A Glimpse at the Remarks of 5 Presidents in Texas | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Coverage of the development and dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the SMU campus.

A Glimpse at the Remarks of 5 Presidents in Texas



    Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the dedication of the Bush Center in Dallas. (Published Thursday, April 25, 2013)

    Jimmy Carter praised George W. Bush's attention to Africa. Bill Clinton joked about his art work. President Barack Obama saluted his attempt to change immigration laws. And George H.W. Bush simply thanked the crowd for honoring his son.

    At times reflective, at others amusing, the current and former presidents took to the stage Thursday in a rare joint appearance to salute a member of their exclusive club. Bush responded with praise for the men and women of his administration and offering a tribute to freedom, ending his remarks emotionally, his voice breaking and wiping away tears as he sat down.

    Carter at Bush Library

    [DFW] Carter at Bush Library
    Carter at Bush Library
    (Published Thursday, April 25, 2013)

    Here are summaries of each their remarks:

    Former President Jimmy Carter

    Elder Bush Speaks at Bush Library Dedication

    [DFW] George H.W. Bush Speaks at Bush Library Dedication
    Former President George H.W. Bush enjoys a day with his son, former President George W. Bush during the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas.
    (Published Thursday, April 25, 2013)

    Carter, whose Carter Center works to resolve conflicts in strife-torn regions of the world, commended Bush for his role in helping secure peace between North and South Sudan in 2005 and for expanding foreign aid to the nations of Africa.

    "Mr. President let me say that I am filled with admiration for you and deep gratitude for you about the great contributions you've made to the most needy people on earth," he said.

    Former President George H.W. Bush

    The elder Bush, the nation's 41st president, has been hospitalized recently for bronchitis and spoke for just a brief minute while seated, thanking guests for coming out to support his oldest son. Attendees rose from their seats, cheering, when the father briefly rose from his seat.

    "Too long?" he appeared to say with a grin to his son. George W. Bush laughed.

    Former President Bill Clinton

    From the start, Clinton was the entertainer. He said Bush's new presidential library was the "latest, grandest example of the eternal struggle of former presidents to rewrite history."

    He said he had spent so much time working with George H.W. Bush in the aftermath of the devastating Asian tsunami in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that people joked he was getting so close to the Bush family that "I had become the black sheep son."

    He referred to Bush's new artistic pursuits, which include self-portraits in the shower and in a bathtub, and said he even considered asking Bush to do a portrait of him, but then demurred. "Those bathroom sketches were wonderful, but at my age I think I should keep my suit on," he said.

    President Barack Obama

    Obama saved special praise for Bush's role in 2006 and 2007 when he unsuccessfully sought to undertake an overhaul of immigration law, an effort Obama is now pursing with Congress.

    "Seven years ago President Bush restarted an important conversation by speaking to the American people about our history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants," Obama said. If an immigration overhaul succeeds this year, Obama said, "it will be in large part thanks for the hard work of President George W. Bush."

    Obama, who has often disparaged Bush's foreign and economic policies, spoke in personal terms about his predecessor. "To know the man is to like the man, because he's comfortable in his own skin."

    President George W. Bush

    Bush offered a special welcome to former Vice President Dick Cheney, saying he "served with loyalty, principle and strength. Proud to call you friend.

    He noted that this is the first time in history that parents have seen their son's presidential library. "Mother," he said. "I promise to keep my area clean."

    He said the deepest conviction that drove his presidency is the belief that the United States "must strive to expand the reach of freedom."

    "I believe that freedom is a gift from God and the hope of every human heart. Freedom inspired our founders and preserved our union through civil war and secured the promise of civil rights. Freedom sustains dissidents bound by chains, believers huddled in underground churches and voters who risk their lives to cast their ballots. Freedom unleashes creativity, rewards innovation and replaces poverty with prosperity. And ultimately, freedom lights the path to peace."

    "One of the benefits of freedom is that people can disagree," he added. "It's fair to say I created plenty of opportunities to exercise that right."

    George W. Bush Presidential Center
    Complete coverage of the development and dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University. All living American presidents are expected to attend the event. Click here for more.