President Barack Obama is welcoming his favorite foil, former President George W. Bush, back to the White House on Thursday for the official unveiling of Bush’s portrait. Given the history, the scene ought to be quite a picture.
Obama is still bad-mouthing Bush’s time in office, and it’s not just because of the debt and the unfinished wars Obama inherited. Obama sees Bush’s economic ideas as the same as his current rival, Mitt Romney, so he lumps them together.
In the heart of a re-election year, Obama will to get to rise above the fray for a day and play statesman.
He and his wife, Michelle, will host generations of Bushes for a private lunch, including former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush. Family members will join them.
Then, in the ornate East Room, Obama and George W. Bush will speak as the portraits of the former president and Laura Bush are unveiled. The audience will be filled with friends and officials from Bush’s two terms in office.
No one close to the current or former president expects the least sign of animus Thursday, particularly given that their transition in 2009 was handled with grace and that they have since shared moments of help and healing.