Bush to return to White House to unveil official portrait

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Washington, May 19 (Xinhua-ANI): Former U.S. President George W. Bush is expected to return to the White House for the unveiling of his official portrait honored by sitting President Barack Obama later this month, both Bush's office and the White House confirmed Friday.

The White House said Bush and former first lady Laura Bush will return to the White House on May 31 for the release of their portraits.

Bush's office spokesman Freddy Ford said, "the Bushes are looking forward to being back in Washington and seeing a lot of their friends. They appreciate the Obamas' hospitality in hosting the portrait hanging."

The ceremony will be the former president's first public visit to the White House in more than two years.

Bush has avoided public spotlight after he left office and moved to Dallas. In January 2010, Bush joined with Obama and former President Bill Clinton at the White House for a meeting on the Haiti earthquake relief efforts.

The interaction between Bush and Obama is sure to draw lots of attention in this presidential election year. Bush has got quite a lot of blame for the poor economy, an "inherited" burden Obama has frequently cited since he took office more than three years ago, and particularly on his reelection campaign trail.

Earlier this week, the Republican former president gave a tepid endorsement for Republican assumptive nominee Mitt Romney after Bush delivered a speech on foreign policy in the capital.

"I actually found my freedom by leaving Washington," he joked in his Washington visit.

Bush has been working on his presidential center which is due to open next year. (Xinhua-ANI)