At the end of the weekend before the 2016 Democratic National Convention, President Barack Obama appeared on CBS News' "Face the Nation." In addition to addressing topical issues about race, immigration and the upcoming election, Obama shared the two best pieces of advice he received from former President George W. Bush.
The second bit of advice was shared with a bit of humor. Apparently Bush warned Obama to use plenty of hand sanitizer. Chuckling, Obama recalled Bush’s words saying, “if you don't, you're going to get a lot of colds because you shake a lot hands."
As useful as this recommendation may be, the first piece of advice resembles a statement of words by which a president should live.
In 2008, Bush told Obama, "Trust yourself. And know that ultimately regardless of the day-to-day news cycles and the noise that the American people need their president to succeed, regardless of political party."
Until the July 24 interview with “Face the Nation,” Obama had not revealed that well-accepted advice.
This statement comes at a crucial time. Americans are less satisfied with the current state of affairs in America than they have been in more than 10 years. According to a July poll conducted by Gallup, only 17 percent of Americans are satisfied with the way that things are going in their country.
As violence, racism and other forms of intolerance reach high levels in America, citizens are looking to leaders for guidance and support.
As the 2016 presidential race presses on, considerations of Bush’s words could help conflicted voters make decisions about which candidate to choose in November.
Obama stated in the interview that he thought Bush’s advice was “generous,” expressing gratitude for the kind and supportive words. Obama may offer similar advice to his successor.