Watch President Bill Clinton speak at the Dedication of the George W. Bush Library


[APPLAUSE] BILL CLINTON: Thank you very much, President and Mrs. Bush, and President and Mrs. Obama, President and Mrs. Carter, all the representatives here of the other previous presidents the Ford, Nixon, and Johnson families I told President Obama that this was the latest, grandest example of the eternal struggle of former presidents to rewrite history. [LAUGHTER] And I want to take my hat off to President Bush this is a beautiful library. The exhibits are great. The work of the Bush Institute is inspiring. And I congratulate him on the platinum LEEDs rating for his library I think this is the second building in the entire federal system that has it And I want to say, Mr. President, once again you got the better of me. Twice in the last few weeks. [LAUGHTER] My library has a platinum LEEDS rating but it was open for a few years before we could afford to achieve it. And you beat me to be a grandfather. [LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE] And I congratulate you and Laura for it. [APPLAUSE] I, ummm… [APPLAUSE] You know, starting with my work with President George H.W. Bush on the Tsunami and the aftermath of Katrina People began to joke that I was getting so close to the Bush family I had become the black sheep son. [LAUGHTER] My mother told me not to talk too long today. [LAUGHTER] And Barbara, I will not let you down. [LAUGHTER] There is one other connection I have that I think is largely unknown which is that a couple of times a year, in his second term, George Bush would call me just to talk politics. And a chill went up and down my spine when Laura said that all their records were digitized. [LAUGHTER] Dear God, I hope there’s no record of those conversations in this vast and beautiful building. [LAUGHTER] I want to say, as President Carter did I was impressed that President Bush invites us to make different decisions if we choose on the decisions he was facing. It’s one of the most interesting things about this library. I want to talk about a couple of other things that are beyond controversy. First, I want to thank President Bush for passing PEPFAR. No president of my party could have passed that through the Congress. And, I work all over Africa with our health access initiative in AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, building health systems. I have personally seen the faces of some of the millions of people who are alive today because of it. [APPLAUSE] And I want to thank President Obama for continuing it and increasing it. [APPLAUSE] I want to thank you and Laura for continuing your work in global health. I want to thank you for your efforts when president to reform our immigration system and keep America a nation of immigrants and I hope the Congress will follow President Obama’s efforts to follow the example you set. [APPLAUSE] And I thank you for that. [APPLAUSE] And I want to thank you for the work we did together in the aftermath of Haiti, the poorest country in our hemisphere. We have closed our fund. I believe in working yourself out of a job. But we helped a lot of people start businesses which are now thriving. And we gave the country the first home mortgage system it ever had. So I thank you for that, Mr. President. [APPLAUSE] I can’t, I probably shouldn’t say this, but I’m going to anyway. Your mother showed me some of your landscapes and animal paintings, and I thought they were great. [LAUGHTER] Really great. And I seriously considered calling you and asking you to do a portrait of me. [LAUGHTER] Until I saw the results of your sister’s hacked emails. [LAUGHTER] Those bathroom sketches were wonderful [LAUGHTER] But at my age, I think I should keep my suit. [LAUGHTER] I like President Bush. Even–an–we do a lot of speeches together. And I like it when we have disagreements. He’s disarmingly direct. We were having an argument over healthcare in one of these speeches and I went on about the German healthcare system and he said “I don’t know a thing about the German healthcare system.” [LAUGHTER] I think he probably won the argument. [LAUGHTER] We are here to celebrate a country we all love. A service we all rendered. And debate and difference is an important part of every free society. By asking us to join him in the decisions he made and inviting us to make different ones if we choose he has honored that deepest American tradition For all of these things, as an American citizen, I am very grateful. GEORGE BUSH: Good job, Buddy. [APPLAUSE]

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