Published for The Washington Post, April 25, 2012

The dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum here has been an occasion for both friends and critics of the former president to press their case. According to the polls, the number of critics has fallen over time. They make up for it with enthusiasm.

I fall into the friend category, having worked for President Bush for several years beginning early in the 2000 campaign. There are a number of reasons to join a presidential campaign, not least of which is the main-stage, high-wire excitement. But I can recall the day I decided that my guy was the guy. Bush, campaigning at a town-hall meeting in Gaffney, S.C., got a question demanding to know how he would stop the flow of illegal immigrants. He took the opportunity to remind his rural, conservative audience that “family values don’t stop at the Rio Grande” and that as long as “moms and dads” in Mexico couldn’t feed their children at home, they would seek opportunity in America.

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