When it was announced that former president George W. Bush and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be traveling with President Barack Obama to South Africa to attend the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, there were many who wished they could be a fly on the wall of Air Force One.
Through the power of social media, we get to be just that.
Several photos taken by White House photographer Pete Souza aboard the 16-hour flight to Johannesburg and uploaded to Twitter show the president and his predecessor in a relaxed atmosphere. In one, Obama and Bush ham for the camera as a smiling Michelle Obama looks on.
In another, Bush, using an iPad, shows off photos of his paintings to the first lady, Clinton, national security adviser Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett and Attorney General Eric Holder.
Bush and Obama aboard Air Force One (via White House) pic.twitter.com/7kFTdzTQsp— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) December 11, 2013
The trip was slightly less historic than it could've been. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter were invited to join the group, but they traveled to the event separately. George H.W. Bush, the only other living former U.S. president, was unable to attend. But he did join Twitter just in time to issue a tweet extending his condolences.
Barbara and I wish we could have joined the U.S. delegation honoring President Mandela today. He, and his countrymen, are in our prayers.— George Bush (@GeorgeHWBush) December 10, 2013
Other photos taken by Souza in Johannesburg show behind-the-scenes images of Obama at the memorial service.
Pres Obama in tunnel of soccer stadium before taking stage at Nelson Mandela memorial service in South Africa pic.twitter.com/m7YiG6MgZf— petesouza (@petesouza) December 10, 2013
You can view the entire slide show here.