President Barack Obama is welcoming his favorite foil, former President George W. Bush, back to the White House on Thursday for the official unveiling of Bush's portrait. Given the history, the scene ought to be quite a picture.
Obama is still bad-mouthing Bush's time in office, and it's not just because of the debt and the unfinished wars Obama inherited. Obama sees Bush's economic ideas as the same as his current rival, Mitt Romney, so he lumps them together.
Which makes it a little awkward that Obama is about to preside as Bush's image and legacy are enshrined forever.
Never mind all that, say the Obama and Bush camps. This is a timeout for tradition.
The political reunion is expected to put aside any campaign rhetoric, as other gatherings among past and current presidents have, to honor nostalgia and the service of the former president and his wife, Laura.
In the heart of a re-election year, Obama will to get to rise above the fray for a day and play statesman.