Obama to Bush 41: We are a ‘gentler nation’ because of you
July 15th, 2013
06:37 PM ET
9 months 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. j

    and O will make sure to reverse everything he did to make us better

    July 15, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  2. clayusmcret

    Every time obama's ratings start dropping, he saddles up to a Bush. Interesting.

    July 15, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  3. Craig Eliot

    Obama to Bush 41: "We are a ‘gentler nation’ because of you" Fool! We are more divided than ever because of him, and because of every President since Jimmy Carter who does not ave the guts to overturn the political correctness that sending America into a third-world status.

    July 15, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  4. michaellederman

    Poor Mr. Bush must have had to hold his tongue or tell this abomination what an embarrassment he's been to the office of the presidency.

    July 15, 2013 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  5. penguin

    We may have been a "gentler" nation under the elder Bush' watch, but George W Bush made us a nation known throughout the world as a nation of torturers. Obama has carried on with Bush's policy of indefinite detention and torture (through the continued use of rendition)

    July 15, 2013 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  6. NYNJCT

    I I have respected what Bush 41 had done for American.

    July 15, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  7. What a mess!!

    Yes, and we are NOT a gentler nation because of Obama! In fact, we're in a big, fat mess!

    July 15, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  8. Michael

    Sorry Bush. You were a NWO puppet. We know about you and the cocan on CIA airplanes, and various other crimes you and your family did. Your not a hero.

    July 15, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  9. iambicpentamaster

    Obama IS Bush, only more imperious.

    July 15, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  10. Chris

    I have no problem with the article, but the link to this story from the CNN homepage is one of the most misleading things I've seen on the website of a news organization.

    July 15, 2013 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    "We are surer a kinder and gentler nation because of you," What an illiterate. Right up there with corpseman.

    July 15, 2013 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  12. tired170

    We were a gentler nation with George HW Bush but we have lost that with the divider in chief that we have now

    July 15, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  13. Loathstheright

    Why is Bush's son, the War Criminal not in prison?

    July 15, 2013 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  14. Kevin H

    I have never been a President George H. W. Bush fan, however, I care for him much more than his son. I agreed with the perhaps apocryphal story attributed to the President's wife Barbara who exclaimed, "president of what, George", when responding to the younger George's proclamation that he would be running for President. Of the two I prefer the elder, at least in him there was a bit of honor, and none of the falseness. I'm not sure Bush Sr. volunteered much for anything in his life but at least he attempted to create a veneer of public service.

    July 15, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  15. card51short

    obama and bush like each other's policies? I'm shocked!

    July 15, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  16. Namede

    Guess the propaganda machine is humming.

    July 15, 2013 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  17. Lance

    Mr New World Order and his offspring

    July 15, 2013 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  18. Kirstin Berwald Johnson

    I think there is something we lost between the 'Silent Generation' and the 'Baby Boomers'. Maybe it was the idea that there is more to people than their political affiliation.

    July 16, 2013 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  19. Bill from GA

    Forget it, Barry.
    He ain't gonna name you his 5th son.

    (Or is it 6th? I hardly remembered that 3rd one. Is he the one that ripped of the Federal Government on the Savings & Loan Fiasco??)

    July 16, 2013 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  20. Disavowed 1

    More gentle society because the Police State will become more violent.

    "To bring about a NEW WORLD ORDER, and we will be successful"

    -GW Bush

    July 16, 2013 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  21. Nick

    Class Act

    July 16, 2013 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  22. TheThinker

    What a nice story. Yes the unions and hyper-wealthy are continuing to feed at the public trough, while mindless partisans bicker ad hominum, but meanwhile there will always be good people who volunteer with small acts of kindness. None of us can save this country, but all of us can make it a little bit better. Yay for us goodguys!

    July 16, 2013 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  23. Dr Veruju

    Obama does not want to bite his bosses hand.

    July 16, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  24. apeon

    0 looking for help wherever he can get it!

    July 16, 2013 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  25. smart bob

    Odd thing to say about the former head of the CIA! Once again Obama puts politics as usual above the ideological beliefs of many of his supporters.

    July 16, 2013 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
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