5 Living U.S. Presidents Unite for Bush-43 Presidential Library Dedication

Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush join Bush-43 and President Obama for ceremony.
3:00 | 04/25/13

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Transcript for 5 Living U.S. Presidents Unite for Bush-43 Presidential Library Dedication
It is a rite of passage every president since FDR. Former president George W. Bush is back in the spotlight today at least briefly for the dedication of his presidential library. At southern Methodist university in Dallas. Today will be one of the few times we've seen and will see all five living presidents together on the same stage. President Barack Obama and the First Lady flew into Dallas yesterday. And will join former President Bill Clinton -- George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter for the dedication. The library is a 23. Acre complex at Southern Methodist University the museum portion of the library. Covers all of major events of the bush presidency and the central feature an -- Has been somewhat distant from politics more so than his predecessors. The library dedication is renewing questions. About President Bush's legacy and raising new ones about his role after the White House. Gonna take you now live for the dedication ceremony. Of the bush presidential library just. -- -- -- -- -- -- Mr. Michael -- We have standing by ABC's chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl who is there in Dallas -- done. -- -- -- -- And doing well John thanks so much to look like a lovely day marry without someone asking president George W. Bush -- Stayed out of the spotlight pretty much since his rather unpopular presidency ended that this library dedication is certainly bringing up. Questions about his legacy isn't it. First of all just say you know extraordinary day here in Dallas this is one of those few times. Together all the surviving presence in -- Five. People here today who have sat in. The United States and you just don't see very often returned to President Bush. It's extraordinary the way he has basically forming the radar. Not wanting to -- -- and -- all. On -- politics not wanting to second guess his successor he's done up several interviews now. Would -- opening up this library an institute and museum. In those interviews -- -- -- ask questions about it about his own legacy about the president Obama's policies about controversial issues that he had. But a major player -- like immigration. He doesn't weigh -- he wants to be out of the political world. This institute is his chance of course. To present his legacy but what it's still in -- way that really tries to steer clear of current day politics. -- -- Atlanta not sure you can see what's going on on the state right now but the current First Lady joined by four former First Lady is all -- you write an extraordinary moment just to see all of these people gathered in one place. It it is something else to -- to look up there and see. Not only former first lady's. And the current First Lady what a potentially a future president appearance might affect you have -- you can have two potential -- future presidents after Jeb Bush. Through the one thing George Bush has has about politics he would like his brother. He's obviously going to be here until. -- really an amazing -- also some world leaders here we have Tony Blair is here. Silvio Berlusconi is here. It's civil of the leaders that President Bush was -- -- -- president bill. Good about it. Carry on must -- hope so it's -- there right now. This in years. President Obama President Bush just. Take a look at that. You can -- -- Please remain standing for the invocation. By the reverend mark -- Followed by the presentation of colors. -- -- -- We have gathered here today oh god to offer thanks for the life. The legacy of president and mrs. George W. Bush. We thank you for their distinguished leadership to our nation. Moreover we are grateful for their moral courage. And commitment to public service. O god our -- creator and sustain our. Today we honor a man who genuinely believes in your quest of freedom for all. We asked that President Bush and his family continue to feel the prayers and support. Of people all over the world. Who recognize his past and continued war. For the expansion of freedom. We -- your blessings upon the George W bush presidential center. And all who'll walk through these doors. We pray that it will serve as a beacon of hope and freedom throughout the world. We pray that remind each and every one of us of our nation's heroic past. And generate noble land sides for -- future leaders of our country. Grant that each of us today will rededicate our lives to the values of this great institution. As we continue to learn the lessons of history. Help us to live out the words of the prophet -- to -- justice. To love kindness. And to walk humbly with our god. We pray all -- things it by name. Men right. Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen. The pledge of allegiance. Led by first lieutenant Melissa Stockwell united states army. -- allegedly sent to the flag at the United States of America. And -- -- republic for which it stands. One nation under god. Indivisible. With liberty and justice for all. Please be -- And ladies and gentlemen. The chair of the George W. Bush institute advisory board. Doctor Condoleezza Rice. Mr. President and mrs. Obama president and mrs. Carter. President and mrs. George H. W. Bush. President and mrs. Clinton and president and mrs. bush. I have the honor of introducing a number of global leaders. National leaders and Texas State leaders who come to join us on this momentous occasion. As your name is called me I asked you to stand and may I ask the audience to hold your applause so that we can acknowledge. Our global leaders together. President. Of the Republic of Georgia accounts like Kristy Lee and this is Sandra -- -- -- Former president of -- President Aznar. The former president of Ghana John -- for. The former president. Of South Korea -- box and this is new -- old Kim. Former president. And mrs. lord this Maria -- -- Flores of El Salvador. Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy. Former prime minister. Tony Blair and -- -- read -- Of the United Kingdom. Former president a former prime minister and this -- John Howard. Of Australia. Former prime minister. And this is Ehud Olmert. Of Israel. Former Secretary General current Secretary General of NATO. -- -- -- -- -- royal highness. Vanguard -- son of Saudi Arabia. I don't. Ultimately thought of offering. Former ambassador to the United States. And ambassador Ron and send of India. -- ambassadors to the United States. Ambassador Salam Al Sabah of Kuwait. Ambassador do you -- -- teach out of Indonesia. Ambassador. Pak Gil -- Checking me and this -- -- -- -- Afghanistan. Ambassador to heavily so stressed day of Botswana. The German chief of mission. Mr. young's Huntsville. Please join me in them by acknowledging and while -- our global. I -- I -- now like to acknowledge. The governor of Texas. Rick Perry. The governor. Of Arizona Jan Brewer of the governor of New Jersey. Chris Christie and mrs. Mary pat -- The former governor of Alabama. Bob Riley. And the former governor. -- Michigan John Engler and his wife Michelle. I want to greet the following members -- congress. Senator Ted Cruz and his wife Heidi -- Texas. Senator John Cornyn. Of Texas and senator and former senator Bill Frist. Former senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson. The speaker of the house. Congressman John Boehner and his wife -- Congressman -- him snarling. Congresswoman Kay Granger. Congressman Michael purchased. Congressman Pete Sessions. Congressman Mike Connell way. Congressman -- marchment. Congressman John Mica. And now of the Texas. Elected represented this. Lieutenant governor David Dewhurst. Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Joseph Straus. The mayor of Dallas Michael Rawlings. The mayor -- Highland Park until Williams. The mayor of University Park Richard Davis. And the former mayor of Dallas Tom Leppert. I want to thank you for. Being here for this wonderful occasion. And I would like those in the audience to once again acknowledge the presence of our global national. And local leaders thank you very. The chairman. -- the George W. Bush foundation board of directors. Donald L Evans accompanied by the archivist of the United States David -- -- I'm pleased to be joined by the honorable David stereo -- of the United States. On behalf of the George W. Bush foundation it is my honor to present to you and to the American people. The defeat of the George W bush presidential Library and Museum. Ladies and gentlemen. Mrs. Laura Bush. All of our Princeton and -- joined as today Casey did. Welcome to all of our friends and family who joined us today from around the country and around the world. Thank you all for coming and a special welcome to President Obama and machine home. To President Clinton and Secretary Clinton to President Carter in Roseland. And finally we're thrilled to have our father and mother president George H. W. Bush and -- And -- for the presidential families that net -- say as. An exciting get together. More than an invitation to -- city millions of documents. From someone else's time in office. So thank you all very much for coming. A warm welcome to the former heads of state -- have joined this the diplomatic corps the members of the United States congress. And -- armed forces. And we're especially happy to see the familiar faces. Of so many of the bush Cheney administration. In the United States the presidency is not just about one person. The presidency is about all of the people they joined with that president in years of service to our remarkable nation. There the people who never fly on Air Force One. They do hit letting in countless -- nights and earlier mornings. They stand less time with their family and Koreans -- more time. Hard at work caring for our country. The presidency is about the men and women of our military. He served every president. And you make that ultimate sacrifice to protect us and keep the saying. The stones in the walls behind desk -- -- fewer years of service. This building is here at -- at your service and for that. George and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. That's residential library. Is not just about one president. Each library is about our nation and the world during that time. The George W bush presidential center reflects Georgia's role as the first president at the 21 century. Like -- -- -- -- the building and its grounds are designed to be forward looking in their green and sustainable. They celebrate the -- environment of our home state at Texas the archives housed here completely digital. In the entire bush center is designed to -- the past. And engaged in future. We welcome scholars and students and the community at large together here for generations to -- The -- is designed to be human in scale. Because like the White House presidential libraries belong to all Americans. The people across entire nation. We're the ones who inspired as every day. Here we remember the heartbreak and the heroism. Of September 11. In the bravery of those who entered the called the defend our country. We remember the volunteers of all ages in all walks of life that came to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. And we remember all the people. He stepped forward to help others -- -- teach your child or read artist feed a hungry family. And threw out this center. I'm reminded of my husband. I remember the image of George standing amid the -- rubble. At the World Trade Center. His arm around the shoulders of a retired firefighter. -- grabbed his old gear to go search for the missing. I remember George standing alone on the pictures -- and at Yankee Stadium. Preparing to throw out the first pitch in new York at the 2001. World Series. During that long season. Of heartbreak. In healing. I remember is quiet visits with the families of the fallen. Sharing their stories. And they are tears. And I remember had to -- -- fast and steady -- was for eight years. Since we've been -- my -- -- new memories. As she George lifting -- of paint and refurbish -- health clinic in the African nation at Sandia. As -- George last may. On a bike ride with wounded veterans when he popped up is owned by to help -- army major who is handling with only one light. At this steep hills. My George. Is -- -- -- do when someone needs -- hand to offer CN bear arms. This is despair and I hope is for ever captured in this beautiful building. That this will always be a place. That welcomes each visitor with open arms. Yeah. -- Okay. Okay. Do. -- -- This -- Ladies and gentlemen. President Jimmy Carter. Well that's a great honor for me to be here today and it reminds me of my favorite cartoon a New Yorker Magazine. This little -- -- looking up at his father. He's just day when I grow up -- -- -- full of president. Twelfth -- was -- -- made that goal and one is still working on it but it is a wonderful thing if they were the other presidents and two. -- have a chance to address is wonderful audience. I'll be very brave and -- be limiting my comments just does things that I know personally. That have been imported for me and for George W. Bush. And 2000 -- -- memo that was a disputed election for several weeks. And finally when. Better bush became president. They had inauguration in Washington don't schedule. And I think my wife and I would only do volunteer Democrats on that platform. And George and Laura after which came up and thanked us for comment. And so lives he said not -- -- -- have a -- having -- We -- a mistake he made. As investor president of the cutters and has programs -- 35 -- in the world and the worst problem now is a war going on. Between north and south Sudan. And millions of people have been killed and -- like theater help us have a peace agreement that. And in the wake vale said I'll do that as a regular updates your sectors delayed annual national security advisor -- Zelaya and they've chosen them yet. But give us freeways. So Israeli -- -- came -- dramatic color Powell and Condoleezza Rice. And President Bush kept his promise. -- -- and I distinguished senator from Missouri John John Danforth. And a great general from -- named soon by -- love. And on the third and January of 2005. There was a pastry. Between -- south Sudan. That ended a war that they gone for Tony when you. George W. Bush is responsible for the and that was the first of his -- divisions do they countries in Africa. As an -- event mentioned briefly here. He -- -- did development assistance to Africa. By the time they went in opposite -- a -- from one point four billion dollars to more than. Billion dollars and that's an -- face of 640%. That is development assistance. His -- have to have -- program. There were 50000 HIV sufferers and Africa -- -- anybody came in office. But he enough -- Korea two million let you -- the percentage on that. I just don't hesitate he has a program called -- -- red ribbon. And this is -- say women from cervical and breast cancer in subs are Africa. And that's again is southern as dear to my -- and I -- means a lot to millions of people in Africa so Mr. President. Let me say I'm filled with admiration for all you. And deep gratitude -- -- you. About a great contribution -- made to the most immediate people on -- Thank you very much to. Ladies and gentlemen. President George H. W. Bush. What a beautiful -- in Dallas. It's a great pleasure to be here. -- honor our son our oldest son. And this is very special for bar remains. And thank you all for coming. In to all of those who made this -- museum possible we thank you especially. And are glad to be here. God bless America and thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen. President Bill Clinton. Thank you very much president and mrs. bush and president mrs. Obama and president mrs. Carter. All of the representatives here of the the other previous presidents Ford Nixon and Johnson families. I told President Obama that. This was the latest brand is. The example. The eternal struggle. A former presidents to rewrite history. And -- -- it. Take my hat off to President Bush this is a beautiful library. The exhibits are right. The work of the bush institute is an inspiring. And I congratulate him on. The platinum -- ready for his library I think this is a second building an entire federal system that had that. And I want to -- Mr. President. Once again you've got the better of me twice in the last few weeks. -- library has -- platinum -- writing but it was open for a few years before we can afford to receive it. And you beat me to be a grandfather. I congratulate you -- all four. You know. Starting with my work went. President George H. W. Bush -- Does tsunami in the aftermath of Katrina. People began to joke that I was getting so close -- the bush family had become. The black -- son. My mother told me not to talk too long today. And -- -- not lets you down. There is well. Other connection I have that I think is largely unknown which is that. A couple of times a year in his second term. George Bush would call -- just to talk politics. And -- chill went up and down my spine when Laura said that all their records we're digitized. Dear god I hope there's no record of those conversations. And this vast and beautiful building. -- want to say as President Carter did. I was impressed that President Bush invites us to make. Different decisions if we choose on the decisions he was facing one -- most interesting things about -- library. I want to talk about a couple of other things that are beyond. Controversy. First I want to thank. President Bush for passing -- for no. President of my party could have passed that through the congress. And I won't work all over Africa where -- are. Health access initiative in aids tuberculosis malaria building health systems I have personally seen. The faces of some of the millions of people who were alive today because of and I want to thank President Obama for continuing -- an increasing. I want to thank you. And Laura for continue your work in global health. I want to thank. You for your efforts when president. To reform our immigration system and keep American nation of immigrants. And I hope the congress will follow president Obama's efforts to follow the example you set. And I thank you. -- thank you for the work we did together in the aftermath of Haiti the poorest country in our hemisphere. We have closed our -- I believe in working yourself out of a job. But we helped a lot of people start businesses which are now thriving. And we gave the country the first home mortgage system -- ever had. So I thank you for that must present. I. I can't prohibitions latest on -- -- right. Your mother showed me some of your landscapes. And animal findings. And I thought there were great. Really bright and I seriously considered. Calling you and asking you to -- a portrait of me. Until I saw the results of your sister's hacked emails. Those bathrooms cancers are wonderful but -- -- Hey guys thinking my suit. -- -- President Bush. Even as -- we do a lot of speeches together and I like -- -- we have disagreements. He's disarmingly direct. We were having an argument over health -- one of these speeches and I went all about the German health care system -- I don't know a thing about the German health care system. I think -- -- won the argument. We are here to -- -- -- country we all love. The service we all run them. Then -- -- difference. Is an important part of every free society. By asking us to join him in the decisions he made. And inviting us to make different ones if we choose he has honored that deepest American tradition. For all of these things. As an American citizen. I am very grateful. -- -- president of the United States. Mrs. bush. President Clinton and now former secretary -- To president George H. W. Bush and mrs. bush. To president mrs. Carter. Two current and former world leaders and all -- the distinguished guests here today Michelle -- honored to be with you to -- this. Historic occasion. This is -- Texas -- party. That's worthy of what. We're here -- today. Honor the life and legacy of the 43 president of the United States. George W. Bush. When all the living former presidents are together it's also. A special day for our democracy. We've been called world's. Most exclusive club and we do have a pretty nice clubhouse. But the truth is our clubs more like a support group. Last time we all got together was just before I took office. And I needed that. Because as each of these leaders will tell you. No matter how much you may think you're ready to assume the office of the president's. It's impossible to truly understand the nature. Until it's yours. Until you're setting -- bad -- That's why every president -- greater appreciation for all of those. Who served before them. For the leaders from both parts. We've taken on the momentous challenges and felt enormous weight of the nation. On their shoulders and for me that appreciation very much it spends President Bush. The first thing I found -- that does today I took office was. A letter from George and one that demonstrated his compassion. And his generosity. Where he knew that. I would come to learn. What Hitler. Being present above all is a humbling job. There are moments where you make mistakes. There -- times where you wish you could turn back the clock. -- what I know is true about President Bush and I hope. My successor will say about me. Is that we love this country and we do our best. Now in the past President Bush is said it's impossible to pass judgment on his presidency while he's still alive so. Maybe this is little bit premature but even now there are certain things that we know for certain. We know about the sun was raised by two strong loving parents and Madeleine. Famous and famously -- -- he says my daddy's eyes and my mother's mount. The young boy who once came home after a trip to museum and proudly presented. His horrified mother with a small dinosaur tail bone he had smuggled moment -- pocket. I'll bet that went over great -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Who met the love of his life at a dinner party ditching his plans to go to bed early. And instead talking with the brilliant and charming -- -- late into the night. We know about father whom raised two remarkable. Caring. Beautiful daughters. Even after they tried to discourage him from running for president saying. You're not as cool as you think you are. His brother Martin Reuters. And now we see President Bush the grandfather just beginning. To spoil his brand new granddaughter. So we know. President Bush the man and what president -- -- is absolutely true. To know the man has. To like the man. Because as comfortable in his own skin he knows who he is. You don't put on -- pretense us. He takes his job seriously but it doesn't take himself -- users. He is a good man. We also know something about George Bush. The leader. As we walked through this library obviously were reminded. Of incredible strength and resolve. That came through that bullhorn as he stood amid the rubble in the ruins of ground zero. Promising to deliver justice to those who have sought to destroyed. Our way of life. We remember the compassion but he showed by leading. The global fight against HIV aids and malaria. Helping to save millions of lives. And reminding people -- some of the poorest corners of the globe that America chairs. In the we're here to help. We remember his commitment to reaching across the -- unlikely allies like Ted Kennedy. Because he believed. That we had to reform our schools in ways that help every child learn not just -- We have to repair a broken immigration system. And that this progress is only possible when we do it together. Seven years ago president. Bush -- started an important conversation by speaking with the American people about our history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And even -- conference -- embrace reform. Has taken the longer than any of -- expect. I'm hopeful. That this year. With the help the speaker Boehner and some of the senators and members of congress who were here today. That we bring it home. For our families our economy and our security. And for this incredible country that we love and if we knew that it will be. In large part thanks to all the hard -- president. George W. Bush. And finally a president bears no greater decision. And no more solemn burden than serving as commander in chief of the greatest military in the world is ever know. President Bush himself has said America must and will keep its word of the men and women who have given -- so much. So even as we Americans may at times disagree on matters. Of foreign policy. We share a profound respect and reverence for the men and women of our military and their families and we are united. In our determination to comfort the families of the fallen. And care for those who Wear the uniform of the United States. On the flight back from Russia. After negotiating with Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War. President Kennedy's secretary found a small slip of paper on which the president -- -- favorite site. I know. There is -- -- And I see a storm come. If he has a place for me. I believe I'm right. No one can. Be completely ready for this office. But America needs leaders were willing to face the storm -- on. Even as they pray for -- strength and wisdom. So they can do what they believe is right. That's what. Leaders with whom I share the stage of all the. That's what president George W. Bush chose to do. That's why I'm honored to be part of today's celebration. This president for your service for your courage. For your sense of humor. And most of all for your -- country. Thank you very much from all the citizens United States of America god bless you. And god bless these who does it. The. -- Okay. -- -- News. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Yeah. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- This. But and our daughter. Hello all of we'll. Do you car. Cool. And Bob. -- it is positive. Involved. I believe one develops a set of principles through. Faith. How you -- -- where your raced. I had a set of principles that. I had developed throughout my life and by the time I became president. I was willing to defend those -- I wanted to make sure that the economy was strong. We needed to bolster our military in order to maintain the peace. It was important promote a culture in which each individual is responsible for his or her decisions. We can improve our public school system so that people had a chance at the American dream. That -- precious and needed the defendant and that we can achieve a more peaceful world so strong America. I never wanted to be a wartime president. The war came to our shores. On 9/11 I had a lot of emotions. Mostly I was determined. -- protect America. Any commander in chief -- Military and I certainly did so because the toughest decision a president makes. It's just send men and women in harm's way. That thought of a multitude of issues that -- was interested in -- of course -- of in this literacy. After September 11 and mini. -- Options for issues that confront -- in one that was -- that's -- -- so when I made the presidential radio address. -- talking about the brutal treatment of women and children. By the talent they. I started getting responses from women everywhere across our country. -- guiding principles. And of my presidency was too much is given much is required. In America is such a blessed nation that I believe we have an obligation. The health and human suffering where we possibly can. Life is. Service to me. George W. Bush. Okay. -- happy days. One thank you all for coming Lauren are thrilled to have -- so many friends -- -- a lot of friends. Here to celebrate this special day. There was a time in my life. When I -- likely to be found at a library. Much less found one. Beautiful building has my name of the door but it belongs. To you. It honors a cause we serve in the country we share. Great years you gave me the honor of serving as your president. Today I'm proud to dedicate this senator. To the American people. I am. Very grateful to President Obama and Michelle for making this -- Unlike the other presidents series actually got a job. President thank you for your kind words and for leading the nation we -- I appreciate. My fellow members of the former president's club. 4241. And 39. I want to thank you all for your kind words and the example -- Alexander Hamilton once worried about ex president's. Wandering among the people like discontented. Ghosts. Actually I think we seem pretty happy. One reason that we have wonderful first ladies and -- Hillary -- thank you for your service in your generosity. Mother who are you know -- actually. -- -- -- the world leaders with whom I had the privilege to serve. Your good friends and I'm honored to have you here. In the promised land. I want to welcome the members of congress -- appreciate you coming and the diplomatic core I know you all be happy. To hear this speech is a law. Shorter than the state of the union. I thank the governors. Governor own state and other governors mayors. State and local officials who joined us. I welcome members of my cabinet. The White House staff and administration especially Vice President Dick Cheney. From the day I asked Victor -- were at me he served -- loyalty. Principal. And strength. Proud to call you friend. History is gonna show that I served. With great people. A talented dedicated intelligent men a team of men and women. Who love our nation as much as I do. Our -- to people who made this project a success. President Gerald turner runs a fantastic university. A university with -- active trustee dedicated faculty and a student body that is. Also. -- -- -- -- Alan -- in the professionals at the National Archives and Records Administration. Who have taken on a major task. And I am confident -- -- we'll handle. Appreciate the architects. Landscape first and designers especially Bob stern. Michael -- -- and -- and Dan Murphy. -- thank the folks of Manhattan construction. As well as all the workers. Who build a fine facility. That will stand the test of time. I thank the fantastic team that George W. Bush shattered headed by mark -- dale and Jim Glassman. My longtime pal Donny Evans. -- -- -- -- Much to -- the life. Of the folks who worked on this project. We have raise enough money to pay our bills. We have -- we have over 300000. Contributors from all fifty states. In Florida -- thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This is the first time in American history. That parents have seen their son's presidential library. Mother -- promise to keep my area clean. You know Barbara Bush army to live life to the fullest to laugh a lot and to speak my mind. Trait that sometimes got us both into troubles. They had taught me how to be a president before that he showed me how to be a man. And 41 it is awesome that you are here today. I welcome. I welcome my dear Brothers and sister. As well as in laws cousins nephews nieces uncles all of you. For joining us. Our family is meant -- -- any thing and I thank you for making its. Not so long ago this campus was home to a beautiful west Jackson name Laura Welch. When she earned her degree in library science. I'm not sure this -- is exactly what she had in mind. She's been a source of strength and support and inspiration ever since we -- In the O'Neill's backyard in Midland Texas. When the joys of the presidency was watching. -- serve as First Lady. The American people rightly lover. And Soto. Large -- even better natural. Grandmother. It was a joy I can't tell you what a joy it was to -- little mile. And I am really happy. That -- mother and father. Jenna and Henry can make it here today thank you all for coming. You don't everything you do on a morning tune -- today show. Janice a correspondent. Thereby continuing the warm relations the bush family has with the national dress. And I'm really proud of barber -- with -- for her incredible war. To serve others and to save lives. Today marks a major milestone and a journey that began. Twenty years ago. When I announced my campaign. For governor of Texas. Some of you were there that day I mean a lot of you were there that day I picture you look generally younger. You probably picture -- a little less gray hair. In politics. You learn who your real friends are. And our friends have stood with us every step of the way. And today today to -- via a proper thanks. In democracy the purpose of public office. Is not to fulfill personal ambition. Elected officials must serve a cause greater than themselves. The political winds blow left and right -- rise and fall. Supporters come and go. But in the end leaders are defined by the convictions they hold. And my deepest conviction. The guiding principle of the administration. Is that the United States of America. Must strive to expand the reach of freedom. I believe freedom is a gift from god. And the hope of every human heart. Freedom inspired our founders. And preserved our union through civil war and secured the promise of civil rights. Freedoms to -- dissidents bound by chains. Believers huddled in underground churches. And voters who risk their lives to cast their ballots. Freedom unleashes creativity. Rewards innovation replaces. Poverty with prosperity. And ultimately freedom likes the path to peace. Freedom brings responsibility. Independence from the state does not mean isolation. From each other. A free society thrives when neighbors helped neighbors. And the strong protect a week. And public policies promote private compassion. As president I tried to act on these principles every day. One always easy and it's certainly -- always popular. One of the benefits of freedom is that people can disagree. Fair to say -- created plenty of opportunities to exercise their right. But when future generations come to this library and study this administration. They're gonna find out. That we stay true to our convictions. Every expanded freedom -- home by raising standards in schools and lowering taxes. For everybody. That we liberated nations from dictator ship and free people from maids. And that what our freedom came under attack. We made -- tough decisions. Required to keep the American people safe. The same principles define the mission of the presidential sent. I'm retired from politics. Happily so -- -- head. But not from public service. Will use your influence to help more children start life with a quality education. To help more Americans find jobs and economic opportunity. -- countries overcome poverty and disease. You know more people in every part of the world live in freedom. We'll work to empower women around the world transform their countries. Stand behind a courageous men and women who have stepped forward to Wear the uniform of the United States. To defend our flag. And our freedoms here at home. Ultimately the success of a nation depends on the character of its citizens. President I had the privilege to -- that character up close. I saw the first responders. Who charged up the stairs. Into the flames. To save people's lives from burning towers. I saw the Virginia Tech professor who barricaded his classroom door with his body. -- as -- students escaped to safety. I saw on the people in New Orleans who made homemade boats to rescue their neighbors from the floods. So other service members. Who lay down their lives to keep our country safe. And to make other nations history. Franklin Roosevelt once described the dedication the libraries an act of faith. I dedicate this library with an unshakable faith in the future of our country. The honor for lifetime to lead a country as brave and as noble. As -- United States. Whatever challenges come before us I will always believe. Our nation's best days lie ahead. Please stand for the National Anthem. Benediction. And the retirement of colors. -- -- -- -- -- Captain Stanley W -- -- United States navy will deliver the benediction. May we pray together. Gracious god today we acknowledge do you work in the affairs of humankind and nations. Our prayers that we as a people will listen carefully. Respond appropriately. And live each day acutely aware of the need for your guidance. You grace us with men and women who lead. Prompted by the power of personal conviction. To help shape our national conscience. And provide examples of extraordinary leadership. Today we gather to celebrate a marvelous occasion. Establishing in this physical plays. A living reflection on our national history. President Bush and this presidential library. Establish his legacy. Not only of -- and border but of heart and soul. And serve as reminders that they are words that resonate in our national consciousness. Words like justice. Freedom. Liberty. Opportunity. Sacrifice. Ideals not merely of our all making but it your creation. As you implant in each of your children these intrinsic values. Grant this day. That the George W bush presidential center. Will forever help inform our national dialogue for good. And we'll always remind us that our nation and world's best hope. According cure -- optimistic future. Requires nothing less -- our very best human efforts. Yet ultimately rest in your providential care. We acknowledge that this spirit of freedom and opportunity we celebrate today. Is often in need -- vigilant care. So we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. And those who this very hour stand in harm's way. That you would assure them of your presence. Our prayers. And the anticipation. Of a lasting peace. Now we give thanks for all those present today to have in the past provided fateful national Stewart show. And grant to our leaders today especially President Obama the gifts of wisdom strength. And encouragement of your care. In -- President Bush mrs. bush and their entire family. With your blessings. And our eternal goodwill. And may you bless our nation. And all of your creation. A man. -- -- This includes our program. It just witnessed the dedication of the George W bush presidential library at. Eight acre complex at southern Methodist university in Dallas housing the 43 president library museum and policy institute. An extraordinary event today we heard from all five living president. Ball attended along with their First Lady is not mentioned numerous heads of state from around the world and bring in ABC's political director. Rick Klein now standing by live in Dallas -- direct quite a momentous day what stood out to you the most. To -- -- vision of those presidents together speaking with one voice coming together it's a remarkably patriotic moment you know George W Bush's presidency was a very -- -- time it was a chaotic time in a lot of ways today his actions. Eight ensnared himself in so many harsh political battles all that though. Fade away today to have President Clinton that President Obama to have President Carter to have his own father George H. W. Bush and emotional moment again a patriotic moment. -- at a time to reflect on a it very. Eventful to say at least eight years of -- presidency. The real long time to assess the bush presidency we've heard George W. Bush himself say that -- -- that historians. He begins a right not a for a strap -- a second draft of events like today. Ask you because he does mention that he leaves politics behind rather happily and obviously his. President it was very controversial but we do think polls showing. -- approval rating for President Bush -- up just a bit over the years as. Is that a function of is being out of the limelight or -- the public perhaps rethinking his -- I think. Partly because he's been out of the limelight gives people a chance to reassess -- presidency. Bill Clinton as a model -- this he was anything but inactive in the years since his presidency and it gave his approval rating went up as well. I think absence and -- -- the hard -- -- I think that's a piece of it. I think also people to get to appreciate the challenges. That President Bush George W. Bush faced during his eight years in office had so much this museum actually is dedicated to that to lay -- the -- kind of information that he had a good time. Allow the visitor to make the decision on his or her own. We know the decisions we know about a lot we know about Hurricane Katrina we know about the financial crisis we know about the budget deficits. All of those things this is a man who just -- the very eventually here -- an office and I think. Partly because he's been quiet about it people even had a chance to reflect on it in a bit of a different light. Talk about some of those -- interactive feature that you mention that this library focuses on some of the very tough decisions he had to make. During his tenure at -- had a chance to check out some of the features. I have I got a chance to it to do a bit of its war. By its order behind the scenes forward Laura Bush before the museum opened and it's remarkable to see the personal -- The bullhorn that President Bush famously grabbed at ground zero -- Saddam Hussein's gone. For instance he's twisted metal from the World Trade Center good reminder of all of those things and the -- -- -- -- is built around they called decision points here much like his memoir. They lay out a series of critical decisions for the president case after 9/11. Various prices and economic crises that based. I just said this. The fact that we know what would you didn't -- -- under the same kind of pressure. -- -- -- -- -- Reflect his own presidency that way he wants people to understand the decision making process as you said this isn't necessarily about putting about better sign on his own presidency. It's just explained historians and from. Editors this is how president activism -- it's always been very -- in that decision making process he famously called himself the decider. Put yourself in the shoes of a president for a moment there at the museum. There's been a lot of talk about the past today but let's look ahead for a moment -- to have lost you how sorry can you hear me. Can you hear me now you know it's a that's a little that yes I don't wanna talk for a moment about the future and spent the past if you well. Let's look -- -- 2016. And Jeb Bush and seems like he's getting some conflicting career advice from family members. This is fast reversal you look behind me there were coupled with the president's possible future presidents Jeb Bush Hillary Clinton also Chris Christie of the house. Today but I think -- -- dynamic is absolutely. This is the best story going right now just just yesterday in this round of interviews including with -- -- Diane -- President Bush that is not divisive Jeb Bush -- is simple -- And in this morning after Barbara Bush the former First Lady gave an interview with is that you -- what -- had enough but that's enough for this does get a chance for another family to be out there. Let's be clear here Barbara Bush will get behind get candidacy if there is it that candidacy I think it's a bit of a push -- inside the family about whether you wanna go through. The time in the limelight again. Fox affiliate W and his wife -- at different speeds of their lives there enjoying the great grandkids and -- grandchildren. And a bit of a calmer days now that they're particularly anxious to get back in the big hurly burly of politics of -- -- said today and get to you inherit. Half of our friends and all of our enemy. Ethically palatable but I that you see in w.s and it eagerness to get back in the game. That's right and speaking out family we did see a very teary eyed Jenna Bush. In the audience there you know she's a new mom -- thought about -- of baby -- the baby at home. I didn't spot the -- you know I think it's. She's only about ten days old so two they have gotten a pass that would have been an interest in seeing -- -- the first grandchild buildup. -- -- thank you so much numbering in that anything Jonathan Karl if he's still with us -- there. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- I guess I'll read it breaks it so an amazing event to be would you like to give us your. Hi it's incredible event as we were talking about before the presidents came out. I'm me to see them on the stage together. And I was also which thing for what was not said I mean you you had a chance to hear tributes. To President Bush. From of course President Carter President Clinton President Obama no mention those tributes of things like the Iraq War there. Now out outlets. I want you there -- certainly obviously a lot of big names on hand today in Dallas about whether any note of notable -- -- we surprised we didn't hear from former Vice President Dick Cheney. Well you know it's a presidential library of presidential library dedication we've seen easily -- you don't usually hear from the and the vice president's back at events like this Vice President Cheney was the very first dignitary that was introduced. -- this all got under way and he had a good -- me. Front row seats. We were expecting to hear from him as. Has been notified by many people eventful. The library got a sneak -- You don't see a lot of Dick Cheney in the library and I asked Karl Rove about that yesterday and call it sputtered out. This is a presidential library it's not a vice presidential library if you go down to Little Rock. And he got a Bill Clinton's presidential library -- you don't see a lot about Al Gore guy so you know it's not necessarily. Is that unusual. But there was clearly tension at the end of that administration -- -- between the president and vice president. Now I'm Leonard had a wanna -- a little bit about President Bush is paintings Weaver a lot about -- -- Former President Bill Clinton brought about an intense -- see some of those paintings hanging in a -- right. The hot yes it's not. I don't know we're gonna see them -- on exhibit here at the art library time soon but we have. George W. Bush loves to. Not only painting we're talking about his painting this is something he said it has brought him great happiness. And it was a funny moments. We saw the the president -- when Bill Clinton came up instead he was thinking about. Asking President Bush to do a portrait and that he saw the portraits the self portraits of bush in the bathroom he decided well maybe not. You have to have now I want to ask you -- -- news out of Syria today and we'll get a chance to. Terrorists -- read up on that NCAA has that in any way weighed in on the day's events. Well this is a very significant development what we have learned this big. The administration. Says in their own intelligence assessment they now have evidence. That the Syrians used chemical weapons specifically -- nerve agents Aaron. -- in Syria. Which is a very very big deal because. President Obama said just a short while ago when he was in Israel I was that I was at the events. He said that if there is evidence that Syria used chemical weapons that would be -- president Obama's words a game changer. We've also heard from the administration saying that would be a red line. So now the administration says they have evidence raises a very important question is. What does that. He's -- we'll play that right store. Possible military intervention now was interesting now live I looked very carefully -- what the administration. Was saying it came in the form of of letters to congress notifying them of this evidence. A lot of caveats in this evidence. And in the letters point out. It although they do have some physiological evidence -- specify exactly what it is -- to Sarin nerve agent was used in Syria. Did they still need to confirm this in several ways the -- don't have. A complete chain of custody of the samples -- -- to find out exactly where it came from Powell was used they said it was used in a small. A small way it wasn't a major use so I would look for a major. Reaction -- response yet. From the administration but. Isn't this a significant. -- the -- about Kelly needs some more investigation into what exactly is going on there before any steps are taken. It doesn't make me think about our own Diane Sawyer and her and -- conversation with former President Bush last night. They spoke quite directly about the decision -- Invade Iraq what was your take away from that. Well -- you know -- my biggest takeaways that. Although club President Bush is eager to go out there -- refight that battle right now that political battle over his decision. -- -- -- No second thoughts whatsoever he saw -- ask him directly to you have -- -- to -- -- trouble sleeping at night he sleeps very soundly no problem. -- whatsoever -- he still is very much at peace with his decision. To go to war -- Iraq even though. The major reason -- -- justification for that war was obviously weapons of mass destruction President Bush acknowledges there were no weapons of mass destruction found. But he believes he left behind -- in Iraq it is without a brutal dictator it is a stable -- -- or source of stability in the Middle East. So. Bush and -- -- it was a close advisors here also very much at peace -- that decision even -- its second -- of course by Brian so many. And you sense that as a genuine opinion that is as honest feeling about it. I think it is an absolute honest opinion -- you remember President Bush's. Second inaugural address where he outlined what he called the freedom agenda. And actually said to me you know when -- Boldest promises of ever any presidential speech -- speech anywhere his goal was to -- Tierney in the world. And and you know so I think before bush even though the administration's justification. Was heavily dependent on weapons of mass destruction I think in Bush's mind. A you know a major reason for that warrant was also to policy dictator. Who had used chemical weapons on his own people who was exporting terrorism. Who. You know -- who now is gone and gone as result. About war absolutely -- Donna I want resentment too big issues to other big issues from the bush presidency are once again in the headlines these days. Gay marriage and immigration reform housing developments there -- facts and the bush legacy. Well I was it was interest thing on the on the second one immigration reform. When President Obama got up here to speak -- directly brought it up was the one area in this entire day. Where you had a current political issue come front and center -- Obama said that he hopes. Immigration reform will pass and if it does. -- -- Good part of the credit will be due to president George W. Bush because he tried. To get it done of course in his second term failed then but set the stage for what President Obama is doing right now and it is true. Did did the immigration reform. Bill that is now being works for congress right now. Tracks very closely to what what President Bush tried twice and 2006 in 2007. One time got through the senate the other time it if it went nowhere and ultimately of course did not become law -- what it was actually the city. You know present Obama used his speech a very political speech and all other respects -- out to push our hot button issue right now before the congress. Absolutely and -- finally President Obama will be opening up a library of his -- eight years or so any insight on where that's going to be. Yeah LC they're working with for Hawaii did right now -- but not until -- -- I think the more. I think and by the way up please forgive the sunglasses. Are our producer Stephanie Smith you have been trying to tell me that taken -- -- in the name -- -- to produce an ally in. In eight years. But I I think the more the more likely scenarios that will CA you know bomb a presidential. A library in Chicago. Which will be nice -- -- apparently you heard it here first. Jonathan Karl thank you -- thank you -- Thank you. An extraordinary day in Dallas at the dedication of the George W bush presidential library and this has been an ABC news digital special report on -- -- in New York for the latest news. Had to abcnews.com. This has been a special report from ABC news.

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