Staff Writer @MargiePattonGeorge W. Bush’s public profile recently received a bit of a boost when the former president beat out Barack Obama as commander-in-chief of choice for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a recent poll conducted by the Washington Post and The Kaiser Family Foundation, 65% of veterans polled agreed that Bush was “a good commander-in- chief of the military” while Obama only received a 42% approval rating. Closer examination of poll details, however, may reveal that Bush’s victory may be due to his overall popularity over Obama rather than specifics regarding war performance. Obama’s overall approval rating was only 32%. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan also tend to lean more Republican than Democrat in general. The poll results may also be a product of the overall improvement in Bush’s image in recent years. A 2013 Washington Post-ABC News poll revealed that time has mellowed the public perception of Bush’s performance as president. Bush's overall job approval has seen a marked improvement since the end of his term, with an increase of over 20 points since his record low marks in 2008. Bush’s recent endeavors into the world of painting may also be working in his favor. The former president showed a softer, more contemplative side during a recent story on NBC’s Today show which featured an exhibition of his paintings of fellow world leaders including Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin, the Dalai Lama, and Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush.
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