Hardball with Chris Matthews, 4/25/13, 5:59 PM ET

Matthews: Leaving politics behind to celebrate the Bush Library

Chris Matthews shares his thoughts on Thursday’s dedication of the Bush Presidential Library, and the positive vibe as Republicans and Democrats put their differences aside for the event.

Leaving politics behind to celebrate the Bush Library

Updated

Let me finish tonight with this pleasant day in Dallas.

The goal here today was to give a big push-off to George W. Bush’s presidential library. The great irony—it would normally have been the huge difficulty—lay in the fact that the No.1 decision of George W. Bush’s presidency was to take us into the Iraq War. That also was, I think, the chief reason for the nomination and election of Barack Obama. Activist Democrats didn’t like the Iraq War; didn’t like the foreign policy behind it; didn’t like the way the decision to attack, invade, and occupy was made, was sold, was made to happen.

That said, it was a civilized day down here. The words spoken were as sunny as the weather. You couldn’t tell the parties apart, couldn’t tell that Carter won because of Nixon’s Watergate, that the Republicans beat Carter by calling him weak, that Clinton beat Bush by calling him too “out of it,” that the second Bush won by saying he wouldn’t embarrass us the way his Democratic predecessor had.

Now getting through all those bramble bushes, you might say, was a feat in itself—and that’s what the five presidents did today: they got through the day without harming each other or themselves; by finding things to agree about; finding ways to say good, honest things about each other—and leaving all the rest for the next day on Hardball, just like we did.

Leaving politics behind to celebrate the Bush Library

Updated