Bill Clinton, George W. Bush to appear together in Little Rock

Story highlights

  • George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will attend a graduation for their Presidential Leadership Scholars Program
  • The event Thursday in Arkansas is a sign of their close relationship

(CNN)Former President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will appear together in Little Rock on Thursday during the graduation of a leadership program launched by the duo in 2014.

The graduation of the 61 members from the 2016 Class of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program will feature a discussion with Bush, Clinton and Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister.
    The 42nd and 43rd presidents have a close relationship despite past political tensions. Clinton defeated Bush's father, President George H.W. Bush, in 1992. And in 2000 George W. Bush ran for president promising to bring "honor and dignity to the White House" after Clinton left.
    When Bush and Clinton launched the program in 2014, the two yukked it up on stage in Washington, D.C., talking openly about their legacies as president and their relationship.
    "He used to call me twice a year, in his second term, just to talk," Clinton said about Bush. "We'd talk -- depending on how much time he had, because he was busier than me -- somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes, for several years. It meant a lot to me."
    Clinton said he and Bush "talked about everything in the world. He asked my opinion, half the time he disagreed with it. But I felt good about that, I thought that was a really healthy thing."
    When they were asked about what they respected about one another, Clinton was lengthy in his praise for Bush.
    "I actually learned a lot watching him over the years," Clinton said.
    Bush, true to his personality, was briefer, calling Clinton an "awesome communicator" who can "really lay out a case and get people all across the political spectrum to listen."
    "Is that enough?" Bush quipped to laughs. "It was a lot shorter than your answer, I know."
    It is well-documented that Clinton has grown closer with the Bush family since his presidency. Clinton and George H.W. Bush worked together after the Asian tsunami in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, while Clinton and George W. Bush worked together after the 2010 Haitian earthquake.