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Bush and Obama at the White House: Why the yukfest? (+video)

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(Read caption) Presidents Obama and Bush exchange jokes
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President Obama hosted ex-President Bush and Laura Bush on Thursday for the unveiling of their official portraits, and it was a real yukfest. Mr. Obama got things rolling by thanking his predecessor for good advice, kind words, and for outfitting the White House with “a really good TV sports package.”

“I use it,” said the current Oval Office resident.

Things went downhill from there. Or uphill, depending on your view of whether such events should be serious. Mr. Bush was in rare form, combining one of his old favorite comic tropes (calling George Washington the “first George W.”) with some new lines to produce perhaps the first ex-presidential stand-up routine.

“When the British burned the White House ... in 1814, Dolly Madison famously saved this portrait of the first George W.,” said Bush.

Then he pointed to his own painting.

“Now Michelle, if anything happens, there’s your man,” said Bush to general laughter.

Bush thanked his dad, the 41st president, and his mother, who were in the audience.

Then he said, “It is my privilege to introduce the greatest first lady ever ... sorry Mom.”

Pause.

“Would you agree to a tie?”

(See, that’s funny because he’s introducing his wife, Laura, not his mother, Barbara. And Barbara Bush is not, you know, meek. Nothing like an explanation to suck the life out of a joke, is there?)

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