Obama balks at bucket, but Bush accepts challenge
Former President George W. Bush took the ice bucket challenge. Then he nominated former President Bill Clinton to do it next.
The challenge has caught on with notable figures participating in the campaign to raise money for the fight against ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.
In a video posted on Bush's Facebook page, he says: "To you all who challenged me, I do not think it's presidential for me to be splashed with ice water, so I'm simply going to write you a check."
But here's what happened next.
The video, taken in Kennebunkport, Maine, then shows a smiling Laura Bush, his wife, dousing him. She says: "That check is from me I didn't want to ruin my hairstyle."
But don't look for anyone to be pouring water over President Barack Obama's head. After all, he is the President of the United States. American presidents, like Bush, are more likely to do something unusual or outrageous for a cause after they have left office. But while he is still president, Obama must maintain the dignity and respect that is part of his office.
The ice bucket dare is sweeping the nation and has raised nearly $42 million to support research into Lou Gehrig's disease. The disease attacks nerve cells and can lead to complete paralysis and death. Average life expectancy is two to five years after diagnosis, according to the ALS Association.
The challenge calls on people to post videos on social media of themselves dumping a bucket of ice water on their heads. Or have someone else handle the chilly chore. They also have to publicly name others to do the same thing within 24 hours or donate $100 to the ALS Association. Many people do both.
Other well-known participants include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ethel Kennedy. The 86-year-old Kennedy family matriarch tagged Obama to participate after recently dousing herself at her family's Massachusetts estate. Mrs.Kennedy knew that the president would be nearby on vacation.
Obama participated financially by donating an undisclosed sum, the White House said. Singer Justin Bieber nominated Obama to take the challenge, which has been a boon to the advocacy group.
Meanwhile, the State Department has banned participation by U.S. ambassadors and other high-profile foreign service officers. Department lawyers say participation would violate federal ethics rules barring officials from using public office for private gain no matter how worthy the cause.
Critical thinking challenge: How have politicians and entertainers made this campaign more effective? Is it part of their jobs or responsibilities?