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Obama travels to South Africa

President Obama is traveling to South Africa on Monday ahead of the memorial service for anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.

The president left the White House early Monday morning for the more than 8,000-mile trip to Johannesburg. He’ll be joined aboard Air Force One by first lady Michelle Obama, as well as former President George W. Bush, his wife, Laura, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Former President Bill Clinton, his daughter, Chelsea, and former President Jimmy Carter will travel separately to the event.

A delegation of two dozen lawmakers, including civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), departed separately from Joint Base Andrews on Monday morning.

Former President George H.W. Bush is the only living president who will not attend the Tuesday memorial service at the Johannesburg soccer stadium that hosted the final match of the 2010 World Cup. Bush was hospitalized earlier this year with a respiratory infection, and his spokesman has said that he is unable to travel.

Lawmakers are expected to return to Washington in time for votes planned on Thursday, but the White House has not provided details of when the president will come back to the United States.

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