Gov. Paul LePage on Saturday reminisced about his friendship with former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara.

“He and Barbara were good friends of ours,” LePage said in a phone interview. “Barbara was a special, special friend to both Ann and I, and George was just a great guy. He’s what I call a gentle man.”

The LePages spent time over the years with the Bushes at Walker’s Point, the couple’s Kennebunkport compound, and dined together.

“We had so many good times,” LePage said. “We had lunches together, and they were just wonderful, wonderful people.”

At a meeting in 2014 when LePage was campaigning for re-election, Barbara Bush gave him some advice, though she made it clear beforehand it was not her practice to give political advice, according to the governor.

“She said, ‘But if I did, I would tell you to zip it,'” LePage recalled. “She said, ‘You say things that get you in trouble.’ Ann said, ‘You go girl.'”

LePage said he is not sure if he will be able to attend Bush’s funeral, as he is scheduled to have back surgery Wednesday, as his arthritis is bad, but he said he and his wife might be able to go to Washington, D.C. before then, where Bush’s body will be lying in state.

LePage said he and his wife will miss the former president.

“America has lost an icon,” he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

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Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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