Federal buildings lacking Obama portrait

There are no official presidential portraits in Grand Junction.

Federal buildings such as the Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building, 402 Rood Ave., and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 2121 North Ave., have removed the portrait of George W. Bush. The VA hospital was getting so many questions from patients about the lack of a presidential portrait, ordinarily displayed in the hospital’s entrance way, that it has put up a sign explaining portraits of Barack Obama are in the process of being printed.

The photographs could be in the mail by late March or early April.

“I don’t see why they don’t leave the old one up,” said Jerry Brooke, outside the federal courthouse.

Inside, one office worker who wanted to remain anonymous said, when asked where Obama’s portrait is: “I’ve been wondering that myself.”

Scott Thatcher, who was waiting in line for tax forms, suggested a former president could occupy the blank spaces on the walls in federal buildings until Obama’s portraits are ready.

“They could put Lincoln up there,” Thatcher said.

Paul Sweeney, spokesman for the VA Hospital, said the portraits are being printed.

“The general printing office in Washington, D.C., has not completed the general print run in order to distribute them,” Sweeney said.

There are in the neighborhood of 9,000 presidential portraits that need to be reproduced and distributed across the country, he said.

In the meantime he gets lots of comments from veterans wondering why the commander in chief is not prominently displayed.

“We have had several patients come in over the last few weeks and wonder why we didn’t have a presidential photo up,” Sweeney said. “Some people are just curious as to why the presidential photo isn’t on the wall. Other people are upset. They seem to be under the impression that we are slighting the president. That is not true at all. We are just waiting for his photo to come out.”


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