Former President George W. Bush says he likes Michelle Obama and the two have shared a few laughs while attending events.
In an interview with People magazine posted Wednesday, Bush said Obama “kind of likes my sense of humor. Anybody who likes my sense of humor, I immediately like.”
Bush, 70, regularly sat beside Obama, 53, at official events, including Nancy Reagan’s memorial service, an interfaith memorial service for Texas police officers and the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington.
The friendship dates back to former President Barack Obama’s inauguration when Bush took the time to meet the Obamas’ two daughters, Sasha and Malia.
“I can’t remember where else I’ve sat next to her, but I probably have a few wisecracks and she seemed to like it okay,” Bush said in the interview to launch his first art book and exhibition, “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.” “I needle her a little bit and around her, I’m fairly lighthearted.”
Bush said he’d be open to working with the Obamas once they decide what they want to do in their post-presidency.
Bush has spent much of his post-presidency working for wounded warriors, making sure they get health and career assistance to help them make the transition to civilian life. Laura Bush said she thinks the Obamas would be interested in working on that issue as well given Michelle Obama’s work with military personnel, their families and veterans during her tenure as first lady.
“It’s going to take them a while to find their footing and figure out how they’re going to do what they want to do. But if there’s a way to be symbiotic, we’ll do so,” George Bush said.
Bush also has joked about his relationship with his predecessor, Bill Clinton, referring to him as his “brother from another mother.”
“We’re the only baby-boomer presidents. We were both Southern governors and we both like each other. He’s fun to be around. I hope he would say I’m fun to be around. And we’re both grandfathers,” Bush said
Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush worked on several projects with Clinton, despite their bitter 1992 election campaign. In his book, “My Life in Letters and other Writings,” the elder Bush recounted their relationship and described the consideration Clinton showed him as their work in 2005 on the Asian tsunami relief effort.
"You cannot get mad at the guy. I admit to wondering why he can't stay on time, but when I see him interacting with folks my wonder turns to understanding, with a dollop of angst thrown in," Bush wrote. "Clinton is a fascinating character. He has opinions on everything — no matter what. He seems to have a great grasp of history's events and people."
Among the other projects the pair worked on was Haitian relief efforts after the 2010 earthquake, which killed 230,000 people and affected as many as 3 million.