Washington DC: Former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, returned to the White House Wednesday, unveiling official portraits with a modern vibe in an event that set humor and nostalgia over his presidency against the current harsh political talk about the survival of democracy.
While her husband cracked a few jokes about his gray hair, big ears, and clothes in his portrait, Michelle Obama, a descendant of slaves, said the occasion for her was more about the promise of America for people like herself.
“Barack and Michelle, welcome home,” declared President Joe Biden as the gathering cheered.
Biden, who was Obama’s vice president, praised his former boss’ leadership on health care, the economy, and immigration and said nothing could have prepared him any better for being president than serving with Obama for those eight years.
“It was always about doing what was right,” he said.
Obama thanked McCurdy for his work, joking that the artist, who is known for his paintings of public figures from Nelson Mandela to the Dalai Lama, had ignored his pleas for fewer gray hairs and smaller ears. “He also talked me out of wearing a tan suit, by the way,” Obama quipped, referring to a widely panned appearance as president in the unflattering suit.