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U.S. Presidential Transition (2009)

President to president

President to president

"You will be our president when you read this note," George Herbert Walker Bush wrote to Bill Clinton, the man who defeated him in the 1992 campaign, denying Mr. Bush the provisional vindication that reelection provides until history has its chance to judge from a distance. Nonetheless, in Oval Office tradition, Mr. Bush left a note for Mr. Clinton to read on taking office, and it echoed the message of transitions past, even between bitter political rivals: "I am rooting hard for you." Note the pronoun: You will be our president. My president. In our interviews and research into the private relations among these most public men, the pronouns matter. At a time when...