George W. Bush 'Ice Bucket Challenge' Dump Aired on 'Today'

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 11:55 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Former President George W. Bush took the "Ice Bucket Challenge," an ALS benefit being driven by social media, after he was called out by daughter Jenna Bush Hager, a correspondent on NBC's "Today" show.

The "Today" show aired the video of Bush getting dumped with ice water by former first lady Laura Bush, to the delight of the morning program's hosts. In the process, Bush challenged President Bill Clinton to do the same.

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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement and can lead to death.

The "Ice Bucket Challenge," which was meant to bring attention to the disease and raise money for the ALS Association, has exploded over social media this month as celebrities and people from all walks of life posted videos of getting dumped with ice water. The association reported Tuesday that $22.9 million has been raised over the past three weeks in connection with the challenge.

"Our top priority right now is acknowledging all the gifts made by donors to The ALS Association," the association's president, Barbara Newhouse, said in a statement. "To do that, we need to be strategic in our decision making as to how the funds will be spent so that when people look back on this event in ten and twenty years, the Ice Bucket Challenge will be seen as a real game-changer for ALS."

Not everyone's a fan of the social media flavor of the month videos. Bill Dwyre, a Los Angeles Times sports columnist who said he lost a close friend to the disease, charged that the videos are "distasteful."

"If, at this time next year, or a few years down the line, there is an ALS breakthrough and it is traceable, even minutely, to the money raised through this Internet furor, I will write 17 columns praising the human spirit and its current technological driver," Dwyre wrote. "But at the moment, pouring water on our heads, or each other's, seems a slightly distasteful disconnect to the reality of ALS."

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