Obama Hails 'Extraordinary Gathering' of All the Presidents

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President Bush on Wednesday hosted a lunch for the incoming president and the three living former presidents: Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.

President-elect Barack Obama hailed a rare Oval Office gathering of all U.S. presidents as an extraordinary event on Wednesday as the current occupant, President Bush, reminded his predecessors and successor that the office "transcends the individual."

The last White House event to draw the former presidents was a November 2000 celebration in honor of the White House's 200th anniversary. But one of the former presidents, Ronald Reagan, who was afflicted with Alzheimer's, was unable to attend.

All the presidents were last at the White House in 1981: Richard Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan, who was president then. The three former presidents were there before leaving as part of the U.S. delegation to the funeral of Egypt's Anwar Sadat, who had been assassinated.

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