While the few Democrats in attendance were far outnumbered by Republicans, the political tensions ran so low that even Vice President Joe Biden offered a hearty handshake and greeting to Karl Rove, Bush's longtime political adviser and a foe of countless Democrats.
"There he is!" Biden exclaimed as he turned over his shoulder to greet Rove who was seated a row behind.
Obama personally greeted the Bush family Thursday afternoon upon their arrival at the White House. The Obamas then hosted a private lunch for more than a dozen members of the Bush family in the Red Room.
Later Thursday, the Bushes visited former Vice President Dick Cheney at his home in nearby Virginia before they returned to Texas.
Current presidents hosting their predecessors for portrait unveilings is a long-standing political tradition at the White House. Bush held a similar ceremony for his predecessor Bill Clinton, who did the same for the elder Bush.
Artist John Howard Sanden painted the portraits of George and Laura Bush. The former president's portrait depicts him in the Oval Office in front of one of his favorite paintings, "A Charge to Keep." Laura Bush's portrait shows her in the Green Room wearing a long gown.
The former president's painting will hang prominently in the formal entrance hall to the White House, the Grand Foyer, a location Bush approved of.
AP White House Correspondent Ben Feller contributed to this report.
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