The Odd Couple

The elder Bush and Clinton meet as friends, not foes, in New Hampshire.

ByABC News
February 9, 2009, 10:06 PM

May 19, 2007— -- Fifteen years ago, then-Gov. Bill Clinton got him fired from his job as "leader of the free world." But that doesn't seem to bother former President George H.W. Bush too much these days.

The political odd couple -- one a gregarious baby boomer, the other a genteel guardian of the greatest generation and both members of the world's most exclusive club of former American presidents -- was on the road again this weekend.

They've helped raise more than $1 billion in U.S. aid for tsunami victims and more than $130 million for those devastated by Hurricane Katrina, but on Saturday, 42 (a.k.a. Clinton) and 41 (a.k.a. Bush) took on perhaps the most politically-charged challenge of their friendship to date: venturing into New Hampshire, the heart of presidential politics and home to the nation's first primary in 2008.

Appearing as dual commencement speakers at the University of New Hampshire's graduation, team Bush-Clinton kept things bipartisan.

Bush spoke first, and quickly keyed off a spirited introduction that took note of his recent penchant for skydiving.

"I love the sensation of free falling at one hundred and twenty miles per hour," the octogenarian told the crowd of eager grads, "but Barbara, my Barbara, was not quite as keen on the entire undertaking."

Bush continued to the delight of the crowd.

"I finished strong and down by myself landed on the sands of Mesa [Arizona] and turned to Barbara and said, 'What'd you think about that one?' She said, 'I haven't seen a freefall like that since the '92 election,'" he said.

At 82, former President Bush holds the distinction of being the country's oldest living president -- notably only a few years older than the University's eldest member of the class of 2007 at a spry 79.

Clinton -- at 60, a tad closer to the school's youngest grad, age 17 -- picked up on his predecessor's theme.

"My great curse in life for winning the '92 election," Clinton said, "is that God has ordained that I spend the rest of it being George Bush's straight man."