January 17th, 2010
04:18 PM ET
4 years ago

Clinton, George W. Bush reflect on life after the White House

In an interview with CNN, Former President Clinton said he doesn't think you should gratuitously give advice as an ex-president.  Former President George W. Bush said he doesn't miss the limelight.
In an interview with CNN, Former President Clinton said he doesn't think you should gratuitously give advice as an ex-president. Former President George W. Bush said he doesn't miss the limelight.

Washington (CNN) – Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush say they’re in no hurry to give President Obama any advice, notwithstanding all of the challenges and crises Obama’s administration has faced.

“I think once you’ve been president you shouldn’t gratuitously offer any advice to your successor,” said former President Clinton in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “If somebody asked you what you think, you tell them. Otherwise, you just show up when you’re asked to help,” Clinton also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

“It was good to walk back through here,” former President George W. Bush said of his first visit to the White House since President Obama was inaugurated nearly a year ago.

Sitting in a relaxed and comfortable manner after meeting with Clinton and Obama to discuss relief for Haiti, Bush told King, “I frankly don’t miss the limelight. I’m glad to help out, but there’s life after the presidency is what I’ve learned, and I’m going to live it to the fullest, and this is part of living it to the fullest, to help other people.”

Clinton also said that he thought the new administration had handled the situation in Haiti well.

“Look, we had the greatest honor the American people can give, and I think both of us feel a sense of profound gratitude,” Clinton told King. “But President Obama is a, is a gifted man with good people working for him. He’s working hard. And I – you know, I wish him well. Obviously I support him, and I think he had extraordinary taste in his Secretary of State,” Clinton said, eliciting a chuckle from Bush.

“It’s not our role,” Clinton also told King. Obama’s “got a hard enough job without everybody else trying to, you know, give him advice. And I will say this, and I think George agrees with me. [Obama] has been great on this [Haitian relief effort].”

The two former presidents visited the White House Saturday to formally announce their joint effort to spearhead private fundraising for Haitian relief. They sat down for their candid interview with King after joining Obama for the announcement in the White House Rose Garden.

soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Jacq

    I have much respect for both of these men,all politics aside.

    January 17, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. Larry

    George W. (the worst non elected president this country has ever seen) could not possibly have anything to offer a man as intelligent as Obama

    January 17, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. Ryan

    I wouldn't trust either man to tell me the time of day!

    Especially Bush!

    Better to just donate through iTunes or the Red Cross directly. These clowns only delegate to people who "might" know what to do.

    I'm going with the professionals who do this for a living everyday.

    January 17, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. Donna

    Sorry–I am going to take a rare opportunity on a public forum to be able to say that I have always, and still do, have the highest respect and regard for President George W Bush. I think he suffered A LOT of political venom that was allowed to take off thru various media channels, being made to sound factual and legit, and it grew roots from there. I'm glad he and the family are enjoying private life again. He has nothing to be sorry for or ashamed of. "Oh! But what about. . . . . ."?!?!?!? Yeah, well, what about it? All I know above all else is, he got us all thru the worst nightmare we have ever endured. He never hid, he was right out front and center, and at the same time, as strong as he stood for us, his tears were always close. THAT is when I knew for sure I could absolutely trust him with anything.

    January 17, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. wbn

    I notice that (just as he did during his eight years of office) Bush never says a bad word about anybody. He is a class act.

    January 17, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  6. Nimises

    As an american, I have supported every President. Not because of my political views, but my patriotic views. We the People elected them, We the People stand by them. Some represent an individual better than others, but all are legally our Leaders.

    January 17, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  7. Mary

    Democrat or a Republican when we come together we can do great things and I am proud of both Bush and Clinton! I was never a Bush supporter but I must say I am glad to see him in the public eye once again and teaming up with Clinton should make us all proud Americans.

    January 17, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. jpspec

    Many may not consider Bush to be the best president. However, he was a president of principals and should at least be respected and not constantly blamed for everything the Obama does whenever "their" policies are failing.

    January 17, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. Chris C

    Bush is an interesting guy, Clinton is predictable.

    January 17, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. max

    Well, Bush still speaks like a 4th grader, so it's nice to know nothing's changed on that front....

    January 17, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. midwesterner

    God bless our former president's. I'm a Bush republican, but I always liked Clinton as well. They are good and decent men.

    January 17, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. GGGG

    Nice to see them getting along, not being political and helping out the Haitian effort.

    January 17, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  13. Karen Carter

    "I think once you’ve been president you shouldn’t gratuitously offer any advice to your successor,” said former President Clinton in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. - Clinchem, what about criticizing a sitting president like you did to Pres Bush, just for political posturing and nothing else?

    January 17, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
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