Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush came together on Friday to celebrate the graduating class of the 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholars. The PLS program brings together the foundations and libraries of Presidents Lyndon Johnson, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush and brings scholarly research into the American presidency.
While sitting on stage, the two former commanders in chief were asked what the most important quality someone who wants to be president needs to obtain.
Former President Clinton said:
“I also think you have to begin with the end in mind. That is, you have to say, 'Yeah, you've got to win the election, but why in the heck are you running?' [...] If you want to be president, realize it's about the people not about you.”
Clinton continued saying that when a person is done in office, they should be able to look back over their work and see how they've improved people's lives.
Clinton also said that a person does not want to end their time in public service and say, “God look at all the people I beat.”
Something Clinton complimented Bush on was his reasoning for originally running for the governorship of Texas. Clinton said Bush had an agenda rather than just wanting to run in order to attack his opponent, Ann Richards.
Former President Bush answered the question saying:
“Humility. I think it is really important to know what you don't know and listen to people who do know what you don't know.”
Humility is characteristic Clinton agreed with. “I think the most important thing is to be humble, to listen, to realize that everyone's got a story.”
The question ended in a joke between the two presidents over Bush's run in Texas. Bush quipped, “Listen, the only thing you disagreed with in my platform was that Texas ought to take Arkansas.”