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1 Obama And George H W Bush on Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:41 pm



Obama, George H.W. Bush Unite To Support Volunteerism
Some issues, it seems, still transcend America's increasingly bitter partisan divide.
Reporter: CNN

Some issues, it seems, still transcend America's increasingly bitter partisan divide.

President Obama attended a community service forum at Texas A&M University on Friday hosted by one of his Republican predecessors, former President George H.W. Bush.

Obama took the opportunity to emphasize that, regardless of partisan politics, the government can only do so much with the challenges facing Americans.

"We face threats to our health, our climate and, of course, our security that have left many of our young people wondering what kind of future they will be leaving for their own kids," Obama told the audience, which including the former president and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. "Anyone here thinks that our government always has the solutions, President Bush and I will be the first to tell you that you'll be sorely disappointed."

"The government can build the best school, with the best teachers, but we can't run the PTA ... we can pass the most comprehensive health care reform bill, but Congress can't be on the ground in our communities caring for the sick and helping people lead healthy lives."

The two leaders met at Bush's presidential library to celebrate almost two decades of work from the Points of Light Institute, which was founded with Bush's encouragement in 1990 to "encourage and empower the spirit of service," according to the group's Web site.

The Institute takes its name from Bush's 1989 inaugural address, where he referenced "a thousand points of light ... all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the nation, doing good."

Obama lauded the former president's lifetime of service -- from his enlistment at 18 to his community work during retirement -- noting that Bush was the first president to create a White House office devoted to promoting volunteer work. The president said Bush's legacy of service affected the life of his own family.

"It's a vision that's changed lives across this country, including that of a young woman who went to work for an organization called Public Allies to prepare young people for public service careers -- an organization initially funded by the Bush administration," Obama said. "Her experience there inspired her to devote her own life to serving others, and that young woman happens to be my wife, Michelle Obama."

Obama latched onto the community service theme during last year's presidential campaign. He signed a measure in April designed to strengthen national community service efforts by boosting federal funding for thousands of volunteers in fields ranging from clean energy to health care and education.

The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, renamed to honor the late senator's sponsorship of the measure, will more than triple the number of positions in the AmeriCorps program, from 75,000 to 250,000, by 2017.

"Our government can help to rebuild our economy ... [but] we need Americans willing to mentor our eager young children, or care for the sick, or ease the strains of deployment on our military families," Obama said when signing the bill into law.

The law created four national service corps and launched several other initiatives, including, among other things, a "Summer of Service" program to spur greater community outreach by middle- and high-school students. Older Americans were encouraged to volunteer more through the creation of a "Silver Scholars" program, under which individuals 55 and older who perform 350 hours of service receive a $1,000 award.

The law increased the existing AmeriCorps educational stipend offered to volunteers to $5,350 -- the same amount as the maximum Pell college grant.

Some critics have contended the measure, expected to cost roughly $6 billion over the next five years, is fiscally irresponsible in light of the current economic downturn. They also argue that the concept of volunteerism is undermined by providing financial compensation for community service.

Points of Light Institute CEO Michelle Nunn, however, praised the legislation for encouraging people to "volunteer their time and talents to positively impact the nation's largest problems."

Published: Oct 18, 2009
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VIDEO: George H.W. Bush 'Ass Email' Freudian Slip Gets Texas A&M Laughs
by Ann Warren

Former President George H.W. Bush spoke eloquently at Friday's celebration of his Points Of Light program at Texas A&M University - except for the part where he didn't! (VIDEO)

Give the elder statesman a break, he meant to say "Mass" email but it came out "Ass" email, which for some of us is a much more appropriate metaphor for the bothersome bulk emails.

Bush Sr. then laughed at his own slip, and asked not to be identified as a spammer. See the video of the misspoken word and genuine laughter below.

President Barack Obama was also present for the speech, and praised Bush-41 during the Texas trip, saying that former President George H.W. Bush had 'inspired him and millions of other Americans to undertake public service.'

Visiting Bush's home state of Texas for the first time as president, Obama
said Bush showed the "extraordinary ripple effect that one life lived humbly, with love for one's county and in service to one's fellow citizens, can have," The Dallas Morning News reported.

Obama spoke at Texas A&M University at a celebration of the Points of Light Institute, which traces its origins to Bush's 1989 inauguration speech, when he called for volunteers to become "a thousand points of light."

"He didn't call for one blinding light shining from Washington. He didn't just call for a few bright lights from the biggest nonprofits," Obama said. "He called for a vast galaxy of people and institutions working together to solve problems in their own backyards."

When Bush introduced Obama, he told the audience he had met him for the first time in 2005 in Houston when the city was packed with New Orleans residents who had fled Hurricane Katrina. Obama, then the junior senator from Illinois, was there to help, not to grab headlines, Bush said.

"I could quickly see that he was someone who genuinely cared about helping others," Bush said.

Here is Bush' little slip-up and usual self-effacing demeanor:

George H.W. Bush's Introduction of Obama in Texas by Today with President Obama

It's nice to hear Bush call Obama "our President." It's always refreshing when a republican is decent. At Bush's Points of Light event at Texas A&M, he had some kind words for Obama: See Obama's speech here. Read More
Obama's Speech at Points of Light in Texas by Today with President Obama

Obama honors George H.W. Bush at Bush's Points of Light event on public service at Texas A&M. Obama also praises defense secretary Robert Gates. He speaks of the value of a public service mindset. See Bush's introduction of Obama here. Read More
Secretary Of Defense Bill Gates Will Stay On For Awhile In New Obama Administration by POTUS Barack Obama

So far, President Elect Obama has done all the right things when it comes to selecting the people he wants to be surrounded by when he becomes the 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2009. Among those smart choices is the retention of... Also a video> but didn't have a embed

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