It was nowhere to be found on the president's official schedule, but it happened: A photo posted to the White House Flickr stream just after 5 p.m. on Friday showed Barack Obama kicking back in the Oval Office with former president George H.W. Bush and his son, former Florida governor Jeb Bush. The former president, now 87, is seen sitting in a collapsible wheel chair, but according to spokesman Jim McGrath is "in fine health and he's not in any pain," the AP reports. He has just been relying more and more on the help of wheelchairs and a scooter lately. "His legs don't work the way he wants them to," McGrath said.
And what was discussed during this surprise show of bipartisanship? From Politico:
When asked what the men discussed and why it wasn't on the schedule, the White House released a statement saying, “The three men enjoyed a personal visit in the Oval Office – as they have done on previous occasions when President Bush is Washington.”
While Obama and the Bushes have generally maintained good relations — the president awarded George H.W. the Presidential Medal of Freedom last February
and appeared alongside Jeb at a Miami high school
in March to help promote his education reform plan — their Oval Office rendezvous does come at an awkward moment: Just a day earlier, the president told ABC News' Diane Sawyer
that it was George W. Bush's policies that led to the current recession. He also blamed George W. for the foodstamp explosion that Newt Gingrich is currently trying to pin on Obama, with Gingrich dubbing him the "foodstamp president."
Jeb told Bloomberg last week
that he will "stay neutral" in the Republican presidential primaries, warning against the "circular firing squad" among the remaining candidates. Still, he has not completely lost his mind: "I intend to help whoever wins the nomination," he pledged. His father "unofficially" endorsed Mitt Romney
in the Houston Chronicle
in December, saying he admires his “stability, experience, [and] principles. He’s a fine person. I just think he’s mature and reasonable — not a bomb-thrower.”
The Bushes were in the capital to attend the 99th Alfafa Club dinner
tonight, a Washington power player summit held at the Capital Hilton where the jokes and booze are said to flow, and the media isn't invited. The president and first lady will be in attendance, as well. Let's hope someone tweets about it — or at least throws a few choice shots up on Flickr.
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