- The Washington Times - Monday, July 15, 2013

For the second time in two weeks, President Obama praised a Republican named Bush.

On Monday, it was former President George H.W. Bush receiving plaudits from Mr. Obama, as the White House hosted a ceremony to honor award recipients from the Points of Light foundation that Mr. Bush helped to create. Mr. Obama credited the former president with having sparked interest in national service.

“Our country is a better and stronger force for good in the world because more and more, we are people that serve,” Mr. Obama said. “And for that we have to thank President Bush and his better half, Barbara, who is just as committed as her husband to service and has dedicated her life to it as well.”

He told the 41st president, “We are surely a kinder and gentler nation because of you and we can’t thank you enough.”

Mr. Bush, 89, said the trip to the White House “is like coming home for Barbara and me.” The former president, who uses a wheelchair, wore red-and-white striped socks for the occasion.

The East Room ceremony honored Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton, a retired couple from Iowa who are the founders of a nonprofit that delivers free meals to children suffering from hunger in more than 15 countries, including the United States. The Daily Point of Light Award was established by Mr. Bush in 1989 as part of his effort to promote volunteer service.

In early July, during a trip to Africa, Mr. Obama praised Mr. Bush’s son, former President George W. Bush, for his efforts in office to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa. During his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, Mr. Obama blamed the younger Mr. Bush for much of the country’s economic problems, and criticized him for abusing his executive powers in the war on terrorism.

The event Monday drew a bipartisan crowd; among those in attendance were House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, and Republican Sens. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.



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