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Obama: 'I like President Bush,' he's a 'good man'

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"Seven years ago, President Bush restarted an important conversation by speaking with the American people about our history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, and even though comprehensive immigration reform has taken a little longer than any of us expected, I am hopeful that this year — with the help of Speaker Boehner and some of the senators and members of Congress who are here today — that we bring it home for our families, for our economy, for our security and for this incredible country that we love," Obama said

He added that, if reform is accomplished, “It will be in large part thanks to the hard work of George W. Bush."

Moments earlier, former President Clinton also credited Bush with his efforts on the immigration fight.

"I hope the Congress will follow President Obama's efforts to follow the precedent you set," Clinton said.

In a brief speech at the Southern Methodist University campus, Obama paid tribute to Bush in other ways, speaking of his “strength and resolve” in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and his work on fighting HIV and malaria.

But Obama spent a large portion of his speech talking about Bush’s likeable, easy-going personality adding, “to know the man is to like the man because he’s comfortable in his own skin."

“I like President Bush,” Obama said, adding that he is a “good man.”

It was a rare moment for Bush and Obama, who haven’t crossed paths much in the last four years. Obama has routinely criticized the policies of the Bush administration and tried to reverse course on much of his predecessor’s decisions. Obama, for example, put an end to two wars started by Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For more on Obama's remarks, click here.