George W. Bush returns to the White House

President Barack Obama with former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush as they unveil their official portraits on May 31, 2012, in the East Room at the White House. Photograph by Charles Dharapak/AP Photo

“President and Mrs. Bush, welcome back to the house that you called home for eight years,” were the gracious words offered by President Obama today as President George W. and Laura Bush were at the White House for the official unveiling of their portraits.

ABC News reports: Bush said he was pleased that the White House portrait collection now starts and ends with a “George W.” Noting that George Washington’s portrait was famously saved by first lady Dolley Madison when the British burned the White House in 1814, Bush pointed to his own portrait and told Michelle Obama that “if anything happens, there’s your man.”

While the two will likely never be pals, there is truth in the fact that the President/Former President Club is a fairly exclusive group. And the reality is that, while they may have faced challenges differently, the challenges and responsiblity of the office are something only they can understand.

The paintings were done by portrait artist John Howard Sanden. The works were commissioned by the White House Historical Assn., a nonprofit group, and they will become part of the permanent collection of the White House. (LA Times)

Time Magazine has Presidents in Profile: 20 Portraits from the White House Archives

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