Schwarzenegger remembers unlikely friendship with Bush

President George H.W. Bush's friend, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Posted: Dec 3, 2018 7:36 PM
Updated: Dec 3, 2018 7:58 PM

Arnold Schwarzenegger's reminiscences about his time with former President George H.W. Bush have given rise to a mystery surrounding a sledding excursion at Camp David in which first lady Barbara Bush broke her leg.

What really happened that day in 1991 to cause Mrs. Bush's injury?

In an interview Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," anchor Jake Tapper asked Schwarzenegger about a photo of him and the 41st president on a toboggan at the presidential retreat, and the actor and former California governor recounted things this way: "It was snowing up there, and we had this toboggan, and (Bush) was trying to teach me how to slide that because I was only used to sledding down with Austrian sleds, which you direct kind of with your feet. And so we went down totally out of control, and of course we crashed into Barbara Bush, who broke her leg then after that. So that's why he sent me this picture."

The caption of the photo, written by Bush, reads, "Arnold -- Turn, damn it, Turn!!"

But in 1991, The Washington Post and The New York Times both reported that the first lady broke her leg when she hit a tree after she slid down an icy hill on a saucer sled. Both newspapers reported Schwarzenegger, who was at the time chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, was present.

Barbara Bush's press secretary at the time, Anna Perez, told the Post and the Times that the President yelled, "Bail out! Bail out!" when he saw Barbara Bush going down the hill. "She doesn't know why she didn't bail out. She just held on and the next thing she knew, there was the tree," Perez told the newspapers.

Schwarzenegger wrote about the incident in his memoir, "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story."

"The president and I came down the hill too fast and crashed into Barbara, and she ended up in the hospital with a broken leg," he said on page 397. "I still have the photo President Bush sent me afterward."

Later on Sunday, "CNN Newsroom" anchor Fredricka Whitfield asked Bush's son, Neil Bush, to clarify Schwarzenegger's comments and provide his own recollection of the order events.

"About the whole notion of the crash and your, you know, mom breaking her leg, so is he saying that he led to the breaking of your mom's leg, or did she break her leg in a different way?" Whitfield asked. "'Cause there are different stories out there. What's your -- what do you recall?"

"Well, she broke the leg running into a — I wasn't there, but she broke the leg running into a tree," he said.

CNN has reached out to Schwarzenegger for clarification, but he was in Europe and did not respond on Sunday night.

The actor and seven-time Mr. Olympia winner fondly remembered his experiences with the former president at Camp David and elsewhere in his interview Sunday morning.

"We had really a great time up there at Camp David," he told Tapper. "And like I said, it was a great learning experience, you know, hanging out around him. He was kind of like a mentor and kind of like a father figure at the same time."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313942

Reported Deaths: 7240
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21580258
Hinds20330415
Harrison17879309
Rankin13594278
Jackson13429246
Madison10088217
Lee9970174
Jones8370163
Forrest7670152
Lauderdale7188241
Lowndes6387146
Lamar622486
Lafayette6184118
Washington5332133
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Panola4582106
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Marshall4435103
Warren4386121
Pontotoc420172
Monroe4107133
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Neshoba4030176
Lincoln3962110
Hancock378486
Leflore3493125
Sunflower335990
Tate333384
Pike3316105
Scott315773
Alcorn312768
Yazoo311469
Itawamba299777
Copiah296865
Coahoma295179
Simpson294988
Tippah288168
Prentiss279760
Adams278782
Marion269080
Leake267473
Wayne262641
Grenada261386
Covington258281
George247848
Newton246261
Winston227081
Tishomingo226667
Jasper221048
Attala214273
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Holmes188873
Clay185254
Stone182433
Tallahatchie178541
Clarke177980
Calhoun170532
Yalobusha164238
Smith162334
Walthall133945
Greene130533
Lawrence128524
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123042
Carroll121828
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107033
Tunica105226
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96533
Kemper95728
Franklin83623
Quitman80716
Choctaw76318
Wilkinson67230
Jefferson65528
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 531404

Reported Deaths: 10985
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765501522
Mobile41036805
Madison34789503
Tuscaloosa25788453
Montgomery24340589
Shelby23449249
Baldwin21154308
Lee15882171
Calhoun14511314
Morgan14306279
Etowah13843353
Marshall12232223
Houston10570281
Elmore10068205
Limestone9974151
Cullman9676194
St. Clair9661243
Lauderdale9427241
DeKalb8831186
Talladega8227176
Walker7241277
Autauga6926108
Jackson6814112
Blount6678137
Colbert6306134
Coffee5519119
Dale4838111
Russell441538
Chilton4296112
Franklin426082
Covington4129118
Tallapoosa4023152
Escambia393677
Chambers3573123
Dallas3551152
Clarke351161
Marion3122101
Pike310977
Lawrence300398
Winston274473
Bibb260964
Geneva250477
Marengo249564
Pickens234461
Barbour231057
Hale223077
Butler216069
Fayette212562
Henry188844
Cherokee185245
Randolph180542
Monroe177540
Washington167339
Macon159650
Clay156756
Crenshaw152557
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107628
Sumter104732
Greene92534
Choctaw60724
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