“President Bush was very gracious to us during the transition, and he has been unfailingly gracious and respectful since,” said David Axelrod, a former adviser to Mr. Obama. He recalled the president telling him that the Bushes “had taught him lessons in how to be a former president.”
Mr. Bush has studiously avoided criticizing Mr. Obama or his policies. And Mr. Bush has lent his presence to occasions that meant a lot to the president, like the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march in Selma, Ala., when Mr. Obama delivered what some believe was the finest speech of his presidency, on race relations in the United States. Mrs. Obama sat next to Mr. Bush on that day, too, frequently leaning over to talk or share a laugh with him.
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