George and Laura Bush Back were in the White House on Thursday May 31st, 2012 for their Official Portrait Unveiling
More than a few Americans now wish they had never left!
The official portraits of President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush which will hang in the White House:
Artist John Howard Sanden painted the portraits of George and Laura Bush. The former president’s portrait depicts him in the Oval Office in front of one of George’s favorite paintings, "A Charge to Keep." Laura Bush’s portrait shows her in the Green Room wearing a long gown.
The former president’s painting will hang prominently in the formal entrance hall to the White House, the Grand Foyer, a location Bush approved of.
George and Laura reflect on their portraits (below) in the White House East Room surrounded by former Bush Administration officials and former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush.
The White House portraits are much more formal than the informal portraits for the National Portrait Gallery which the Bush’s unveiled in December 2008.
Video of the unveiling and President Bush’s remarks are here. More than one person said that although “W” was on his game, Laura Bush’s remarks were just as memorable and witty.
Nice to see a moment of class and good grace return to the White House was the comment by many! Well, no worry. In little more than eight months that will be the norm once again!
President Obama Insults Former President Bush At His Own Portrait Hanging but George prevails… wins the verbal dual!! We were reminded of George W’s wit; he stole the show with his wisecracks and grin.
Just last week I heard someone say, “When you meet George W. Bush you are immediately impressed with how smart he is and his wit… exactly the opposite of how the MSM Progressive media portrayed him. On Thursday I was reminded of just how right they were.
"Thank you so much for inviting our rowdy friends to my hanging," the former president said, referring to members of his family and former staff, invited back to the executive mansion for the unveiling of his and Laura Bush’s official portraits. "Behave yourselves," he jokingly admonished his crowd.
Bush told the current president he was pleased to know "that when you are wandering these halls as you wrestle with tough decisions, you will now be able to gaze at this portrait and ask, `What would George do?’"
Bush said he was pleased that the White House portrait collection now starts and ends with a "George W." Noting that George Washington’s portrait was famously saved by first lady Dolley Madison when the British burned the White House in 1814, Bush pointed to his own portrait and told Michelle Obama that "if anything happens, there’s your man."
With a smile, the first lady assured him in her own remarks, "I promise, I’m going straight for it" in case of emergency.
Bush “43” turned emotional as he spoke of his own portrait hanging near his father’s – "No. 41" as he called him. On the verge of tears, the younger Bush thanked his father, who attended the ceremony in a wheelchair, for "the greatest gift possible, unconditional love."
“W” has intentionally faded from the public spotlight and he wrote his own remarks for Thursday’s event, since he no longer employs a speechwriter.
Laura added to the lightheartedness, “This is not the first time I’ve had the opportunity to confront an artistic likeness of myself. A few years ago, just after the 2008 election, a friend sent me something he’d found in the gift shop of the National Constitutional Center in Philadelphia. It was a Laura Bush bobblehead doll. He said he found it on the clearance shelf.”…
“But I’m flattered and grateful to know that this particular work has a permanent home. And thanks to the masterful talent of John Howard Sanden, I like it a whole lot better than I do that bobblehead doll.”
President Obama steered clear of the direct political jabs but didn’t shy away from mentioning the economic crisis that began under Bush and has consumed his (Obama’s) term. And just the week before Obama was revving up campaign donors and again turning Bush into a punch line. Obama depicted Romney as a peddler of bad economic ideas, (hello?) helping the rich at the expense of the middle class. He then added: "That was tried, remember? The last guy did all this."
But, with all the good feelings in the room President Obama turned a bit lighthearted himself, telling Bush, "You left me a really good TV sports package. … I use it."
While there were a few Democrats in attendance they were far outnumbered by Republicans, but political tensions ran so low that even Vice President Joe Biden offered a hearty handshake and greeting to Karl Rove, Bush’s longtime political adviser and the foe of countless Democrats.
Current presidents hosting their predecessors for portrait unveilings is a long-standing political tradition at the White House. Bush held a similar ceremony for his predecessor Bill Clinton, who did the same for the Bush the elder. Obama personally greeted the Bush family Thursday afternoon upon their arrival at the White House and then hosted a private lunch for more than a dozen members of the Bush family in the Red Room.
The Bushes visited former Vice President Dick Cheney, who did not attend the portrait unveiling, at his home in nearby Virginia before they returned to Texas.
Check out George ‘41’s wild socks…