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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: 293542

Reported Deaths: 6638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
Lauderdale6784225
Lowndes6008137
Lamar584480
Lafayette5707113
Washington5159128
Bolivar4594120
Oktibbeha439991
Panola426892
Pearl River4116128
Warren4114113
Pontotoc407368
Marshall399492
Monroe3980126
Union392873
Neshoba3767166
Lincoln3464100
Hancock339973
Leflore3358118
Sunflower317185
Tate300874
Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
Itawamba288871
Yazoo283862
Tippah275665
Copiah274557
Coahoma272766
Simpson271778
Prentiss268658
Leake251770
Wayne251340
Marion250778
Covington247878
Grenada245876
Adams233277
George230645
Newton224751
Winston220275
Jasper211844
Tishomingo211765
Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
Claiborne97729
Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
Calhoun13175285
Etowah13143319
Marshall11226206
Houston10048259
Elmore9337183
Limestone9335134
Cullman8869179
St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
DeKalb8429174
Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
Marengo233354
Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
Fayette199756
Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98431
Coosa87823
Greene87032
Choctaw54823
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