Former presidents come together to honor graduates

Two former presidents were in Dallas and on stage together.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush honored a distinguished group of scholars Thursday night who graduated from a program the two started together. The bipartisan duo seemed to really connect with the audience.

The two men, once political rivals but now fast friends, were greeted by a standing ovation at the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the SMU campus. They honored 60 people from a variety of educational and ethnic backgrounds who are committed to tackling society's greatest challenges.

“There’s a good chance we are were looking at a future president from the 60 graduates here,” Bush said.

Students of the distinguished group are now graduates of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program that was started by the two former presidents sent back into the world to bring about positive change.

During a Q&A session, both presidents talked about what motivated them to get into politics.

“I was taught to listen and to look, and I really think that's what it is,” Clinton said. “I always thought I’d have a better life if I could somebody else have a better life too.”

“I don’t think I would’ve ever run for governor had he not beat dad in 1992,” Bush said.

Mr. Clinton and Mr. Bush also talked about America's future and the challenges any president is bound to face trying to bring Americans together.

“What bothers me most about our future — we have separated ourselves into like-minded communities,” Clinton said. “We may be less racist, homophobic and sexist, but we don’t want to be around people who disagree with us.”

Bush also gave some advice to anyone who may want to be president someday.

“Humility,” he said. “I think it’s important to know what you don’t know and listen to those who know what you don’t know.”

Both Bush and Clinton said being presidents at a relatively young age was a benefit and allowed them to continue to bring about change well after their presidency.