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Bipartisanship erupts between George W. Bush and Bill Clinton; they cancel joint LA, NY appearances

November 7, 2009 |  1:52 pm

Republican president George W. Bush and Democrat ex-president Bill Clinton at Clinton Library dedication 2004

George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who some may remember as previous presidents who disagree on many things, today agreed and abruptly pulled out of a joint public appearance scheduled for this winter in Los Angeles.

The money was no doubt good but it seems the 42nd and 43rd presidents grew unhappy with the confrontational way the event was being promoted.

The politically dissimilar pair have also dropped out of a similar, later appearance in New York City.

"We canceled the event because of a violation of contract and a promoter who insisted on billing it as something it wasn't," said Matt McKenna, a spokesman for Democrat Clinton. David Sherzer, a spokesman for Bush, also confirmed the event was off.

McKenna said the forum was never intended to be a clash between the men -- "the hottest ticket in political history," a news release called it. It was instead supposed to be a moderated panel discussion. Unlike, say, what usually goes on in Washington.

"It's unfortunate that an overeager promoter ruined the opportunity to hear a serious discussion of the issues between two former presidents who have a great deal of respect for each other," McKenna said.

Officials of the promotion company, hired by New York's Madison Square Garden, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Clinton, who defeated Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, in 1992 to win the presidency, and Republican Bush, who defeated Clinton's VP, Al Gore, in 2000, appeared together at an hourlong forum in Toronto last May. No riots ensued, but that was in Canada.

The two were set to appear Feb. 22 at University City's Gibson Amphitheatre as part of the American Jewish University's public lecture series. The appearance was announced back in August, with tickets set to go on sale this week at prices ranging from $75 to $125.

A second appearance was scheduled for Feb. 25 at Radio City Music Hall in New York, with tickets ranging from $60 to $160.

McKenna would not discuss the fees forfeited by the two former presidents, who aren't exactly on welfare anyway. But they reportedly received $150,000 apiece for their Toronto evening together. McKenna said money was not a consideration in their decision in to cancel the events.

-- Mark Z. Barabak

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Photo: Associated Press (Bush at Clinton library dedication 2004).