ABC News' David Wright reports: Today may be a day when the nation briefly sets aside partisan enmity for the peaceful transition of power, but personal enmity? That’s another matter.
One small example: as the ex-Presidents gathered in the crypt of the Capitol preparing to head out to the platform, a chilly day got a bit chillier as the Carters and the Clintons were forced to occupy the same cramped space.
Former Democratic President Jimmy Carter appeared to greet former Republican President George H.W. Bush and his wife warmly, kissing Barbara Bush on the cheek. But as Carter passed fellow Democrats Bill and Hillary Clinton, the two men did not appear to acknowledge each others presence at all.
President Carter disputes there was any snub and says any suggestion there was is “erroneous.” Through a spokesperson at the Carter Center in Atlanta, the former President told ABC News that he had earlier spent a half hour talking to the Clintons and therefore wanted to use the opportunity to say hello to the Bushes while he could. According to the spokesperson, cameras only caught the later encounter.
Relations between the Carters and the Clintons have reportedly been frosty for years, dating back to 1980, when Carter’s landslide defeat to Ronald Reagan may have cost Clinton the Arkansas governor’s mansion. At least that’s what Clinton reportedly believed.
In the 90s Clinton was said to resent some of Carter’s freelance diplomacy. Carter, for his part, spared no criticism of Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Recently, during a photo opportunity at the Oval Office , following a lunch with Barack Obama and the ex-Presidents, Clinton and Carter stood next to one another, but miles apart. Obama stood between the two Presidents Bush.