Cold as Ice

Bush, Obama Relationship on the Outs

President Obama has pretty much no relationship with his predecessor, George W. Bush. Obama called Bush a few hours before he gave his Oval Office address Tuesday about the end of combat operations in Iraq. It had been seven months since the two talked and the conversation was short and perfunctory. 43 and 44 sat together for a briefing on Haiti after the current president asked the former one to work with Bill Clinton to raise aid for the earthquake-ravaged country. They didn’t even speak at Sen. Ted Kennedy’s funeral in August 2009. The icy relations are likely caused by the tough politics of the moment, with Obama warning voters that electing Republicans would bring back the policies of the Bush years. Obama doesn’t mention Bush’s name, but the dig is clear when the president says he inherited two wars and a battered economy. Other presidents have become the best of friends—Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, Clinton and George H.W. Bush—but aides say those relationships don’t develop until late in a presidency, when office-holders realize a veteran might be able to help them.