At 2 p.m., George and Laura Bush will historically greet Barack and Michelle Obama and welcome them into the White House. We imagine how that will go down, away from the microphones…
[Barack and Michelle Obama approach the South Portico of the White House nervously. Standing there, before a bastion of photographers, are George and Laura Bush. They smile warmly. The Obamas climb the steps and greet them, the President shaking Barack’s hand and Laura embracing Michelle. As they chat and pose for the cameras, an aide quietly slips George Bush a bottle of Purell. He gives his hands a quick rinse and then offers Obama a squirt, which is accepted amiably. Then they shift positions, and Barack kisses Laura on the cheek, and George does the same to Michelle. The aide gives the President another squirt of Purell, which he rubs briefly on his face. He offers Michelle some, which she politely declines.]
Laura Bush: Welcome to the White House. We couldn’t be happier to have you here. We certainly hope that your years here will be exactly as wonderful as ours have been.
President Bush: Exactly!
Michelle Obama: Oh, thank you. Mr. President, I am truly proud to meet you, for the first time.
President Bush: Didn’t we meet already? At the White House Christmas party? I swear I saw a picture of it somewhere.
Barack Obama: [Hastily.] It was very generous of you to have us over so soon, Mrs. Bush. We’re really looking forward to getting started on all this transition stuff.
Laura Bush: On that note, let’s walk across the colonnade with exaggerated slowness so the photographers can get some pictures, and then I’ll give Michelle a tour of the East Wing.
Michelle Obama: That sounds lovely. You’re clearly used to all of this public-appearance stuff.
Laura Bush: Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it. Anyway, you’ve got a head start. I was noticing from across the lawn that your hair already looks like a helmet!
[After a fifteen-minute walk across the 100 feet of patio space, the pairs separate, and Bush takes Obama to the Oval Office.]
George Bush: Your good bride is a real looker, I’ll tell you. Did you know people are already calling her Blackie O?
Barack Obama: I have heard that, yes.
George Bush: It reminded me, I don’t have a nickname for you yet. You know I’m famous for my nicknames. What do you think of Franklin Delano Broosevelt?
Barack Obama: [At a complete loss.]
George Bush: No, you’re right, that one isn’t quite right. How about Theodore Negroosevelt?
Barack Obama: [Recovering.] I’m told your wife, Laura, chose the color pattern in here.
George Bush: She sure did. She knows I like yellow. It’s my favorite color of M&Ms. So your little chief of staff, Rahmbo, sent over some things we’re supposed to talk about. The auto industry, another stimulus package, and adjustable-rate mortgages.
Barack Obama: Yes. I know you’re in a tight spot because you’re in a lame-duck position right now, but I wanted to know whether —
George Bush: Sitting duck. I believe the term is “sitting duck.”
Barack Obama: Sure, sure. My mistake. Anyway, I know we’re not going to accomplish anything right now, but you and I have a lot more in common on these issues than most people expected, and I wanted to pledge that I’ll support you on another recovery package.
George Bush: I know what this is about. You don’t need to butter me up.
Barack Obama: I’m sorry?
George Bush: We’re not going to remove all of the O’s from the keyboards when we leave. That was a real bear when Clinton pulled that move on us. I’ll admit, Chertoff did toss around the idea of putting Super Glue on the toilet in the Truman bathroom, but apparently that turned out badly when Carter did it to Reagan. [Shudders.] Really badly. Like, Nancy-in-an-ice-bath badly.
Barack Obama: Oh, man. I think I need some more of that Purell.
George Bush: Anyway, you’ve been pretty good to me on the trail, so no hard feelings.
Barack Obama: Oh, I’m glad to hear you say that. I wanted to say that I know I came down very hard on you over the war and the economy, but I’ve always admired you for your work on AIDS and education.
George Bush: Oh, don’t worry. I don’t know about any of that stuff anyway. I’m not allowed to read newspapers.
Barack Obama: You know, I’ve actually stopped reading them myself, of late. There’s too much of a weird mirror effect. You can’t think clearly.
George Bush: [Whispers.] You know, if you ask the vice-president nicely, he’ll give you the funny pages on the sly. That Marmaduke’ll really get you through the day.
Barack Obama: [To himself, while examining the Resolute desk.] This is going to be cake.
George Bush: What was that?
Barack Obama: Oh, um, I was just saying this desk is so well polished, it almost looks fake.
George Bush: Oh, no, it’s real. I just had the staff go over it with sandpaper when I got into office. You know, Clinton and all.
Barack Obama: Oh, of course.
George Bush: You don’t need any of that for me ‘n’ Laura, though. We’re squeaky clean. But the men’s toilets in the West Wing? You may want to get an exorcist in there. Just sayin’.