For example, Bush forged a close relationship with the man who defeated him for re-election, Bill Clinton. Despite the searing pain of his loss, Bush was anything but bitter toward his successor. He was gracious in his exit from the White House, penning a humble and supportive letter, noting that Clinton would be “our president” and that he was “rooting” for him. In their post-presidencies, Bush and Clinton teamed up and traveled the world for good causes, including raising money for disaster relief.
When his son, George W. Bush, won the presidency in that bitterly contested 2000 election, CNN reports, the 41st president called Democrat Al Gore, not to gloat, but to empathize.
Powell noted that Bush is admired today because of “the example he gave to the rest of us of character, of loyalty, of devotion, of humility and humbleness.”
Those qualities are all too often lacking in American life and punished in politics. And, as people look back on Bush’s life and legacy, the people who knew him said there were reasons that Bush specifically was able to succeed in managing something as delicate as the end of the Cold War. They cite those character traits and a life’s worth of experience that prepared him for that moment.
“When I think of George H.W. Bush,” Burns said, “I think of the quintessential president you could admire because of his character, his judgment, the respect that he showed people, the enormous personal integrity. I think of our situation now, and, you know, boy, we were so lucky to have George Bush at that critical moment in history.”