Cheney is attending the ceremonies, and while he has written and talked openly about differences with his former boss late in their White House years, President Bush brushed aside any talk of bad blood.
"No, it was never strained," Bush said. "I think that's the mythology that we've escaped. In other words, there's a mythology in Washington."
Reminded of Cheney's recollections in his book, especially over the president's refusal to pardon longtime Cheney aide and friend Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former president added this to the talk of tensions:
"Not really. They were on Scooter Libby. Yeah, he didn't agree with that decision. But I don't -- you know -- people ought to look at the total picture. And we're friends then and friends now."
Other highlights of the interview:
On his debate just before Katrina hit about whether to overrule Louisiana's governor and send in federal troops:
CNN: People were telling you, "Mr. President, maybe you need to declare an insurrection."
GEORGE BUSH: Insurrection. Which would have been pretty difficult. Not pretty di -- very difficult. Yeah, so I -- it just points out the dilemma. ...
CNN: Do you wish in hindsight you had done it?
GEORGE BUSH: No, not really. I'm -- you know, I get -- there's no telling how history would have recorded the situation had I declared an insurrection. I can tell you the decibel level would have risen even louder than it was.
Hopefully people will go to the Decision Points Theater and say, "Wow, I didn't understand that." Or, "I now understand it better."
On whether he feels personal redemption now that many Republican leaders are pushing immigration policies that mirror his failed proposals:
GEORGE BUSH: No, I don't. I don't really view it as redemption, I view it as smart.
And logical. And I was real proud of my little brother being out there, you know -- pushing the issue. Because he understands the issue well. Eventually these problems will get solved. And a president just has to understand that not every issue gets solved during his presidency. But he can contribute to the ultimate solution.
On whether that brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, should seek the 2016 GOP nomination:
GEORGE BUSH: Well, big Jeb, you know, he's got a decision to make. And if I could make it for him, it'd be, "run," but I can't. And I don't know what he's going to do. He'd be a great candidate and a great president.
On plans for a third trip to Africa this summer:
GEORGE BUSH: I think it's important to set priorities in life. I always said that one of the principles that was important to me was human life. We went to Africa and saw people dying, needlessly dying. And there's nothing more important, I think, and Laura thinks as well, to help somebody live.
And so during my presidency I convinced Congress to spend taxpayers' money to save lives not only from HIV but as well from malaria. And it worked. And we want to continue that type of work with cervical cancer.
Finally, on his post-presidential hobby of painting:
LAURA BUSH: Who would have thunk it? George was looking for a pastime, actually, when he gave up smoking cigars. So he read Churchill's book, "Painting As a Pastime" and he's actually very good. He's a very good painter.
GEORGE BUSH: I relax. I see colors differently. I am, I guess, tapping a part of the brain that, you know, certainly never used when I was a teenager. And I get the satisfaction out of completing a project. And I paint people's pets. And I love to give them their pet as a gift.
And I readily concede the signature is more valuable than the painting.