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[Op-Ed] Clinton-Bush Fund

Posted January. 19, 2010 08:33,   


In 1992, U.S. President George H.W. Bush failed in his reelection bid by losing to Bill Clinton, becoming the first U.S. president not to win a second term since Jimmy Carter in 1980. With their election campaigns heating up, Bush called Clinton a “bozo” while the latter hit back by calling the incumbent chief executive “unreliable.” When George W. Bush took office in 2001, his antipathy for his father’s political enemy was partially the reason why the junior Bush grew obsessed about doing “anything but Clinton.”

So does this mean the Bush family hates Clinton with passion? Hardly. In May last year, Clinton and the junior Bush praised each other at a Toronto forum. The junior Bush talked about how his mother treated Clinton like a son, adding that he and Clinton were like brothers. Clinton also spoke highly of the junior Bush’s achievements as president. The forum’s audience might have expected a war of words between the two men, but this never materialized.

The reconciliation between the Bushes and Clinton was apparently sparked by the 2004 Asian tsunami. The junior Bush, who was then president, named his father and Clinton co-chairmen of a private committee to raise funds for the victims. The elder Bush and Clinton toured Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka to encourage Americans to make donations. They also joined hands to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Time magazine named the two “partners of the year” the same year.

This time around, the junior Bush and Clinton are helping relief efforts for Haitian earthquake victims. When they went to the White House at the invitation of President Barack Obama Saturday, the two former presidents asked the American people to donate money to help Haitians.

Their joint Web site (www.clintonbushhaitifund.org) has received 76,000 donations. The former presidents have overcome their past animosity and joined hands to help those in despair and warm the hearts of the global village. What do former Korean presidents think when they see the junior Bush and Clinton shake hands in friendship?

Editorial Writer Bhang Hyeong-nam (hnbhang@donga.com)