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At The Funeral Of Nancy Reagan, A Politically-Divided America Came Together

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 14/03/2016 Dominique Mosbergen
ATHENA IMAGE © Irfan Khan via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

In a deeply polarized America, a photograph capturing some affection across the aisle made the rounds on the Internet this weekend.

The endearing picture, shared on Twitter by CNN’s political director David Chalian, showed Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and former president George W. Bush in a smiling embrace at Nancy Reagan’s funeral. 

The funeral, which took place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on Friday, was attended by about 1,000 guests, including Hollywood stars, such as Bo Derek, Tom Selleck and Anjelica Houston.

As The New York Times noted, the occasion also “served as a high-level mixer for opposing sides of the American political establishment.” 

Bush was seated next to first lady Michelle Obama; his wife, Laura, sat next to Clinton. (The Clintons and the Bushes have had a longstanding friendship. In a 2014 interview with CNN, the former president described the former first lady and secretary of state as being like a “sister-in-law” to him, thanks to his close ties with her husband.)

Also in attendance: former first lady Rosalynn Carter, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D), U.S. ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and California governors Jerry Brown (D) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).

“[Nancy Reagan] had a civility and appreciation for other people’s points of view,” TV producer Norman Lear told The Washington Post of his late friend.

Reagan died on March 6 at the age of 94.

In a rare show of solidarity, politicians from both sides of the aisle were effusive with praise in their tributes for the former first lady. 

“We remain grateful for Nancy Reagan’s life, thankful for her guidance, and prayerful that she and her beloved husband are together again,” President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, said in a statement. 

“Mrs. Reagan was fiercely loyal to her beloved husband, and that devotion was matched only by her devotion to our country,” the Bushes said. “Her influence on the White House was complete and lasting.”

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