Laughter and Emotion at Bushes' White House Portrait Unveiling
Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura were back at the White House yesterday (May 31st) for the unveiling of their official portraits, an event that was marked by laughter and moments of emotion. President Obama and his wife Michelle personally greeted the Bushes when they arrived at the White House and hosted the traditional event in the East Room, which was attended by Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, and mother Barbara, daughters Jenna and Barbara, and other family members, as well as many staffers from his administration. There were a lot of humorous remarks, particularly from Bush himself, who dubbed the occasion, quote, "my hanging," including some joking words for Obama: ["And 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?'" (Laughter)] SOUNDCUE (:10 OC: . . . would George do?') The former first lady also had some lighthearted moments, as did the the president:
["It was really gracious of you to invite us back to the White House to hang a few family pictures. And I'm sure you know nothing makes a house a home like having portraits of its former occupants staring down at you from the walls." (Laughter)] SOUNDCUE (:15 OC: . . . from the walls.)
["Michelle and I are grateful to the entire Bush family for their guidance and their example during our own transition. George, I will always remember the gathering you hosted for all the living former presidents before I took office, your kind words of encouragement. Plus, you also left me a really good TV sports package." (Laughter) "I use it."] SOUNDCUE (:32 OC: . . . I use it.)
But Bush became emotional when he spoke about his portrait hanging near that of his 87-year-old father, who attended the ceremony in a wheelchair, and was on the verge of tears as he thanked him, quote, "for the greatest gift possible, unconditional love."