Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are launching a new scholars program at four presidential libraries, aiming to help academics and business leaders learn more about presidential leadership.
The 42nd and 43rd presidents spoke at an event Monday at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., to announce the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a partnership between the Clinton, Bush, George H.W. Bush and Lyndon B. Johnson presidential centers.
Clinton and Bush have worked together before. After Haiti's devastating earthquake in 2010, President Barack Obama asked Clinton and the younger Bush to lead a relief effort. And both have been active in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa.
The joint appearance comes as former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are considering their own White House campaigns.
George W. Bush and Bill Clinton's opening act could have been a comedy routine.
The two former presidents traded laughs and friendly banter Monday as they announced the partnership.
With Hillary Rodham Clinton in the audience, Bush joked that he tells people who ask about another Bush-Clinton White House campaign: "The first one didn't turn out too good." Bush was referring to his father's defeat in 1992 by Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton said he and Bush laughed backstage about people coming up to them at restaurants and asking to take "selfie" photos.
Quipped Bush: "At least they're still asking."
"Leadership is always a critical need"
The program will focus on leadership sills, including vision and communication, decision-making, persuasion and influence and coalition building, according to the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
The inaugural class begins February 2015. Online applications will be accepted though Oct. 27.
“Leadership is always a critical need,” Margaret Spellings, president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, said in a statement. “I’m excited about the opportunity that lies before us: a program that will train highly motivated people with a track record of leadership from across all sectors and backgrounds – private, public, non-profit, military and academia – to apply the lessons, concepts and ideas they learn through the program to the complex opportunities and challenges that lie before them.”
Watch the presidents talk about the new program in this video: