For all their differences, Bush and Clinton have something in common as they decide how to approach this election season: an awareness that their family name is on the line, along with their presidential legacies.
Two of the potential presidential candidates most often mentioned for 2016 are former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the brother and son of two ex-presidents, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose husband is said to be eager to see her make another bid for his old job.
As he indicated in his speech on Tuesday, Bush appears to be enjoying a retirement in which he maintains a busy speaking schedule, although his remarks are rarely open to the public. He is building a presidential center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas that will include his library and an institute focusing on education reform, global health, human freedom and economic growth.
Bush made it clear soon after he left office that he had little appetite for electoral politics — or, unlike some former presidents, for meddling with those who followed him in the White House.
In “The President’s Club,” a recently published book on that exclusive society of those who have known what it is like to preside in the Oval Office, Time magazine journalists Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy wrote of a White House lunch of former presidents that Bush arranged, at Obama’s request, shortly before the current president was inaugurated.
It was the first time all the living presidents had gathered at the White House since a ceremony marking Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s death in 1981.
“The conversation turned less on policy and politics than simply on the difficulty of making a home in Washington,” the two authors wrote.
And Bush expressed his hope that Obama would succeed, saying: “All of us who have served in this office understand that the office transcends the individual.”
Polling director Jon Cohen and research editor Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.