Yesterday we were invited to the White House and Eisenhower Executive office building to hear an overview of the President’s financial and economic policy.
We gratefully accepted the invitation.
We’ll talk about the financial stuff in other posts, but here we want to cover the basics: What it’s like to visit the White House and meet the President (which we did!).
We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the White House, but we got a boatload of the Eisenhower building, where a lot of the White House staffers work. (See below).
We also got some fun dish from a White House insider about what people inside gossip about:
- President Kennedy is rumoured to have had 10 minutes alone in the Oval Office with Marilyn Monroe
- A portrait of George Washington in the East Room is missing the second “t” in United States (so that Washington could tell the 7 portraits of him apart)
- Teddy Roosevelt used to hold boxing matches in the East Room
- The press room used to be an indoor swimming pool
- The wife of John Tyler, one of the shortest Presidents (Madison was the shortest – 5’4”, 98 pounds), feared that no one was noticing him when he walked into the room. So she asked them to play a Scottish song to announce his presence. It came to be known as “Hail to the Chief.”
- William Taft was so big (the biggest President at 6’2”, 330 pounds), he got stuck in a bathtub
And so on.
Anyway, on to the photographs…
First stop: a tour of The White House. This, by the way, is where a spontaneous crowd gathered to celebrate killing Osama.
Security detail is tight. Cops ride around the grounds in motorcycles. Prior to arriving, we had to give the Secret Service our SS numbers, birthdays, and the city where we were born.
The banks are also right across from the Treasury, which saved their asses during the financial crisis.
The newly renovated side of the Eisenhower Executive Offices. (Renovations on the whole building have been going on for over 7 years.)
That's where our press meeting about personal finance and the state of the economy took place. Also, there were more security offices.
As press, we were allowed to bring our cell phones in. Security was more concerned about guns, it seems. Here's a break-the-glass case full of bullet proof vests.
During a briefing on rising gas and oil prices, President Obama suddenly appeared! He shook everyone's hand. Including mine!
The White House likes Cosi and Coke products, according to the snacks they laid out for us. And they brand their own water cups.
In the Office of Management and Budget defence and Foreign Affairs: a huge wall calendar filled with sticky notes.
For the most part, the offices look very normal. (Besides the side panelling, high ceilings, and nice carpets.) Messy desks filled with Yankees hats, newspapers, and family photos.
The dress code in the Executive office is strict. Every woman wore tights (pantyhose), and the men were all in a suit and tie. It was 99 degrees outside!
But... the stairs led us here. We went behind the door and it was just like your regular, ugly basement storage room.
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