President Bush, Rumsfeld attend the unveiling of Sen. Frist’s portrait

“It takes a really, really good friend to get me to come back to Washington,” Bush joked to the nearly 100 people seated in the Old Senate Chamber.

A career heart surgeon, Frist was elected to the Senate in 1994, and served as majority leader from 2003 until he retired in 2007.

His successor, Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.), often went toe to toe with Frist. But on Wednesday, Reid offered high praise: “I have never served [in Congress] with anyone who cared more about other people than Bill Frist.”

The event was attended by Frist family members, lawmakers and Republican VIPs, including former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Sens. Fred Thompson (Tenn.), Elizabeth Dole (N.C.) and Norm Coleman (Minn.). ITK spotted at least a dozen Republican senators, as well most of the members of the Tennessee delegation in the House.

In his remarks, Frist made an appeal for more “citizen legislators” in Congress. “We need to encourage [politically inexperienced] people to run for office.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellStudy: Trump tops recent GOP presidents in signing bills in first 100 days Senate passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown Let’s never talk about a government shutdown — ever again MORE (R-Ky.) delivered a few closing words, after which Frist’s kids pulled back a blue curtain to reveal the portrait by artist Michael Shane Neal. Lots of clapping, as well a few “ahhs,” ensued before guests made their way next door to the Mansfield Room for a swanky reception.