DALLAS — President Obama praised former President George W. Bush on Thursday for standing tough in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and for his early support for immigration reform, drawing strong allusions to his current challenges as he paid tribute to his predecessor.
Speaking at the dedication of the Bush presidential library, Obama said that walking through the building a few minutes before had reminded him “of the incredible strength and resolve that came through that bullhorn as he [Bush] stood amid the rubble and ruins of ground zero, promising to deliver justice to those who had sought to destroy our way of life.”
Obama recalled Bush’s efforts to work with Democrats and his early calls for immigration reform, an effort Obama hopes to finally achieve this year. “If we do that, it will be in large part thanks to the hard work of President George W. Bush,” Obama said.
The remarks came as former presidents and their wives got together for the dedication of the presidential library and museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University. The crowd applauded as Obama and the former presidents emerged and took the stage together, and as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice introduced an array of Bush-era world leaders and governors. Former Vice President Dick Cheney got a standing ovation when he crossed the stage wearing a 10-gallon hat.