Apparently, as with so many other things, some people who hold the Presidency have class and some don't. To all appearances, former President George W. Bush is the former, and current President Barack Obama is the latter, at least if this afternoon's unveiling of former President Bush's Presidential portrait is any guide.
This event - which is, at least in theory, supposed to be free of partisan sniping, got an earful of just that when President Obama gave his introductory remarks welcoming Bush:
President Obama on Thursday twisted the knife he'd stuck in his predecessor's legacy, reminding former President George W. Bush that he left the economy a mess and al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden alive when he left the White House three years ago.
"The months before I took the oath of office were a chaotic time," Obama told a crowd of mostly former Bush administration officials and members of the Bush family, including Bush's parents, former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush.[...]
"We knew our economy was in trouble, our fellow Americans were in pain, but we wouldn't know until later just how breathtaking the financial crisis had been," Obama continued, raising some eyebrows among the Bush crowd seated just a few feet away.
Obama stopped short of blaming Bush for the recession, something he has done repeatedly on the campaign trail.
Instead, Obama couched his remarks with praise of the former president, thanking Bush for going out of his way "in the middle of that crisis ... to make sure that the transition to a new administration was as seamless as possible."
Translation: "Thanks for getting out of the way and letting the smart people take over, you jerk."
Bush, however, was the picture of grace, not saying anything remotely insulting about Obama or his wife, and instead treating them with all the deference a sitting President might expect. Indeed, the only place where Bush could have been construed to say anything insulting was when he named his own wife the best First Lady ever, with his mother Barbara Bush maybe tying her. And as to himself, he didn't pull any punches there, using his typical self-deprecating humor.
"Madame First Lady, thank you so much for inviting our rowdy friends to my hanging," he joked.
You can watch former President Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush's remarks below: