Last weekend, I was in Washington DC to accept the Kennedy Center Honors, and I noticed that the kiss between me and the “soon to be former” President Bush created quite a stir. The Today Show even proclaimed that it was a sign of the apocalypse. The timing is ironic. After eight years of President Clinton and on the cusp of at least four years of President Obama, I get selected to receive this prestigious awardaduring the Bush Administration. I have never met George W. Bush, but for the past eight years I have been blogging about him and his administration on my web site. I have relayed my frustration at the direction he has taken our country in no uncertain terms. So it was just as surprising to me as it apparently was to the press that upon meeting President Bush and extending my hand to him, he said to me, “Aw c’mon, gimme a hug and a kiss,” and then he proceeded to embrace me. I must say, I found him very warm and completely disarmingaeven though I think he was kissing me hello as I was kissing him goodbyea
During the White House ceremony, the President described each honorees attributes. After he listed mine, he added, “She’s also been known to speak her mind,” to which the audience first laughed and then applauded. I genuinely thought he was very funny and very gracious.
During the Kennedy Center Honors, President Bush gave me his signature wink (which he must have passed on to Sarah Palin) and mouthed, “We showed ’em.” I guess in some small way, he and I proved that we could agree to disagree, and, for that weekend, art transcended politics.