The event took place at the George W. Bush Presidential Center and was moderated by billionaire David Rubenstein, the CEO of the Carlyle Group, an investment firm in Washington, D.C.
At one point, Clinton said the best thing for a politician “is to be consistently underestimated.”
“I was pretty good at that,” Bush quipped.
The pair talked about some of the qualities one must have to be president.
“If you want to be president, realize it’s about the people, not about you,” Clinton said. “You want to be able to say ‘things were better off when I quit, kid’s had a better future, things were coming together.’ You don’t want to say, ‘God, look at all the people I beat.'”
Bush also complimented Clinton for being “humble in victory” in the 1992 presidential election against his father, George H.W. Bush.
Bush said it “starts with [him] being a person refusing to lord his victory over dad. Dad was willing to rise above the political contest. Both men displayed strong character. Why do I have a friendship with him? Well, he’s called a brother with a different mother.”
Post-presidencies were also a topic.
Bush, who started wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, leading to the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and more than 100,000 civilians, took up painting and recently published a book of paintings he made of wounded American soldiers.
“I painted because I was bored,” he said.
Clinton has remained more active in politics, including helping with his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s losing presidential bid.
Clinton didn’t mention President Donald Trump by name, but he critiqued the current state of major topics, including the economy, which he said “can’t continue to grow” without immigrants.
He also complained about how Americans consume news.
“One of things wrong with America is we have separated ourselves in like-minded communities,” he said. “We don’t want to be around with people who disagree with us typically. And we get news in silos. Diverse groups make better decisions than homogenous ones.”