Former Colorado Gov. Romer fondly recalls friendship with Barbara Bush

DENVER -- Former first lady Barbara Bush is in failing health, according to a family spokesman.

The 92-year-old, who served as first lady from 1989 to 1993, is suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure.

“I had very great relationships with the Bush family,” former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer said Sunday. “Of course, we were political opponents, but we were friends.”

Romer served as governor during the presidency of George H.W. Bush. He spoke fondly of the woman who has long been admired by Republicans and Democrats.

“Barbara was a classic woman,” Romer said. “She was very smart and very experienced and wise.”

Mrs. Bush is widely known in Colorado and across the country for her work to promote literacy.

Her connections to Centennial State include the Bush family political dynasty.

Current Colorado state treasurer and candidate for governor, Walker Stapleton, is related to the Bush family. His mother is a first cousin of President George H. W. Bush.

Romer recalls Mrs. Bush as being a moderating force of her husband’s presidency.

“She never was an embarrassment,” Romer said. “She had her own opinions and she was not shy about sharing them. Everybody liked her because she was kind of the salt of the earth, as I remember.”

Mrs. Bush has been hospitalized several times over the past year for heart and breathing issues.

She is at her home in Houston with family members by her side, according to sources close to the Bush family.

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