WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- President George W. Bush and his wife Laura are leaving Washington, D.C. on Tuesday after the presidential inaugural for President-elect Barack Obama, officially drawing a full-stop to their eight-year White House career.
In the U.S. history, little attention has been paid to the outgoing presidents when new presidents were sworn into the White House.
Tracing back to 1798, George Washington attended the inauguration ceremony of his successor, John Adams, where he actually stole the limelight from the newly-sworn-in president. Subsequent departing presidents followed Washington's example with few exceptions.
Before the 20th century, the departing presidents usually accompanied the new presidents in the parade from the Capitol to the White House after the inauguration ceremony, and then prepared a luncheon in the White House as a welcoming move before quietly departing for their post-presidential lives.
Starting in the early 20th century, outgoing presidents began to quietly left the Capitol immediately after the inauguration. In recent years, they departed from the east front of the Capitol building, escorted by their successors and seen off by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, by helicopters when weather permits.
The departure is attended with no ceremony or speech. Only waving and smiling by the outgoing president and his spouse can be expected. ¡¡