White House Letter: For Some, Bush-Obama Rapport Recalls a Lost Virtue: Political Civility

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Michelle Obama hugged George W. Bush on Saturday at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

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Al Drago/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Maybe it was the unexpected warmth of the gesture, the sheer enveloping display of affection.

Maybe it was his response, the beatific expression on his face, eyes almost closed, head tilted toward her shoulder.

Maybe it was the moment: tenderness at a time when presidential politics has become a festival of cruelty.

But when Michelle Obama hugged former President George W. Bush on Saturday, at a ceremony to open the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the image quickly took flight online.

However one…

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