At the unveiling of former President George W. Bush's official portrait at the White House this afternoon, President Barack Obama joined his predecessor and their wives in delivering brief (and at times nice, cordial, and funny) remarks. But there was a seemingly out of place moment during the ceremony when Obama seemed to veer into reiterating his frequent trope that he inherited a bad economy from Bush.
"The months before I took the oath of office were a chaotic time," Obama said, after explaining that the president's job is isolating, and that he and Bush have a connection since so few have held the job. "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 did note the Bush tried to get it right. "Still, over those 2 1/2 months, in the midst of that crisis, President Bush, his cabinet, his staff, many of you who are here today, went out of your ways--George, you went out of your way--to make sure that the transition to a new administration was a seamless as possible. President Bush understood that rescuing our economy was not just a Democratic or Republican issue, it was an American priority. I'll always be grateful for that."
There were plenty of moments, however, when Obama was gracious to his predecessor. "After 3 1/2 years in office and much more gray hair, I have a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the presidents who came before me, including my immediate predecessor President Bush," Obama said. "In this job no decision that reaches your desk is easy, no choice you make is without costs, no matter how hard you try, you're not going to make everybody happy."
And Obama thanked the previous occupant of the White House for the TV programming in the presidential mansion. "You also left me a really good TV sports package," Obama told Bush. "I use it."
Here's a picture of the portrait: