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Bill Clinton and George W. Bush shared a glimpse into the friendship between two of the country’s most powerful political families on Monday when they announced the formation of a scholarship program to teach presidential leadership.
The 42nd and 43rd presidents, who have formed a close bond since Clinton ran against George H.W. Bush for president in 1992, revealed that they spoke twice each year during George W. Bush’s second term.
“He asked my opinion, half the time he disagreed with it,” Clinton said at an event to announce the Presidential Leadership Scholars program. The program will take place at four presidential libraries and aims to teach leadership styles to people of all different backgrounds.
Bush even offered advice about grandparenting. Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, and her husband are expecting their first child.
“Get ready also to be like the lowest person in the pecking order in your family,” Bush told his predecessor before an audience at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
“Be prepared to fall completely in love again,” he said. “You’re not going to believe it. You’re just not going to believe the joy and the fun. And I’m looking forward to talking to you after that child is born. … It’s going to be an awesome period for you.”
The two also shared what they each admire about the other’s leadership style.
“He is an awesome communicator, I always admired that,” Bush said of Clinton. “He can really lay out a case and get people all across the political spectrum to listen.”
Clinton said of Bush: “When he decided what he thought was right, he went for it,” and he “consistently benefited from being underestimated, and so did I” during their time in office.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are currently weighing White House runs in 2016. Bush joked that the last time a Clinton and Bush ran against each other, it did not turn out well for his family.
— Andrew Rafferty