DALLAS (CBSNewYork) — Two former presidents, coming from different sides of the political aisle, took the stage together in Dallas on Thursday night. And it turned out to be less of a faceoff and more of a love fest.
Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush may seem like the a political odd couple, but, as CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, they are actually good friends. It’s something they trace in part to Clinton’s bond with Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush, and his visits to the Bush family home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
“Now, why do I have a friendship with him?” the younger Bush said. “Well, because he’s called ‘a brother with a different mother.’ He hangs out in Maine more than I do.”
Speaking at the Presidential Leadership Scholars graduation ceremony, the 42nd and 43rd presidents exchanged compliments and occasional barbs, but also addressed the politics of today. Clinton said he worries about the polarized state of America.
“We have separated ourselves into like-minded communities,” he said. “We may be less racist, homophobic and sexist and everything, but we don’t want to be around very many people who disagree with us normally.”
Neither mentioned President Donald Trump but seemed to make indirect references, stressing, for example, the need for humility in a commander-in-chief. Like when Bush said he was impressed by Clinton’s humble attitude after beating his father in the 1992 election.
“I think it starts with Bill Clinton being a person who refused to lord his victory over Dad,” Bush said. “In other words, he was humble in victory, which is very important in dealing with other people.”
Said Clinton: “If you want to be president, realize it’s about the people, not about you.”
Bush turned 71 last week, and Clinton will have his 71st birthday next month. Both men treasure their grandkids.
“My grandson just turned a year old on Father’s Day, which means every seven years his father will celebrate Father’s Day on his son’s birthday, which is kind of a nice thing,” Clinton said. “And my almost 3-year-old granddaughter sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him at his party.”
“Can you granddaughter sing ‘Happy Birthday’ in Mandarin?” Bush asked Clinton. “Mine can.”
“No, but she can sing it in Spanish,” Clinton responded.
Clinton sent warm regards for a fast recovery to President Jimmy Carter. The 92-year-old was hospitalized this week due to dehydration.