PALO ALTO, Calif. – Fit and frisky and currently liked by 619,920 people on his home page, George W. Bush dropped by Facebook’s Palo Alto headquarters Monday for a live Q&A with CEO Mark Zuckerberg to discuss his two-term presidency, promote his new book, talk about his dog Barney, promote his new book, tell stories about fellow world leaders he liked and didn’t like, and promote his new book.
Zuckerberg, looking equally fit and clearly acting as if he were among the 619,920, engaged in an hourlong back-scratching session with the 43rd president, the first ever to appear on Facebook Live. As hundreds of employees looked on from their seats, and thousands of Facebook users watched the live-streaming webcast online, Bush did his best Dubya, wise-cracking his way through two dozen largely softball questions, swinging the handheld microphone, and working the crowd like Henny Youngman.
From the moment Zuckerberg finished his slightly nervous introduction, it was Bada Bing! “You’re not exactly Jay Leno,” said Bush, poking fun at his co-star on stage and savoring the crowd’s laughter. After all, the welcoming reception probably put the compassionate conservative immediately at ease, considering he had dared to venture into this crunchy belly of the liberal San Francisco Bay Area to hawk his memoir, “Decision Points.”
And after a few lines like “People didn’t think I could read, much less write,” Bush’s book-promotion extravaganza was off and running.
Why come to Facebook? Zuckerberg asked the president. “Because you’ve got a lot of people paying attention to you, and I’m trying to sell books.”