All four living former presidents and President Obama were present at today’s dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas. Here are some of the day’s top moments:
Speaking at the dedication of his son’s presidential library, George H. W. Bush made brief remarks, saying he and Barbara were proud to a part of the event, and joking about the length of his speech. While he appeared in a wheelchair, the elder Bush stood up to applause from the crowd.
Bill Clinton’s remarks were peppered with jokes, including calling himself “the black sheep” of the Bush family, after he’s grown so close to the group. He also quipped about President Bush’s paintings, which include depictions of W. in the shower: ”Those bathroom sketches were wonderful, but at my age I think I should keep my suit.”
President Obama praised Bush’s conviction, leadership, and character in his remarks, saying that ”to know the man is to like the man.”
He also mentioned the current immigration-reform debate, citing the push on that issue during Bush’s presidency. “Even though comprehensive immigration reform has taken a little longer than any of us expected, I am hopeful that this year, with the help of Speaker Boehner and some of the senators and members of Congress who are here today, that we bring it home for our families, and our economy, and our security, and for this incredible country that we love,” he said. ”And if we do that, it will be in large part thanks to all the hard work of President George W. Bush.”
George W. Bush concluded the ceremony by thanking his family, former aides, leaders, and all those in attendance. “In the end, leaders are defined by the convictions they hold,” Bush said. “And my deepest conviction, the guiding principle of this administration, is that the United States of America must drive to expand freedom.”
“As president I tried to act on this principle every day,” Bush later said. “One of the benefits of freedom is that people can disagree. It’s fair to say I created plenty of opportunities to exercise that right,” he laughed.
Bush choked up before stepping away from the podium. “I dedicate this library with unshakable faith in the future of our country,” he concluded. “Whatever challenges come before us, I will always believe our nation’s best days lie ahead. God bless.”