In a rare event, all five living U.S. Presidents converged today for the official opening of George W. Bush’s presidential library in Dallas, Texas.
Bush, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter were cheered by a crowd of former White House officials and world leaders.
They were joined on stage by their wives – the nation’s current and former first ladies (below) – at the outdoor ceremony on a sunny Texas morning.
The leaders were putting aside the profound ideological differences that have divided them for years for a day of pomp and pleasantries for Bush, 66.
As the George W. Bush Presidential Center opens, with it comes an unofficial return to the public eye for a man whose presidency was so polarizing.
Presidential politics also hung over the event.
Before the ceremony even began, former First Lady Barbara Bush made waves by brushing aside the building Jeb Bush 2016 presidential buzz.
“We’ve had enough Bushes,” said Mrs. Bush, the spouse of George H.W. Bush and mother of George W. Bush, in an interview with NBC’s Today.
Yet the man of the hour George W. Bush, openly talked up the presidential prospects of his brother in an interview that aired Wednesday on ABC:
“He doesn’t need my counsel, because he knows what it is: ‘Run.'”
What happens then is a topic for another day. This one was about George W. Bush’s presidency and the interactive exhibits housed to commemorate it.
Major events such as 9/11, the financial bailout, the Iraq War and the international focus on HIV and AIDS, are all prominently displayed at the venue.
Bush says he is comfortable with the decisions he made while in office and hopes history will be a fair judge. His successor will likely reflect similarly one day.
For now, though, in a reminder of his duties as Oval Office inhabitant, President Obama is already off to honor members of the Texas fertilizer plant explosion.