1 Jun 2012

Bush back in White House

1:46 pm on 1 June 2012

Former President George W Bush and Laura Bush returned to the White House on Thursday for the unveiling of their official portraits.

Mr and Mrs Bush entered the room to the tune of Hail to the Chief.

They received a warm welcome from President Barack Obama and the First Lady.

"Welcome back to the house you called home for eight years," Mr Obama said.

The ABC reports it was like two old chums catching up as Mr Obama praised his predecessor for his handling of the attacks on 11 September, 2001 and for his work on the financial crisis.

"We may have our differences politically, but the presidency transcends those differences," he said.

Mr Bush then went on the stage, looked at the portraits of himself and his wife, turned to the crowd and winked. He had this advice for his sucessor:

''When you're wandering the corridors of night as you wrestle with tough decisions, you will now be able to gaze at this portrait and ask, ''What would George do?'' ''

The portrait by artist John Howard Sanden shows Mr Bush in the Oval Office, wearing a gray suit and blue tie, his hand resting on an arm chair. His lips are closed with a slight smile on his face.

Mrs. Bush is portrayed wearing a midnight blue gown and standing in the Green Room, which she helped refurbish in 2007.

''(This) was really nice of you to invite us,'' said Mrs Bush.

Former President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, also attended.