by Les Kretman, NBC News White House producer
In the Washington drizzle, the motorcades of the presidents rumbled onto the White House grounds one after one... Obama... Clinton... Bush 41... and Jimmy Carter -- all for lunch.
This was one of those moments at the White House where you really began to feel that Inauguration Day is very near. They all posed for pictures in the Oval Office and there were brief remarks from the main players:
Bush 43: "One message that I have and I think we all share is that we want you to succeed. Whether we are a Democrat or a Republican, we care deeply about his country. To the extent we can, we look forward to sharing our experiences with you. All of us who have served in this office understand that the office itself transcends the individual. We wish you all the very best. And so does the country."
Obama: "I just want to thank the president, just want to thank the president for hosting us. This is an extraordinary gathering. All the gentlemen here understand both the pressures and possibilities of this office. And for me to have the opportunity to get advice, good counsel, and fellowship with these individuals is extraordinary. And I am very grateful to all of them. But again, thank you Mr. President for hosting us."
Outside the White House northwest gate were final touches to the reviewing stands. And, more than normal perimeter security too.
And this morning the first lady was displaying new rugs and china that the next first family will be using.
Less than two weeks to go.