George W. Bush is visiting the White House today and all the Washington press can talk about is how awkward the occasion will be given that President Obama routinely trashes the Bush administration. But it doesn't have to be that way! The secret to successful co-mingling is small talk and today's portrait unveiling for President Bush and first lady Laura Bush will afford plenty of that. Thinks about the possibilities:
The Secret Service
Few people on earth will ever know what it's like to live under the suffocating protection of the Secret Service, which makes the armed guards ripe for observational humor between the two statesmen. Whether it's a Seinfeldian "what is the deal with the SS?" or a quip about the still-simmering prostitution scandal, this is low-hanging conversational fruit.
President Obama many not trim any brush when he vacations but the two do share one holiday recreation: Biking! Bush and Obama seem to have a preference for mountain bikes over road bikes, so why not chew the fat about the former's rugged superiority?
[AP / White House archives]
It's boiling hot in DC this week. Talk about the humidity. Talk about the swampass. Talk about the unseasonably warm spring. As long as you avoid the pesky issue of global warming, you should be golden.
New White House Decor
A lot's changed at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave since Bush was there. From the installation of solar panels to the commissioning of dozens of new paintings by African-American, Asian, Hispanic and female artists, a simple tour of the interior's ad-ons should kill some time. Go on, brag about your decorative flair.
If there's one thing both these president's love, it's military drones. Bush may have made the flying killer robots famous but Obama increased the number of drone strikes exponentially since he got in office. Not the lightest of subject matter, but it will do.
What can be more politically neutral than a White House garden? Ok: Maybe not completely uncontroversial, but still, a blithe chat beside the first lady's blossoming vegetable garden is an easy bet. [AP]