Michelle Obama and George W. Bush have built quite a reel of infectious exchanges together over the years, with their most recent viral encounter taking place during the late Sen. John McCain’s funeral in August. During her sitdown with the Today show on Thursday, October 11, Mrs. Obama discussed whatever there may have been to discuss concerning their stay in one another’s company, including the so-called “cough drop moment” that has played over and again in the memory of many.
Albeit the simplest of gestures, the ex-commander-in-chief passing Mrs. Obama one of his cough drops during the service captivated the attention of the press filling the National Cathedral. At the time, little did reporters know that her mind happened to be on the custom White House tin that Bush Jr. was keeping them in. The former first lady’s familiarity with the logo it bore — from the days of Barack and the family’s two-term stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. — begged her to question how old the sweets must have been.
“It was a simple gesture. He was getting a cough drop from Laura and I looked over and I said, ‘Hand me a cough drop.’ He was like, ‘Oh, ok.’ And, I will add that they were old cough drops,'” Mrs. Obama said to the laughter of hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb. She then elaborated on how they must date back to his tenure in the Oval Office, which came to an end in January of 2009, stating, “That’s the funny thing – because they were in the little White House box – the Altoids. And, I was like, ‘How long have you had these?’ And he said, ‘A long time.'”
The public has come to anticipate such interactions between the unlikely duo, ever since they appeared to get extra chummy with one another during the dedication ceremony held to inaugurate the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture back in 2016. NBC News would pretty much sum up the talk generated around images of their embrace during the monumental occasion, with a headline that called it “The Hug Felt Around The Country.”
As Mrs. Obama explains, thanks to traditional seating arrangements, those who’ve come to appreciate the natural affection between them can expect to see more of it as the years go by. And it’s something she says she isn’t mad about at all. “President Bush and I, we are forever seatmates because of protocol, and that’s how we sit at all the official functions,” Mrs. Obama told the Today viewing audience. “He’s my partner in crime at every major thing where all the ‘formers’ gather. So we’re together all the time.”
Judging by what Bush Jr. told Mrs. Obama about the depth of his old cough drop stash, she can rest assure he’ll have her back should she ever show up under the weather. “‘We’ve got a lot of these,'” she recalls him saying.