Slide Show: Former Presidents as Advisers, Friends

BY Katelyn Polantz  May 31, 2012 at 5:10 PM EDT

When presidents meet for lunch, it’s more than just a lunch. It’s an historic moment.

Such was Thursday, when former presidents George W. Bush, his father, George Herbert Walker Bush, and their family members visited the White House for the unveiling of the 43rd president’s and first lady’s portraits.

The group first met for lunch. Then, George and Laura Bush received their portraits to thunderous applause.

From today’s White House media pool report:

[Obama] said at the transition, Bush went out of his way to help, including leaving the sports package on the TV George W. Bush then spoke, thanking his extended family and his two daughters for being there. He joked about the first George W. [Washington] and said he hoped Obama, as he walked the halls, would ask himself, “what would George do?”

The two Bushes, Obama and two other living American presidents — that’s Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, if you’re counting — have come together to uphold a modern tradition begun by Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman. The group of men form a special team born from the U.S.’s highest executive office.

Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy write about its secrets in their new book, “The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity”. They join Gwen Ifill Thursday on the NewsHour at about 6:40 p.m. EST to share what they’ve discovered.