President Barack Obama met with former President George H.W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the Oval Office on Friday, joining in a bipartisan gathering in an election year.
The White House said the three men enjoyed a personal visit in the Oval Office as they have in the past when the former president is visiting Washington.
Obama is scheduled to speak Saturday at the Alfalfa Club dinner, an annual event for Washington's movers and shakers. The former president and his son planned to attend the dinner.
The 87-year-old former president used a wheelchair during the meeting. Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said Bush is in "fine health and he's not in any pain" but has become increasingly reliant upon using a wheelchair and a scooter. "His legs don't work the way he wants them to," McGrath said.
Obama, who succeeded President George W. Bush in the White House, has maintained good relations with the Bush family.
He awarded George H.W. Bush the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor for contributions to society. During the ceremony, Obama called Bush a "gentleman" and said the former president's life has been "a testament that public service is a noble calling."
Last March, Obama joined with Jeb Bush at a Miami high school to tout his education agenda, sounding themes of empowering teachers, demanding accountability and enticing states to raise their academic standards. The former Florida governor has been a champion of education reform.
The Bush family has been courted by Republicans seeking the nomination to challenge Obama. George H.W. Bush told the Houston Chronicle in December that he supported Mitt Romney, telling his hometown newspaper that the former Massachusetts governor exhibited "stability, experience and principles." Neither Jeb Bush nor George W. Bush has endorsed a Republican candidate.
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