He was classy.
Ripped for being out of touch, he chose just the right touch.
A man who critics say only mangled his words.
Conjured just the right ones.
I'm not talking about John McCain yesterday.
I'm talking about President Bush today.
McCain gave a classy speech.
The president made a classy gesture.
Offering only good words for the man who repudiated his run of the White House.
But going one better -- inviting Barack and Michelle Obama to the White House.
To see the place, and talk about the place, and the pressures of the place, in private.
These were not empty words. The president took care months ago to put a transition team in place, so that a smooth transfer of power could take place.
President Bush wasn't so lucky when he was coming in.
Maybe things were different then. A lot of ill will then. Lots of hurtful words since then.
He wasn't even running this year but it seemed everyone, including his own party's nominee, was running against him all year.
If he minded, he didn't show it.
I remember even talking to the president on the White House south lawn about it.
"Does it all bug you?," I asked.
"Nah," he said, shrugging his shoulders and adding simply, "I understand."
A man at peace with a nation seemingly at war… with him. Some for good reason, others apparently lacking reason.
He took nothing personally, always handling himself with dignity.
Not by what he said, but precisely what he did not.
I've read that the president is as kind to the elevator operator at the White House as he is a visiting head of state to the White House.
I've seen it myself. Every time I've interviewed him, he sticks around and personally shakes the hands of each member of my crew, and then hangs out for pictures. Lots of pictures.
I know, little things. But to me, big things. That bespeak of a man far bigger than the petty things I see in the press.
Or hear in a harsh campaign year.
That ended today, with a quiet gesture today.
From a president who'd be in his right to wag a finger.
But instead, simply offered his hand.
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