Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush greet the crowd before a 'Welcome Home' rally, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, in Midland, Texas.
Continuing a White House ritual, former President George W. Bush left a note in the Oval Office for President Barack Obama, wishing him well as he takes the reins of the executive branch.
The White House yesterday declined to provide specific details of the message the two-term Republican left for the incoming Democrat, saying only that Bush wrote it on Monday and left it in the top drawer of his desk.
"The theme is similar to what he's said since election night about the fabulous new chapter President-elect Obama is about to start, and that he wishes him the very best," White House press secretary Dana Perino said yesterday.
During his last moments in the Oval Office, former President Ronald Reagan scribbled a note for his successor on a notepad with a turkey insignia that said "Don't let the turkeys get you down." He, too, slipped the note in the presidential desk for his successor, President George H.W. Bush.
Four years after that, the elder Bush left a note for President Bill Clinton. And eight years after that, Clinton wrote a note for Bush, and included a copy of the message he had received from Bush's father.
Bush's final half-day as president included a goodbye to Washington and a hello from fellow Texans.
In the morning, the Bush and Laura welcomed Obama and his wife, Michelle, to the White House. The Bushes, the Obamas, Vice-President-elect Joe Biden, his wife, Jill, and leaders of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies had coffee in the Blue Room.
After the swearing-in ceremony for Obama, Bush took a helicopter to Andrews Air Force Base. The Bushes then flied to Midland, Texas, on the familiar blue-and-white presidential aircraft, although it was called Special Air Mission 28000 instead of Air Force One because Bush was no longer president.
Then the Bushes would be flying to Waco, Texas, on their way to their 650-hectare ranch in nearby Crawford.