President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush shared the stage for the first time in several years with President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama on Thursday as they unveiled the Bush couple’s formal White House portraits. The first couples were gracious and joking as they thanked each other for their examples to one another and the nation.
President Barack Obama thanked Bush for his kind words of encouragement and seamless transition period between administrations. “Plus, you left me a really good TV sports package,” Obama joked. “I use it.”
“We are overwhelmed by your hospitality,” said Bush to the Obama administration members.
Bush said that the White House portrait gallery of presidents now “starts and ends with a George W.”
“When the British burned the White House, as Fred mentioned, in 1814, Dolly Madison famously saved this portrait of the first George W.,” said Bush. “Now Michelle, if anything happens there’s your man,” said a laughing Bush pointing to his portrait.
Former First Lady Laura Bush also took the stage and noted, “nothing makes a home like having portraits of its former occupants staring down at you from the walls.”
“This was our family’s home for our eight years. It was our home but it wasn’t our house,” said Laura Bush. “This house belongs to the people whose portraits will never hang here. The ordinary and not so ordinary people whose lives inspired us and whose expectations guided us during the years that we lived here.”
When First Lady Michelle Obama took the stage, she observed that there was not “enough tissue to go around.”
“Jenna and Barbara [Bush] are just a mess,” said Michelle Obama.
She went on to thank the Bush family, and singled out Laura Bush for providing an example of “strength and grace.” She further promised President Bush that his portrait was in good hands.
Watch the speeches below via C-SPAN:
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