Obama to Bush 41: We are a ‘gentler nation’ because of you
July 15th, 2013
06:37 PM ET
10 years 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. dls1

    I just wanna know whats with the socks??

    July 16, 2013 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  2. Fred

    Obama is just a puppet of the Bush Dynasty, holding the fort until Jeb takes over in 2016...the Democrats are fools.

    July 16, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  3. jason

    Uh oh. Obama is going to be thrown under the bus by his supporters now.

    July 16, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  4. Name John Nhan Tran

    God bless all those who have put their lives second to others in work of charity. Thank you for challenging each of us to be good Samaritan too.

    July 16, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  5. susanna

    President Obama's idea of a genrler nation is to bankrup its citizens,wreck our businesses, raise our taxes,tell us how to live our lives and make this nation the laughting stock of the world. Oh yes, and for good mesaure start a major race war. Thanks Mr President

    July 16, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  6. Mr. M

    It's hard to read this tripe and not feel that we've fallen down Alice's rabbit-hole. We have a world in chaos and conflict, with every known principle of justice and sanity turned on it's head, primarily due to the Bush crime family, and we're supposed to believe otherwise and honor this criminal of criminals.

    Not I. Not ever.

    July 16, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  7. mtnman28709

    Ironic how a D can sing the praises of an R ... Shows how little difference there actually is between the parties and how they're both just puppets of the NWO leaders.

    July 16, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  8. Pete

    He always has an ulterior motive – you just can't trust this socialist...

    July 16, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  9. drums45

    They're all i it together!

    July 16, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  10. Jerry

    Wow!!! With Obama, lying and HYPOCRISY know no bounds. My God!!! Now we need his other trained liar/hypocrite (Hillary) to also praise Mr. Buch.

    July 16, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  11. USAF Vet

    Nice article. Perhaps we can just say thanks to former President Bush and thanks to Obama for honoring him and for the Presidents new task force instead of attacking either one and injecting partisan politics into this story!

    July 16, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  12. Cindy

    How sad to see a fine man with dementia.

    July 16, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. Cindy

    Well, there you have it............

    July 16, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. PB

    Well, Bush's approval ratings are higher than Obama's now, so Obama will be seen with him in public to try to sap some of those ratings. What, exactly, does Obama stand for? Everything he promised in his campaign has been neglected. Gitmo? nope. Immigration? nope. Obamacare has even been postponed. Glad I'm not an Obama supporter, or I'd be even more frustrated and disappointed than I am.

    July 16, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  15. Scottoo

    I was appalled that the President's wife would permit those socks. It is not a joke. He was the President. To expose him to ridicule is disgraceful. And, KevinH, it wasn't Bush's mother who asked:"president of what"? It was Jimmy Carter's mother who posed the query to her son, Jimmy hdn he announced he was running for President.. Get your facts straight.

    July 16, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. bigbiz

    How embarassing...the world watches as all the Bushes continue to make fools of themselves.Just recently that other old incoherent RINO Bob Dole was wheeld out so he could criticize the republicans ..and those Dr Suess socks what a clown..OMG!!!

    July 16, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  17. Miles Blahman

    Meh . . . he has an aircraft carrier named after him, multiple TAXPAYER funded buildings, an airport, and made himself tens of millions off of a war his offspring started. He has been paid FAR MORE, and received much more recognition than he deserves. A mediocre President, and never forget . . . he was a cover-up player for the treason that was Iran-Contra. Go away and count ur millions Herbert Herbert.

    July 16, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  18. cntrlfrk

    President Bush is a good man, and was a good leader.

    2 things that will never be said about Obama.


    July 16, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  19. CletusTJudd

    I didn't vote for Bush Sr. 2nd term. I voted for Ross Perot (basically throwing away my vote) and Bill "the groper" Clinton won. Bush Jr. I didn't want a 1st or 2nd term and voted for someone else in the Primaries. I still am glad Gore and Kerry didn't win even though we got Bush. Having said that, as long as the Republican party keeps trotting out these "moderates" that lean left the Republican party will continue to be the loser party.

    July 16, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  20. Mimimama

    Love the socks!

    July 16, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  21. caligula

    "We are surer a kinder and gentler nation because of you," said barack, "and i'm trying to destroy everything you worked for and create a racial divide that will make us more destructive and violent."

    July 16, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  22. Mimimama

    I love the socks!

    July 16, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  23. Bob Dee

    Why does the Bush Family purposely stain their reputation by voluntarily being seen on the same stage as Obama. Obama AND the Democrat Party lied and slandered the Bush Family at every chance. Why do his children permit their father being used by the Democrats? Why?

    July 16, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  24. lorben1

    Progressives (Obama) love Progressive Lite (George Bush)....they are usable tools for the hardline agenda.

    July 16, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  25. JustAGuy

    Mob rule is currently in effect because of Barack Obama.

    July 16, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
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