From the Los Angeles Times:
The choreography was smooth and the smiles were gracious, but all the same, George W. Bush’s exit from Washington carried a measure of pain.
Not enough to pay him back for all the pain he caused us the last 8 years!
Original DVD cover.
The now-former president fulfilled his role flawlessly. He extended his hand again and again to his successor — on the steps of the White House for morning coffee, as they entered a limousine to ride together to the inauguration, on the grandstand in the shadow of the Capitol dome. And before he left the White House for the last time, Bush tucked a private note to Obama into the drawer of the desk in the Oval Office that aides said would convey his warmest wishes for his successor.
Don’t ask me where i got a copy of the letter, kids!
But swirling around Bush throughout the day were sights and sounds confirming that his presidency, which began with great controversy eight years ago, had ended in controversy as well.
Just as demonstrators clogged the barricades to protest his court-mediated victory in the 2000 election, so the disenchanted lined Pennsylvania Avenue on Tuesday to express their dismay with the way his presidency turned out.
And finally, when Bush’s helicopter lifted off from the east front of the Capitol, cheers rose from the crowd and throng stretching down the National Mall.
Perhaps nothing seemed to symbolize the wounded presidency as much as former Vice President Dick Cheney, who attended the inaugural ceremony in a wheelchair, a cane clutched over his knees. Aides said he injured his back moving boxes into his new residence in Virginia.
Bush is famously thick-skinned. But as the morning wore on, his smile appeared to grow more strained.
Perhaps one reason was the unmistakable enthusiasm for his successor, who drew far greater crowds than Bush did to either of his two inaugurals. Or perhaps it was that despite Obama’s repeated thanks and handshakes, many of the words of his inaugural speech must have stung.
“On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics,” Obama said.
Bush’s inner circle and the Republican faithful express untarnished pride in his accomplishments and frustration that his presidency has been underappreciated. Several dozen White House staffers organized a private send-off for the president in a closed hangar at Andrews Air Force base, at which both the former president and former first lady spoke movingly, according to people familiar with the gathering.
Bush then took off for his childhood home of Midland, Texas, from which he had departed eight years ago for his first inauguration. After a rally with friends and supporters, the Bushes were headed for their ranch near Crawford, Texas, no longer known as the Western White House.
If you guys are interested, NCrissieB did a brilliant post over at the big orange, illustrated by a movie poster i did for her. Just click here. it’s very, very funny!