DALLAS (AP) — A political science class at Southern Methodist University received a surprise visit Tuesday from an expert on the topic: former President George W. Bush.
The former president popped in on Professor Harold Stanley's Introduction to American Government and Politics class Tuesday morning. Stanley said he knew Bush was coming, but he did not tell his students.
"I was shocked," said Drew Haskett, an SMU senior from San Diego. "There were 30 pretty star-struck students sitting there."
Bush, who once famously referred to himself as "The Decider," spent about 10 minutes discussing the decisions he faced as president before taking about 50 minutes worth of questions from the undergraduates. Stanley and the students asked about the stimulus package, the war in Iraq and immigration reform.
"He talked about how political leaders are often suspected of making decisions according to the latest opinion polls," Stanley said. "His point was that you can't do it that way. You have to do it according to your principles, and he hopes that is how he comes to be understood."
Bush and his wife, Laura, moved into their Dallas home last week just a few miles up the road from SMU. His presidential center, which will include a library, museum and policy institute, will be on the SMU campus.
Haskett said one of his fraternity brothers slept in and missed the 9:30 a.m. class.
"He was recovering from Mardi Gras," Haskett said of his friend. "He was bummed. It was the first class he's missed all year."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.