White House Unveils Official Portrait of Former President George W Bush

Posted May 31st, 2012 at 4:35 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed former president George W. Bush back to the White House for the unveiling of his official portrait, sharing some laughs with his predecessor and political adversary.

The former president was joined by his wife, Laura, and other family members including his father and his mother, former president George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush.

President Obama said that with the unveiling of the portraits Thursday, Mr. and Mrs. Bush will take their place alongside men and women who have built this country and those who worked to perfect it.

“And, that's why from time to time, those of us who have the privilege to hold this office find ourselves turning to the only people on Earth who know the feeling. We may have our differences politically, but the presidency transcends those differences.”

Mr. Bush jokingly noted that the first presidential portrait is of George Washington, saying that the portrait collection now “starts and ends with a George W.”

“I am also pleased, Mr. President, that when you are wandering these halls as you wrestle with tough decisions, you will now be able to gaze at this portrait and wonder 'What would George do?'”

The former president said he was honored that his portrait would hang near one of his father, the nation's 41st president.

Former first lady Laura Bush thanked the “ordinary and not so ordinary people” who inspired them during their time at the White House. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bush thanked the White House administration and staff that worked during his eight years in office.

President Obama, who had been highly critical of Mr. Bush's decision to invade Iraq and his handling of the war in Afghanistan, has often blamed his predecessor for the financial crisis that began late in the former president's last term in office.