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George W. Bush cheers Jenna Bush Hager’s first day hosting ‘Today’

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - January 8, 2017 Jenna Bush Hager arriving at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards
Jenna Bush Hager started her new job co-hosting the “Today” show’s fourth hour on Monday.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Jenna Bush Hager launched NBC’s “Today With Hoda and Jenna” on Monday with a little help from her dad, former President George W. Bush.

W. sent his daughter well wishes, along with her mother and mother-in-law, as she took over fourth-hour, co-hosting duties from Kathie Lee Gifford, whose last day on the show was last Friday.

“Hey, Jenna, your old dad here on film to tell you how much I love you and how proud I am of you. I know you’ll do a fabulous job,” he said.

Keeping with the fourth-hour tradition of tears, Hager, 37, began crying, and the tissue box belatedly dropped from the ceiling to wipe away her tears.

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The hosting duo also tried out a new pregame catchphrase, settling on “Let’s go, y’all” to kick things off. It did not go as planned, prompting Hager to say, “So far, we’re off to an OK start.”

Several of her other family members, including twin sister Barbara Bush, were also featured in a video montage celebrating the former “Today” correspondent and contributor’s new post. Hager has frequently been a fill-in host during the freewheeling hour.

Gifford, who left her longtime perch to focus on her feature film, music and book projects, also tweeted her approval, writing, “Congratulations @JennaBushHager !!So happy for you.”

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