Obama to Bush 41: We are a ‘gentler nation’ because of you
July 15th, 2013
06:37 PM ET
1 year ago

Obama to Bush 41: We are a ‘gentler nation’ because of you

(CNN) – It was a homecoming for former President George H.W. and former first lady Barbara Bush at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. on Monday where they joined President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, in presenting the Points of Light honor for extraordinary work in community service.

The Points of Light Foundation, now the world's largest service organization coordinating volunteer projects, started during the Bush administration. The 41st president serves as the non-partisan, non-profit foundation's honorary chairman and his son, Neil Bush, is the president.

Obama thanked the former president for his long legacy of community service.

"In addition to this award, he created the first White House office dedicated to promoting volunteerism, and he championed and signed the National and Community Service Act,” Obama said.

The law helped jumpstart AmeriCorps, a federal program that places volunteers in a variety of nonprofit organizations around the country.

Obama credited Bush with setting off a sea change of volunteerism among Americans.

"Volunteerism has gone from something some people do some of the time to something lots of people do as a regular part of their lives," the president said.

"We are surer a kinder and gentler nation because of you," he added.

The two presidents welcomed the 5,000th award recipients Kathy Hamilton and Floyd Hammer, co-founders of a leading national charity called Outreach, and commended them for extraordinary volunteer work.

"Thank you for this incredible award," Ms. Hamilton said. "Not in our wildest dreams did we ever plan to be here or ever imagined receiving this award."

The Outreach organization works to provide safe water, food, medical care and education to children and those in need, both at home and abroad.

"We're from Union, Iowa, which is a town of only 394 people – and it's amazing that a handful of people from this small town can make such a big difference,” Hammer said.

According to one of the co-founders, they have donated 232 million meals so far.

"The more of us who are making a difference, the better this world will be,” Hammer added.

Obama continued Monday's charity theme with an announcement of his new task force that will “take a fresh look at how we can better support national service in schools; recovering from disasters and mentoring our kids."

The task force will be led by a team of representatives from his Cabinet agencies and led by Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

As for Bush, he said he will continue to be able to express his commitment to highlighting volunteerism and community service in America through his Points of Light Foundation.

The 89-year-old former president has battled health problems. He had been hospitalized this past winter suffering complications related to bronchitis.

Bush also has a form of Parkinson's disease that affects his legs and requires him to use a wheelchair.

His last public appearance was at the opening of his son President George W. Bush's presidential library in April.


Filed under: George H.W. Bush • President Obama • White House
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    First Bush is o.k.

    July 15, 2013 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Prezence

    Old Bush smart. Young Bush questionable.

    July 15, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  3. obama2012

    George W. Obama praising his dad...

    July 15, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. bobloblaw2.0

    It's a shame, in this case, the apple fell far from the tree...and hit every branch on the way down.

    July 15, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  5. greg

    If former and current Presidents from different party's can see the bigger picture why can't congress do the same.
    Maybe if they would not worry about being re-elected and do what they were elected for we live in a better country

    July 15, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  6. Kzooresident

    Wasn't that long ago that they were mocking him for the Thousand Points of Light concept and now it's suddenly politically expedient to praise him. Simply revolting.

    July 15, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  7. coderjones

    wow
    just lost any respect for obama

    July 15, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  8. PJ

    Great picture of two very nice men, who happen to be President and former President. If Mrs. Bush was in the
    picture, along with Mrs. Obama, it would be even better.
    Bless his heart!

    July 15, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  9. Patrick in Minnesota

    And I'm sure Republicans will find some ridiculous incoherent way to spin this against Obama. They always find a way...

    July 15, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  10. Logic N LA

    Politics aside- the remaining Presidents all seem to respect each other. Why can't Congress learn to do this? Respect would open their eyes and allow them to listen to one another and not just political babble.

    July 15, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  11. truthteller

    I think most people think Bush 41 was a decent guy. His Son, not so much.

    July 15, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. Craig Adams MD

    Pres Obama is a class act– just like both Bush's....

    July 15, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  13. remember

    Neil Bush, is the president
    what is his annual pay?

    July 15, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  14. TNPatriot

    Neil Bush President of this charity? Isn't this the SAME son that was investigated and fined for his illegal activities in the theft of $1B from Silverado Banking, while 'Dad' was running for President of the U.S.

    July 15, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  15. kamarasune

    You've got to be kidding me. If you people can't see that they've all been in bed together all this time I don't know what will open the American peoples eyes....

    July 15, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  16. Mike

    What a great guy! What a good man.

    July 15, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  17. centerextremist

    H.W....one of the last true statesmen.

    July 15, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  18. RDH

    There are no republicans and there are no democrates there is just special interests and they own everyone in the game. Long ago corrupt men realized that if given a choice between to polar opposites the people would just bicker amoungst themselves and they would be able to rule as they pleased. Don't fall for the left/right liberal/conservative divide and conquer tactics of these corrupt politicians, we the people have much more in common then you think.

    July 15, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  19. piodalcin

    as a former CIA chief he probably did a lot of rotten things including helping W bush to win elections when he should have not. No Obama, I don't think America is gentler because of him. If you like to say that for you to be gentle that is fine, but do not include all Americans who have suffered cause of N 41 and 42

    July 15, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  20. smdahl

    In 1990, federal regulators filed a $200-million lawsuit against Neil Bush and other officers of the Silverado Banking, accusing them of “gross negligence” contributing to its $1 billion collapse. “Our conclusion is that Silverado was the victim of sophisticated schemes and abuses by insiders and of gross negligence by its directors and outside professionals,” FDIC Senior Deputy General Counsel Douglas H. Jones said in a statement.

    Bush was reprimanded by the Office of Thrift Supervision for “multiple conflicts of interest” as a paid director of the S&L, including his approval of $132 million in loans from Silverado to two business partners

    July 15, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  21. porthos01

    Bush Senior was an outstanding person in general compared to his son, or even Reagan. I wish him the best, and would even stop by a memorial to him sometime. I

    July 15, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  22. Veritas Lavinga

    Looks a lot like Robin Williams, anyways, great president–could use one like him today...

    July 15, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  23. SLRSEKAN

    I have nothing against Bush41. He did an okay job given the lack of technology we have in today's society. He had a few gaffaw moments like puking but he meant well. It was his moronic son that couldn't put two sentences together, always having this goofy dimwit charisma about him.

    July 15, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    why is he sucking up to the bushes?

    July 15, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  25. z2cents

    Bush 1 was a much better human being than Bush 2. That said, Bush 2 is a much better man than any of the existing GOP leadership.

    July 15, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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