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Posted at 5:54 PM ET, 03/ 2/2011

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney visit the Capitol for Bill Frist portrait unveiling

By Felicia Sonmez

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was in the Capitol on Wednesday for the unveiling of his official portrait. Former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were also on hand for the event. Below is our pool report on the gathering, which took place in the Old Senate Chamber, the room where the Senate used to meet from 1810 to 1859 but which is now used mostly for ceremonial events:

Scores of current and former senators, aides and administration officials - including former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney -- filled the Old Senate Chamber shortly after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday for the unveiling of the portrait of former Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who served as majority leader from 2003 until his retirement in 2007.

Bush, clad in a dark blue suit, appeared upbeat as he sat onstage next to Frist to the left of a podium. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and former Senate chaplain Llyod Ogilvie sat on the opposite side of the podium. Cheney was sitting in the audience, as were several other Bush administration officials, including former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and McConnell's wife, former Labor secretary Elaine Chao.

Among the former senators in attendance were Republicans Fred Thompson (Tenn.), Pete Domenici (N.M.), Don Nickles (Okla.), Rick Santorum (Pa.), Norm Coleman (Minn.), John Warner (Va.), Elizabeth Dole (N.C.) and Spencer Abraham (Mich.). A host of current senators from both parties were present; MSNBC host Chris Matthews was also spotted in the crowd.

The portrait unveiling was preceded by about 40 minutes' worth of speeches. Ogilvie spoke first, delivering an invocation in which he called Frist a "man for all seasons, who is motivated by the best of all reasons, to glorify [God]."

Then Reid delivered brief remarks. "Bill Frist never has forgotten the role of the individual in the work that he does," Reid said, going on to describe Frist's humanitarian work, which has taken him to Africa multiple times. "We know he appreciates the title of humanitarian more than the one for which we honor him with this portrait today, and because he does, we appreciate him."

Bush took to the podium next, greeted by a standing ovation as he began his four-minute remarks. "It takes a really good friend to get me to come back to Washington," he said to laughter. "I am thrilled to be here. Laura sends her love to Karen and Bill. ... I'm proud to be here with Senator Reid and Senator McConnell. They represent the present. And I represent the past," Bush said, to more laughs.

Addressing Frist, Bush said, "I can assure you, Bill, that we are delighted to be here to watch you hang," drawing another round of laughter from the crowd. He praised Frist's tenure as majority leader. "I really admired the fact that Bill served during tough times, but he left the Senate in a gentlemanly way," Bush said. "I appreciated the tone he set."

Calling Frist "a man of accomplishment," Bush noted that he appreciated the fact that Frist "lived by the call, 'to whom much is given, much is required.'" Instead of going home during Senate recess to "schmooze with the folks of Tennessee," Bush said, "this guy is saving lives on the continent of Africa. He's got God-given talents that he was willing to use on behalf of those who suffered. ... I thought that was an awesome example of what it means to be a public servant."

Bush received another standing ovation as he turned the podium over to Frist.

Frist kicked off his 18 minute-remarks by telling Bush that he felt "a sort of interlocking kinship" between his family and the former president's.

"And Mr. President, some day, there just might be - it's kind of scary - but a George Bush Frist," Frist said, noting that if Bush hadn't run for reelection, Frist's eldest son, Harrison, wouldn't have met his future wife, Ashley, on Bush's reelection campaign. Five years later, Frist said, the two got engaged "on the top of the dome of this Capitol," so without Bush, "we simply wouldn't be here as a family."

"It's kind of frightening, George Bush Frist, but Ashley, speed it up," Frist said, drawing laughs.

Frist then addressed those currently serving in the Senate and urged them to "leave something here, a little bit of something" that makes it a better place. He also urged the Senate to return to the concept of the "citizen legislator," calling on members to serve and then "voluntarily leave and enter, hopefully, a little bit more productive phase of your life" after serving in the upper chamber.

He said that during the nearly 50 years in which the Senate met in the Old Senate Chamber from 1810 to 1859, there were 17 doctors that had been elected to the Senate. By contrast, from 1950 to 2000, Frist said that "there was one physician, and that was me."

Frist closed by thanking his political mentor, former Senate majority leader Howard Baker (R-Tenn.), who Frist said was not able to make it to Wednesday's event.

"To Senator Baker, we love you and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for that very early encouragement to take a doctor who was out there treating patients one-on-one every day, to run for the United States Senate, having never run for public office," Frist said.

After Frist spoke, McConnell took the podium and spoke for about five minutes. "Like his father, he has combined public service with a doctor's concern for people," McConnell said of Frist. "He has shown all of us here and many, many others what it means to serve, and that is a legacy that any man should be proud of."

Then Bush, Frist and members of Frist's family stood together on the left side of the podium, where a pair of dark blue curtains was parted to reveal Frist's portrait.

In the portrait, Frist is wearing a dark suit, a light blue shirt with a white collar and a dark red tie; his left arm is draped over the mantle of a white marble fireplace and his right hand is in his pocket.

(Except for the tie, the outfit in the portrait was nearly identical to what Frist was wearing at the unveiling event; his tie Wednesday was bright purple instead of red.)

Bush, Frist, Reid and McConnell then stood together before the portrait for a photo. They were followed by a long line of other guests who posed for photos with Frist and his family over the next 20 minutes or so. Then guests headed to a reception in the Mansfield Room, where the fare included wine and beef-tenderloin-and-cheese biscuits.

By Felicia Sonmez  | March 2, 2011; 5:54 PM ET
 
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Comments


Frist did nothing of great importance. Now that he has favored the country with his departure, is he home doing abortions.

Posted by: mortified469 | March 2, 2011 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Gee Where is Bill?

Come let us worship !!

George W. Clinton

Posted by: peterroach | March 2, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

This is how it should be in Washington DC. Dr. Frist is a very fine man and it sounds like they all had a lot of fun.

Posted by: mlbduffy | March 2, 2011 7:54 PM | Report abuse

These two war criminals responsible for the deaths and maiming of hundreds of thousands based on their lies should be in jail for life or executed....along with rumsfeld, tenet, wolfowitz, rove, et al....

Posted by: ticked | March 2, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of hatemongers...

If we were a nation of laws these two would have been impeached and imprisoned in 2002.

If we were a nation of laws these two would have been tried and imprisoned for war crimes.

If we were a nation of laws and didn't have the balls to clean up our own mess we would have turned these two over to an international war crimes court for trial.

Is the penalty for crimes against humanity and mass murder death?

Why are these international criminals walking the streets of Washington?

Posted by: TaxTheRichNow | March 2, 2011 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I'll never forget his television diagnosis of that poor Schiavo woman. What a F***ING quack. Now he's making MILLIONS as a healthcare BARON.

Posted by: TOMHERE | March 2, 2011 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Felicia remember this is not the RNC newsletter. Pick article topics that are interesting and engaging to the reader. This is not one of those.

Posted by: FoundingMother | March 2, 2011 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Why does the country need a portrait of Bill Frist, any veiled reason for Bush and Cheney to venture inside the beltway or more Republican branding of any political institution with their party favorites? Who the hell is paying for this hideous portrait anyway?

Posted by: mjoy | March 2, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Any artist worth his salt will portray them with horns and a devil goatee.

These men are evil. They killed so many for no reason at all.

Posted by: kurthunt | March 2, 2011 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Let us hope, with the dignity of a portrait of him unveiled today, that he will no longer EVER give a hopeful 'diagnosis' to a TV picture as he did with brain dead Shaivo. Will that episode EVER be erased from anyone's mind? I think not.

Posted by: rbsher | March 2, 2011 10:00 PM | Report abuse

So much for the "new" civility....

Posted by: dgrogers | March 2, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Bill Frist was a pretty good man, as well as a doctor and a senator. Those are the accomplishments of a life lived well.

He deserves the honors that were rendered to him today.

Posted by: JBaustian | March 2, 2011 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Can you tell us who the artist is? Was the artist present at the ceremony? What kind of work has the artist done previously? How did the artist come to paint this portrait? Where or by whom was the artist educated? Who else's portrait has been painted by the same artist? Is it oil on canvas? Acrylic? Where will it hang permanently? Did the great Senator sit for the portrait or was it painted from a photograph? The story was nicely written. I feel as if I was there, but I want to know more about the artist, the creation work itself and not so much about the color of the tie being worn. Frist is a great man from a great family and I wish him well. But we deserve to know about the artist.

Posted by: r_schechter | March 3, 2011 12:14 AM | Report abuse

And after wine and sparkling water were served at the conclusion of the ceremony, Bush (still chortling over his awesome bike ride that morning), Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Scooter, were quietly placed in handcuffs and schackles and led to a waiting private jet for their upcoming war crimes tribunal in the Hague. Bush, now smirking testily, wanted to know what the heck was going on! "Hey, this ain't my first rodeo you know!

Posted by: DCsandiego | March 3, 2011 12:30 AM | Report abuse

And after wine and sparkling water were served at the conclusion of the ceremony, Bush (still chortling over his awesome bike ride that morning), Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Scooter, were quietly placed in handcuffs and schackles and led to a waiting private jet for their upcoming war crimes tribunal in the Hague. Bush, now smirking testily, wanted to know what the heck was going on! "Hey, this ain't my first rodeo you know!

Posted by: DCsandiego | March 3, 2011 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Rogues visiting a rogue's gallery. How tasteful.

Posted by: jbksss | March 3, 2011 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Rogues visiting a rogue's gallery. How tasteful.

Posted by: jbksss
>>>>>>>>>

True but at least we know they are US American rogues, because we saw all their paperwork.

They are actually Americans giving accolades at the Whitehouse, rather than a fraud giving out something.

Think about it.
Would you rather get an award from a rougue US American, or from a fraud?

The award from the fraud will be a larger dollar Historical collectors item.

Posted by: dottydo | March 3, 2011 1:46 AM | Report abuse

"No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up." ~ Lily Tomlin

http://911essentials.com

Posted by: bee3 | March 3, 2011 1:48 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of hatemongers...

If we were a nation of laws these two would have been impeached and imprisoned in 2002.

If we were a nation of laws these two would have been tried and imprisoned for war crimes.

If we were a nation of laws and didn't have the balls to clean up our own mess we would have turned these two over to an international war crimes court for trial.

Is the penalty for crimes against humanity and mass murder death?

Why are these international criminals walking the streets of Washington?

Posted by: TaxTheRichNow | March 2, 2011 8:08 PM | Report abuse
----------------
I guess it is for the same reason that all liberals are not shot on sight for giving us obama, reid, pelosi, boxer, waxman, lee, shumer, levin, weiner, grayson and the rest of the mentally challenged libs.

Posted by: steelers01 | March 3, 2011 5:14 AM | Report abuse

Reading the majority of these comments, it gives me pause to wonder why the GOP even TRIES to be civil with the left. Talk about venom, and Frist was a very laid back politician! They must be unhinged from the Tea Party Revolution, you lefties should be MISSING Frist not HATING him so much, he was awfully nice to your side!

Posted by: JoshinFahaheel | March 3, 2011 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Washington, D.C.

The Murder Capitol of the World!

So yesterday two more murderers showed up - for what?

Posted by: bigmac1810 | March 3, 2011 6:43 AM | Report abuse

"Trial at the Hague?!?!" Wow...you're not only a paranoid lefty, but a Euro-weenie paranoid lefty at that. How about you buy a bike and move to the Netherlands.

Posted by: TomPaine76 | March 3, 2011 6:43 AM | Report abuse

Clearly the New Tone is a one-way street, to be used by the left to gain advantage, and nothing more.

I actually didn't think Frist did such a great job as Senator, but the level of vitriol here is appalling.

Just another day in America, declining.

Posted by: pbpublic | March 3, 2011 7:11 AM | Report abuse

All the intolerant hatemongers have had their say on this thread. How pathetic are they? We have seen what an unstable middle east has brought to the world. Talk of wars, and more wars. There is nothing that the U.S. could do to make these people like us, they are naturally hateful. Bush and Cheney may not have been the greatest of leaders, but they sure beat the hell out of your alternative of hopey and changey, talk about a lackluster, inept, incompetent punk fool.

Posted by: tymtrvlr1 | March 3, 2011 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah, Frist. Now, what was it he accomplished?

Posted by: jckdoors | March 3, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Please tell me us taxpayers aren't paying for this self serving nonsense...

Posted by: mjandrews8 | March 3, 2011 8:22 AM | Report abuse

a rogues gallery of war criminals, how very republican.

Posted by: calif-joe | March 3, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Bet these two murderers wouldn't show for a burial of a fallen hero at Arlington National Cemetary.

Posted by: bigmac1810 | March 3, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I'm with r_schechter. I hoped as I read the article that something would be mentioned about the artist or the artwork itself.

Posted by: jenniej | March 3, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Why is that moron w not in jail for his crimes? Why? I must admit that I used to think that he is the most stupid and immoral creature in all the universe but now I think palin, bachman, rush, hannity, o'reilly take the cake. Teabagheadnazilunatics have no brains, morals or shame.

Posted by: letemhaveit | March 3, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Can the portraits of Bush and Cheney should be in black and white stripped clothes.

Glad they enjoyed themselves after wrecking the country.

Posted by: wesatch | March 3, 2011 10:21 AM | Report abuse

In that neither of these two are really busy they might go by Section 60 to pay their respects to all of those who died for nothing except ego.

Posted by: KBlit | March 3, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The Westboro Baptists should be there to greet the honorees. It's their RIGHT!

Posted by: whocares666 | March 3, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Too bad the portrait of Bill Frist doesn't portray him diagnosing Terry Schiavo from the floor of the U. S. Senate.

His conclusion—based on videotapes—that Schiavo was not in a persistent vegetative state will be what he's best remembered for, as both a politician and as a medical professional.

Posted by: HughBriss | March 3, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Bush, Cheney and Obama are war criminals. All politicians are scum.

Posted by: coogene | March 3, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Bill Frist, identified as one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress"?
Bill Frist, the confessed kitten and cat killer?
Bill Frist, the doctor who defends his "incorrect diagnosis by video"?

Sounds about right that Bush and Cheney seek to honor a kitten-killing, money stealing quack. Birds of a feather.

Killing Kittens and Cats
While he was a medical school student in the 1970s, Frist performed medical experiments on adopted shelter cats and kittens. By his own account, Frist improperly obtained these cats and kittens from Boston animal shelters by lying on the adoption forms and falsely telling shelter staff he was adopting the cats as pets. He would then take the kittens and cats back to his apartment, inject them with various drugs and then kill them.

http://www.rense.com/general33/frist.htm

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cat%20killer

The FEC (Federal Election Commission) found that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s 2000 Senate campaign committee, Frist 2000, Inc. violated federal campaign finance laws. "In June 2000, Senator Frist took $1 million of the money that had been contributed to his 2000 Senate campaign and invested it in the stock market, where it promptly began losing money. In November 2000, Senator Frist sought to collect $1.2 million he had lent his 1994 Senate campaign committee. As a result of the stock market losses, however, Frist 2000, Inc. did not have enough money to repay the loan. Senator Frist solved this problem by having the 1994 and the 2000 campaign committees jointly take out a $1.44 million bank loan at a cost of $10,000 a month interest. Frist 2000, Inc. did not report this debt on its FEC disclosure forms." In both 2005 and 2006, Senator Frist was named one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" by government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington for ethics inquiries stemming from his troubles with the FEC and an investigation by the SEC for stock sales potentially based on inside information.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/23/AR2005092301811.html

In the Terri Schiavo case, a brain-damaged woman whose husband wanted to remove her gastric feeding tube, Frist opposed the removal and in a speech delivered on the Senate Floor, challenged the diagnosis of Schiavo's physicians of Schiavo being in a persistent vegetative state (PVS): "I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office". Frist was criticized by a medical ethicist at Northwestern University for making a diagnosis without personally examining the patient and for questioning the diagnosis when he was not a neurologist. After her death, the autopsy showed signs of long-term and irreversible damage to a brain consistent with PVS.
Frist issued no apologies and defended his incorrect diagnosis after the autopsy.

Posted by: FriendofKeyserSoze | March 3, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Bush, Cheney and Frist all together in the Old Senate Chamber. Hope it was deloused after they left - what a bunch of terminally greedy, ethically bankrupt weasels.

Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | March 3, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse


America is indeed fortunate to have such good men of character, learning and wisdom, as Senator and Doctor Bill Frist.

Many Thanks to Senator Frist for a job well done.

The nation is a better place when honorable and decent people like
Dr. Frist are in elected office.

Posted by: chicago77 | March 3, 2011 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Amazing that a person dedicated to healing others continued the ridiculous notion of "who is worthy" to receive health care and who is part of the cabal of intransigently selfish repuglicans trying to dismantle what a responsible government owes its people. That BS about his daughter is just what I said: "BS". What planet do they live on?

Posted by: brantdavis07 | March 3, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

While we're cutting budgets...how many millions would America save by cutting back on Bush & Cheney's Secret Service staff?

Posted by: bkmur | March 4, 2011 12:35 AM | Report abuse

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