From 1988 to 2008, either a Bush or Clinton ran the White House. When President Obama’s term ends in 2017, will America see the pattern settle back in?
The 2016 presidential election could be a match-up between Democratic and Republican nominees Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, a piece of performance art that could stir up voters into a frothing frenzy over trivial differences between the two candidates.
They might be sniping at one another now, but the two families’ relationship could be described as warm and fuzzy, when there’s not a race to run. Jeb honored Hillary at the National Constitution Center by awarding her “The Liberty Medal” — on the eve of the attack on the Benghazi embassy that left a U.S. ambassador dead and questions about Hillary’s response unanswered.
“Former Secretary Clinton has dedicated her life to serving and engaging people across the world in democracy. These efforts as a citizen, an activist, and a leader have earned Secretary Clinton this year’s Liberty Medal,” Bush said in a statement.
She also praised Jeb at that event: “[T]oday, Jeb and I are not just renewing an American tradition of bipartisanship; we’re keeping up a family tradition as well,” she said, according to The Hill. “We also share something that is far more important than any of our political differences: We both love this country and we believe in the wisdom of our founders and the Constitution.”
Hillary added that her husband loves Bush 41’s company and feeling like he’s a part of the Bush dynasty.
“Now, 41 and 42, as they sometimes call each other, are — let’s face it — the classic odd couple of American politics. They just had one of their annual play-dates up in Kennebunkeport this past week,” Clinton said. “Barbara Bush has even started referring to Bill as her adopted son, sometimes as the adopted black sheep son. I don’t know how Jeb and his siblings feel, but I know Bill loves it because of his great admiration and affection for 41 and all that they have done together,” she said.
Jeb can’t feel too antagonistic toward the Clintons: One of his for-profit education companies paid Hillary $225,000 to give a speech in 2014.
As New York Magazine extensively documents, the two families became close after both Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush left the White House, especially after Clinton and Bush took a humanitarian trip to Asia in 2005 after a horrific tsunami wiped out tens of thousands of people in 11 different countries.
“You cannot get mad at the guy,” Bush 41 wrote in a 2005 letter. “I admit to wondering why he can’t stay on time, but when I see him interacting with folks my wonder turns to understanding, with a dollop of angst thrown in. Clinton is a fascinating character. He has opinions on everything — no matter what. He seems to have a great grasp of history’s events and people.”
Likewise, George W. Bush bonded with Bill when they both flew to Haiti to help the victims of a 2010 earthquake.
“It means that Bill and I are going to have to have some interesting things to talk about. Look, I’ll still like him when Jeb beats Hillary,” Bush 43 told Sean Hannity in 2014.
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