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August 06, 2014 AT 1:47 PM
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama said she considered her predecessor Laura Bush a "role model and a friend," as the two took the stage together on Wednesday at an event on empowering women in Africa. The two first got to know each other in November 2008, just after President Barack Obama was elected to the White House. Laura Bush gave Michelle Obama a tour of the living quarters. Despite their husbands’ political differences, Obama said that Bush had “long been an inspiration.” The forum, held at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, was part of U.S.-Africa summit taking place in Washington this week and included 27 African first ladies.