Obama Gives Standard Stump Speech at George W. Bush’s Portrait Unveiling
May 31, 2012
RUSH: They’re unveiling the portraits of President Bush and Laura Bush right now at the White House in the East Room. President Obama is doing the honors. People have been anticipating this because Obama has made it clear that every problem we face in this country is because of the guy in the room whose portrait is being unveiled today. This today, to me, is kind of a miniature version of the White House Correspondents Dinner where everybody fakes it for a while, in interests of decorum (and also it’s worth it).
But Obama does not believe a word he’s saying.
He just talked about how Bush did a great job, cares about America, did what he thought best; every president wants the country to succeed; every president works together. You know he’s having to bite his lip here. Not literally. I remember when the Clinton unveiling took place and George W. Bush was eloquent and respectful, and the audience was full of Clinton donors and friends and family, and it’s the same situation today. I wouldn’t expect Obama to turn this into some sort of a political event. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did, if he got a couple digs in. (We’ll find out. We’re rolling on it.)
We’re not gonna JIP it, but the event’s taking place.
It’s a tradition.
So if any fireworks do happen, we will let you know about it.
RUSH: I must confess being disappointed at just one thing at the unveiling of the portrait of George W. Bush. I was hoping, ’cause it’s in the room there, everybody’s in the room, and it’s hidden behind a drape. They have the unveiling, and they lift the drape and everybody looks at the portrait, “Ooh, ahh, ooh,” and they applaud and so forth, and I was just hoping that somebody would have put a cartoon bubble on Bush’s face or near Bush’s face and inside the bubble it said, “Miss me yet?” I would have loved that. In fact, we may do a mock-up of the portrait at RushLimbaugh.com. I know it would never happen. But, folks, something like that has happened before. I’ll tell you a little secret. Well, it’s not a secret because I have mentioned it before.
I have spent the night in the Lincoln Bedroom and I got to know the stewards in the White House. They’re great people. And after the 1992 election, I used the connections that I had made, and I asked if it would be possible for a note to be placed on the pillow in the bedroom, the Lincoln Bedroom, when Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and her husband, Harry, slept there the night of the inauguration. I knew they were going to, ’cause they were bragging about it, they were talking about how they were gonna sleep in Lincoln’s bed. Of course Lincoln never slept — the Lincoln Bedroom, by the way, was Lincoln’s office. It’s on the residential floor. There was no West Wing, there was no Oval Office at the time.
What’s the Lincoln Bedroom now was actually Lincoln’s office as president. They’ve turned it into a bedroom, right across the hall is what’s called the Queen’s Bedroom. And when you’re there it’s like a hotel in a way. The president and first lady are right down the hall. It’s the residence quarters. If you need coffee, you buzz, and they’ll bring you coffee the morning, wake you up in the morning or whatever. I mean, I actually did not want to go to sleep. It’s a museum room. I called my mom, I said, “Mom, you’re not gonna believe where I am,” and she didn’t. And there were no cell phones with cameras built into ’em at the time. This is 1992.
But I had a note written, and it was promised me that they would leave the note for the Thomasons on the pillow of the Lincoln Bedroom on the night Clinton was inaugurated. And I had to wait for months to find out if it actually happened. And I found out that it did. When Harry Thomason was on C-SPAN some months later talking about how when they came back from all the parties and revelry and they went to bed in the Lincoln Bedroom, they had a note from Rush Limbaugh on the pillow.
So a bubble off of Bush’s face saying, “Miss me yet?” I know it would never happen. I knew the Thomasons. They’re from southeast Missouri, Linda is. She’s from a town called Poplar Bluff, which is a little south of Cape Girardeau, where I’m from, and they’re TV producers. And the note simply said — I don’t even remember it exactly — something like, “Remember, I was here first, and I will be back. Have a great night, Rush.” And it was months after that Harry Thomason was on C-SPAN laughing about it.
RUSH: We got three Obama bites, and we got three Bush bites. We’ll do ’em three Obama in a row, three Bush, we’ll do side-by-side comparisons. Here’s Obama, number one.
OBAMA: The months before I took the oath of office were a chaotic time. 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, and still over those two and a half months —
RUSH: I don’t believe it.
OBAMA: — 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 as seamless as possible.
RUSH: It’s “Mr. President, you went out of your way.” It’s not “George, you went out of your way.” Anyway, he couldn’t help himself. This is a day where all this is set aside but he has to point out, it was bad, and it was worse than we knew. It was worse than they told us, but even two and a half months, in the midst of the crisis, President Bush went out of their way to make sure the transition to us was seamless. The months before I took the oath were chaotic, the economy was in trouble, fellow Americans were in pain.
So you got Bush sitting there and the country sucked when I got here ’cause of you, buddy, even though we’re unveiling your portrait today. It was so bad, we didn’t know how bad it was until we actually got in here, George. Am I over-interpreting this? Am I hearing what I expected to hear, am I making too much of it, or not? Is it classless? The months before I took the oath were a chaotic time. We knew the economy was in trouble, but we wouldn’t know until later just how breathtaking the crisis was? Okay, here’s Obama two.
OBAMA: All of us will always remember the image of President Bush standing on that pile of rubble, bullhorn in hand, conveying extraordinary strength and resolve to the American people, but also representing the strength and resolve of the American people.
OBAMA: And last year when we delivered justice to Osama Bin Laden, I made it clear that our success was due to —
OBAMA: — many people in many organizations working together over many years, across two administrations.
OBAMA: That’s why my first call, once American forces were safely out of harm’s way, was to President Bush.
RUSH: Okay. So Bush’s greatest moment was passing power to Obama, even though he lied to him about how bad it was. And then Bush’s second best moment was when Obama called him and told him he’d killed Bin Laden. Is that right? Or am I misinterpreting this, folks? He did give Bush some credit getting Bin Laden here, but it the highlight for Bush was getting the phone call from Obama. Okay. I don’t want to err on the side of bias here. Here’s Obama three.
OBAMA: One of the greatest strengths of our democracy is our ability to peacefully and routinely go through transitions of power. Leaders and their families who are willing to devote their lives to the country that they love. This is what we’ll think about every time we pass these portraits, just as millions of other visitors will do in the decades and perhaps even the centuries to come.
RUSH: Right. So if America lasts a couple more centuries, people will think about Bush passing power to Obama when they pass Bush’s portrait. Is that right? That’s what people will think of. Hundreds of years from now, people will think about Bush passing power to Obama when they pass Bush. Mr. President, let me tell you something. You talk about piles of rubble. What we’re always gonna remember, Mr. Obama, is the image of you standing on the rubble of the US economy. That’s the image we have.
RUSH: Okay, Obama. Even Bush’s portrait was all about him. Greatest moment was passing power. Bush’s greatest moment, passing power to Obama. Bush’s second best moment was when Obama called him and told him Bin Laden was dead. And then, in a couple hundred years people will think about Bush passing power to Obama when they pass Bush’s portrait in the White House. He gave his stump speech. He gave his stump speech at a portrait unveiling. Let’s listen to Bush, shall we? We have three Bush bites. Here’s number one.
GEORGE W. BUSH: I am pleased that my portrait brings an interesting symmetry to the White House collection. It now starts and ends with a George W. (laughter) When the British burned the White House in 1814, Dolley Madison famously saved this portrait of the first George W. Now Michelle — (laughter) — if anything happens, there’s your man. (laughter.)
RUSH: A little dig, a little dig from Bush. Here’s Bush two.
GEORGE W. 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?”
RUSH: Oh-ho! Ho-ho-ho! Another dig. Mr. President, not Barack, did you notice, “Mr. President, when you’re wandering these halls, you’ll now be able to ask, ‘What would George do?'” Oh, yeah. And then here’s Bush three.
GEORGE W. BUSH: I am honored to be hanging near a man who gave me the greatest gift possible, unconditional love. And that would be number 41. (applause)