Presidential Friendships

Post Presidential Friendships Of Former Competitors

An interesting phenomenon is the history of post Presidential friendships of former competitors for the Presidency.

Most of the time when candidates, whether in the Presidency or working toward it, compete against each other, there is such “bad blood” that it never dissipates after both of them have left the Presidency.

Examples of “bad blood” remaining are John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson; William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt; Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt; and Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

The only exceptions to this reality had been John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; and Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, with both relationships being well known friendships AFTER the White House years.

But now we can add the developing, strong friendship of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, which was further revealed recently with the publication of letters the elder Bush wrote in praise of Clinton, with the two men becoming very close in their work after the Asian tsunami in 2004. Clinton is clearly seen by Bush as like another son, a part of the Bush family, and the two men have developed a powerful friendship that now can be added to the other two examples of a post Presidential friendship of former competitors.

So the score is now 4-3, still a case of rivalry and distaste by four sets of former Presidential competitors, but now demonstrating three examples of warm relationships when the heat and fire of a campaign wears down, and leads over time to a sense of shared experiences that bring two Presidents close together!