Former first lady Michelle Obama and former President George W. Bush went viral last month when Bush was caught on camera giving Obama a cough drop during Sen. John McCain’s Washington funeral service.
A clip of Michelle mouthing “thank you” as Bush passed her the cough drop while Sen. Joe Lieberman was giving his eulogy became a symbol of bipartisanship and human decency at a time of deep political and cultural division.
In an interview on the “Today” show on Thursday morning, the former first lady called Bush a “wonderful man” and explained that the two are often seated next to each other at official gatherings that include the former presidents.
“He is my partner in crime at every major thing where all the ‘formers’ gather,” she said. “So we’re together all the time, and I love him to death. He’s a wonderful man. He’s a funny man.”
The former first lady added that she was surprised that the cough drop Bush passed her from his wife, Laura Bush, came in a White House box.
“I was like, ‘How long have you had these?’ And he said, ‘A long time, we got a lot of these!'” Michelle said.
Michelle, who appeared on NBC to promote the International Day of the Girl and launch an Obama Foundation initiative aimed at empowering girls around the world through education, said the gesture may have struck a chord because people are “hungry” for leaders who can rise above the political fray.
“Party doesn’t separate us, color, gender, those kinds of things don’t separate us. It’s the message that we send,” Obama said. “If we’re the adults in the room and we’re not showing that level of decency, we can’t expect our children to do the same.”