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See the note George H.W. Bush left for Bill Clinton in the Oval Office

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george hw bush bill clinton
Doug
Mills/AP


  • Former President Bill Clinton shared former President
    George H.W. Bush’s letter to him he found upon entering the
    White House after his 1993 inauguration. 
  • In an article for the Washington Post
    published after Bush’s passing, Clinton shared a photo of a
    hand-written note on White House stationery dated January
    20, 1993. 
  • Bush wrote that he was “rooting hard” for his
    once-political rival and reflected on the “sense of wonder and
    respect” he felt in the Oval Office. 

Former President Bill Clinton shared former President George H.W.
Bush’s letter to him he found upon entering the White House after
his 1993 inauguration. 

In an article for the Washington
Post
published after Bush’s passing, Clinton detailed his
close relationship with his once-political rival and shared a
photo of a hand-written note on White House stationery dated
January 20, 1993. 

The letter reads: 

“Dear Bill,

When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of
wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will
feel that, too.

I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some
Presidents have described.

There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by
criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to
give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or
push you off course.

You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you
well. I wish your family well.

Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for
you.

Good Luck — George”

Leaving notes for the office’s successor is a long-standing
tradition among American presidents, and Clinton said Bush’s note
best captured the “honorable, gracious and decent
man.” 

Clinton described their unlikely friendship that was rooted in
mutual respect even after they faced off for months in the tense
1992 presidential election. Clinton wrote that despite their
disagreements, they respected each other’s opinion because
“honest debate strengthens democracy.” 

Former first lady Hillary Clinton shared the letter on
Instagram in June, saying it made her tear up and signified “the
America we love.” 

As news of Bush’s passing spread Saturday, leaders from across the world
released statements that praised the 41st president for his
civility and deft cooperation with other countries. 

In a separate statement Saturday, Clinton described his memories
of Bush as a kind and loving family man. 

“I will be forever grateful for the friendship we formed,”
Clinton wrote. “From the moment I met him as a young governor
invited to his home in Kennebunkport, I was struck by the
kindness he showed to Chelsea, by his innate and genuine decency,
and by his devotion to Barbara, his children, and their growing
brood.”

Many took the chance to recall Bush’s core belief in
politics as service and the need for civility across
parties. 

“Because you run against each other, that doesn’t mean you’re
enemies,” Bush once said, as is recalled in several obituaries published Saturday.
“Politics doesn’t have to be uncivil and nasty.”
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