Dec. 10 (UPI) --
As Air Force One took off yesterday for Nelson Mandela
's memorial service in South Africa, it carried not only President Barack Obama
and First Lady Michelle Obama
but also former President George W. Bush
, former First Lady Laura Bush
, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
During the flight, the Obamas, with the Bushes and Secretary Clinton, reflected on their past interactions with Mandela. Deputy national security adviser for strategic communications Ben Rhodes told reporters "He is a leader that intersected with so many different American political leaders of both parties over the years, and so each of them has their own experience with Mandela."
The dignitaries were to be joined at Tuesday's memorial service by former President Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and former President Jimmy Carter, who traveled separately to South Africa.
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