Biggest Bill Clinton Fan: George W. Bush
Mark Wilson/Getty Images/Newscom
Politics sure make strange bedfellows, as evidenced by Monday's love-in at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, when Republican President George W. Bush welcomed his Democratic predecessor, Bill Clinton, at the unveiling of the Clintons's official White House portrait in the East Room.
In fact, the two could not have been friendlier, with Bush – acknowledging his predecessor's "charm and intellect" and the "far-ranging knowledge" Clinton brought to the office – even plugging Clinton's upcoming book. By all accounts, the event was warm, friendly and joke-filled.
"As you might know," said Bush, whose dad had been defeated by Clinton in the 1992 election, "my father and I have decided to call each other by numbers. He's 41, I'm 43. It's a great honor to – it's a great pleasure to honor No. 42. We're glad you're here 42."
An appreciative Clinton, accompanied by his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, their daughter, Chelsea, and her boyfriend, Ian Klaus, was even complimented for their personal lives. Said Bush of Chelsea: "The fact that she survived her teenage years in the White House speaks well for the fact that she had a great mom and dad."
"The years have done a lot to clarify the strengths of this man," Bush said of Clinton, citing the 42nd president's "incredible strength," "great personal appeal," "great compassion for people in need and the forward-looking spirit the Americans like in a president."
Listing Clinton's accomplishments, Bush paused and said, "I can tell you more of the story, but it's coming out in fine bookstores all over America" – next week, in fact, when Clinton's My Life will be published.
Said Clinton: "The President, by his generous words to Hillary and me today, has proved once again that in the end, we are held together by this grand system of ours."
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