George W. Bush got doused with cold water by the ice bucket challenge.
A video the former president posted Wednesday documented the event, a now-familiar dare meant to raise money for and awareness of the deadly neurological disorder ALS.
It begins with Mr. Bush sitting outdoors on a beautiful day at what appears to be his family’s compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. He notes that a number of people, including his daughter Jenna Bush Hager and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, have challenged him to make a donation to research aimed at finding a cure for ALS, or accept having a bucket of freezing liquid poured over him.
“To all you who have challenged me I do not think it is presidential to be splashed with ice water,” Bush says. “So I’m simply going to write you a check.”
Then W – dressed in a thin blue T shirt, as if expecting something – starts scribbling as if writing out said check. Wife Laura Bush sneaks up on him from behind holding a bucket.
She douses him. No ice is visible, but hey, it’s still a shock to get that wet with presumably cold water that quickly, OK? Bush yells “hey” with a surprise that seems only partly feigned.
“That check is from me,” says Laura Bush. “I didn’t want to ruin my hairstyle.”
After that Bush says it is now his privilege to challenge his friend Bill Clinton to undergo the same treatment. The 43rd president of the US notes that the 42nd president had a birthday earlier this week.
“My gift to Bill is a bucket of cold water,” says Bush.
Will Mr. Clinton rise to this bait? We’d expect so given the friendly relations the former chief executives have developed since their time in office. It’ll be a challenge for Clinton to figure out a clever way to respond, but hey, he’s got time. He’s not the Clinton on a pre-presidential try-out campaign cleverly disguised as a book tour.
And no, President Obama hasn’t had ice water poured over his head. Bush is right when he says that does not look presidential, so maybe that’s what’s keeping Obama from participating.
Obama has been challenged – Ethel Kennedy had water poured over her head and then dared Obama to do the same. Only Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, the matriarch of the Kennedy clan, could perhaps presume to try and get the sitting chief executive involved in this summer’s charitable viral craze.
Of course, politics is not a discipline that looks fondly on spontaneous excitement. That might be a barrier to White House involvement as well. The task force that’s (perhaps) been formed to study this hasn’t come back yet with its report and three possible courses of action for the president.
They can use private or campaign accounts, but not those paid for via taxpayer money.
“No doubt, this is for an admirable cause. There is a prohibition in the Members Handbook and in the Ethics Manual on the use of official resources for the promotion or benefit of any private charitable case,” an e-mail from a House Administration Committee panel said Tuesday, according to the Politico report.