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House Majority Whip James Clyburn takes a selfie Wednesday with former President George W. Bush. Photo: Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush credited Rep. James Clyburn with being the "savior" of the Democratic Party, telling the South Carolinian at Wednesday's inauguration his endorsement allowed Joe Biden to win the party's presidential nomination.

Why it matters: The nation's last two-term Republican president also said Clyburn's nod allowed for the transfer of power, because he felt only Biden had the ability to unseat President Trump.

What they're saying: “When Bill [Clinton] walked up, George [W. Bush] looked at Bill and said, 'This guy’s y’all savior,’” Clyburn told Axios, referring to himself.

  • Clyburn's endorsement helped Biden to win last year's pivotal South Carolina primary, convincing the rest of the Democratic field to get behind his candidacy.
  • During a call with local reporters, the powerful House majority whip revealed Bush made the additional comment about the move resulting in the transfer of power.

Go deeper

Obama, Bush and Clinton to Biden: "Your success is our country's success"

Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the Celebrating America Primetime Special on Wednesday. Photo: Handout/Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images d

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton wished President Biden well and spoke of coming together in a "peaceful transition of power" in a video organized by the inaugural committee Wednesday.

What they're saying: Obama noted "we can have a fierce disagreements and yet recognize each other's common humanity and that, as Americans, we have more in common than what separates us." Clinton said Biden had spoken form them in his unifying address, "now you will lead for us and we're ready to march with you." Bush added, "Your success is our country's success."

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."