News / USA

George W. Bush Joins Obama to Unveil Official Portrait

Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush, right, unveil their portraits in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 31, 2012Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush, right, unveil their portraits in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 31, 2012
x
Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush, right, unveil their portraits in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 31, 2012
Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush, right, unveil their portraits in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 31, 2012
Kent Klein
THE WHITE HOUSE - U.S. President Barack Obama and his predecessor George W. Bush shared a stage and some laughs at the White House on Thursday.  Bush and his wife Laura returned to the White House for the unveiling of their official portraits.
 
The ceremonial hanging of the portraits brought former President Bush back to the White House for the first time in two years.  He has made few public appearances since leaving office in 2009.

A large group of family members, friends and former White House officials attended the unveiling of the portrait of the 43rd president by American artist John Howard Sanden.

Bush is pictured standing in the Oval Office, in front of a painting titled “A Charge to Keep” that hung in the office throughout his presidency.  He said the inclusion of that background detail was appropriate. “I asked John to include it because it reminds me of the wonderful people with whom I was privileged to serve.  Whether they served in the Cabinet or on the presidential staff, these men and women, many of whom are here, worked hard and served with honor.  We had a charge to keep and we kept the charge," he said.

Obama has been highly critical of his predecessor, starting in his 2008 presidential campaign, in which he attacked Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and his handling of the war in Afghanistan.

Throughout his presidency, Obama has pointed out the severity of the financial crisis that began late in Mr. Bush’s term, often blaming his predecessor for the situation.  

He again referred to the 2008 financial problems on Thursday, but thanked Bush for taking time out from dealing with the situation to ease his transition into office. “President Bush understood that rescuing our economy was not just a Democratic or Republican issue, it was an American priority.  I will always be grateful for that," he said.

Obama said that despite their political disagreements, only the five living U.S. presidents understand the challenges of the office.

“No matter how hard you try, you are not going to make everybody happy.  I think that is something that President Bush and I both learned pretty quickly.  And that is why, from time to time, those of us who have had 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," he said.

Bush joked that his likeness on the White House wall could be an inspiration to his successor. “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 ask, ‘What would George do?’"

Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, was also in attendance, with his wife Barbara.  The younger President Bush gave a short and emotional tribute to his father, who is approaching his 87th birthday, thanking him for his “unconditional love.”

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid