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Bushes Back In White House For Portrait Unveiling


Three presidents were reunited at the White House today. The occasion was the unveiling of two new portraits of George and Laura Bush. The paintings by Austin, Texas native John Howard Sanden will hang near those of George Bush's parents, who were also on hand for the ceremony. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.


SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: A room full of former White House staffers applauded when the new Bush portraits were unveiled. Standing between his own picture and one of George Washington, Mr. Bush joked there's now an interesting symmetry in the White House portrait collection.

GEORGE W. BUSH: It now starts and ends with a George W.

HORSLEY: Just as Dolly Madison famously rescued Washington's portrait when the White House burned in the War of 1812, Mr. Bush joked Michelle Obama should look after his picture if anything should happen in the future.

BUSH: 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?

HORSLEY: This was more of a day for punch lines than policy debates. Despite his many disagreements with the man who served before him, Mr. Obama stressed continuity and what they share. We've always had leaders who believe in America above all else, Mr. Obama said. That's what he'll think about whenever he passes the new portraits.

Scott Horsley, NPR News, the White House. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.