President Barack Obama put aside politics Thursday when he welcomed former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, back to the White House for the unveiling of their official portraits.
The White House was home to the Bushes for eight years until January 2009.
The pair of portraits was done by artist John Howard Sanden. Bush can be seen standing in the Oval Office with his hand resting on an armchair. A 1929 Western painting, A Charge to Keep by William H.D. Koerner, hangs over the right shoulder of the president, who used the same title for his 1999 memoir. For her portrait, the former first lady is standing in the Green Room she helped refurbish in 2007. She is wearing a midnight blue gown.
Obama and Bush have clashed on policy in the past, but the 43rd president and his family received a friendly welcome for the showing of their official portraits. The two presidents never ran against each other, but Obama has blamed Bush for the recession and linked his probable rival in November, Mitt Romney, to Bush's economic ideas.
We may have our differences politically, but the presidency transcends those differences, Obama told Bush, as reported by the Associated Press.
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Obama thanked Bush for his service to the country and said the president left at the White House a really good TV sports package that he now uses.
Bush, who brought some jokes of his own, said he is pleased that when Obama is 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?'