NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – George W. Bush shed a sentimental tear. Barack Obama mused about the burdens of the office. Bill Clinton dished out wisecracks. Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush chimed in, too, on a rare day of harmony at the dedication of the younger Bush’s presidential library that glossed over the hard edges and partisan divides of five presidencies spanning more than three tumultuous decades.
“To know the man is to like the man,” Obama declared of his Republican predecessor, speaking Thursday before a crowd of 10,000 at an event that had the feel of a class reunion for the partisans who had powered the Bush administration from 2001 to 2009. Dick Cheney was there in a white cowboy hat. Condoleezza Rice gave shout-outs to visiting dignitaries. Colin Powell and Karl Rove were prominent faces in the crowd.
Presidential historian Terry Golway is an author and a professor at the Kean University Center for History, Politics and Policy.
“What stood out to me was the sense of camaraderie among these politicians who really do have very different world views and very different opinions. And yet, it does really go to show that only a president can really understand what another president has been through,” Golway told WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot.