush and Smith.

Bush returned Smith’s call, only to reach her voicemail, and in one, said, “Love you. Want you. You left me! And by the way, this is the former leader of the free world. Call me.”

When Smith finally reached the former president, in true Olivia Pope-fashion, she recalled telling him, “You need some talking points. You need to stay on message.” But to Smith’s surprise, Bush told her he was going to “confirm the affair.”

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