Wednesday, 12 September 2012

FACTS :Life in the White House

Glimpses into what life in the White House will be like for the First Family:
Barack Obama - Secret Service codename Renegade - is now the most guarded man on the planet.

Even when he goes to the loo, bodyguards stand outside it.
And when he travels by motorcade there are a dozen identical cars - so potential assassins won't know which one he is in.
The President-elect will also have to get used to handing his glass to a Secret Service agent every time he has a drink outside the White House. The agent carries a small bag in which to pop the glass and later he destroys it.
The idea is to ensure that no unauthorised person has access to the Presidential DNA, but it is not clear how an enemy would use it.
Obama will be given a set of panic buttons: One for his pocket, one on his desk and one beside his bed. They are credit card-shaped and simply have to be squeezed to summon a posse of agents.
At one time, the President and Vice-President were given three-inch-high models of the Washington Monument to put beside their beds. They had simply to knock them over to summon the guards.
But the models were abandoned after Vice-President Dan Quayle - noted for being clumsy - knocked his over late one night while making love to his wife.
In seconds, the door burst open, the lights went on and Mrs Quayle was thrown out of bed to the floor as bodyguards flocked around her husband to ensure his safety.
Michelle Obama once called her husband and asked him to pick up some ant traps on his way back from work to tackle an infestation in their Chicago home.

No such domestic trivia will ever bother her again. She is soon to become the mistress of the sixstorey, 132-room White House.
Michelle will have more than 100 domestic staff including her own florist - to change the flowers daily - chefs, drivers and dressers.
Nancy Reagan said that, a month after moving in to the White House, she was surprised when the usher sent up a bill for their food.
She added: "No one told us the President and his wife are charged for every meal, as well as for dry cleaning, toothpaste and toiletries. Five minutes after Ronnie came home and hung up his suit, it would disappear from the closet to be pressed, cleaned or brushed."
President Reagan said it was like living in an eight-star hotel but Harry Truman complained the place was a "glamorous prison".
Michelle will be given a budget of £150,000 to redecorate and make the First Family feel at home.

She's pledged to give the decor an African-American twist with vibrant colours and fabrics - and Barack wants to remove the plasma TV from the famous Lincoln bedroom. Instead, he wants guests to read.
Barack will have to decide which desk he will use in the Oval Office.
Friends say it will be the same desk picked by John F Kennedy - the "Resolute Desk" presented by Queen Victoria in 1880.
Another of Michelle's tasks will be to pick out the state china. But she's been warned not to go over the top - Nancy Reagan was slated for splashing out Û1m on china.
One great perk will be having 25 chefs at the Obamas' disposal.

Michelle will be asked to email the head chef a list of the President's favourite dishes and new desserts will be created in his honour.
Former pastry chef Roland Mesnier, who served for 25 years, once made a 2ft gingerbread version of the White House for Laura Bush, said in 2007: "Every First Lady will be demanding when they come to the White House. They want things done their own way."
To help him keep in shape, Barack will build an indoor basketball court - to replace the bowling alley that Richard Nixon installed.

And President Obama will invite professional basketball stars to join him "shooting hoops".
Franklin D Roosevelt built a pool in the White House, Dwight D Eisenhower a putting green and Bill Clinton had a running track on the edge of the south lawn.
So the new president is only following tradition. But the Secret Service bodyguards have already warned him not to think of cycling around Washington, as he did as a senator - it would be too risky.
But he will make full use of the White House gym to lift weights most mornings and the billiards room to relax some nights.
Daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, seven, are expected to go to one of the many private schools in Washington.

Favourite is Sidwell Friends school attended by Bill Clinton's daughter Chelsea.
The risk of the girls being kidnapped is very real, so rather than their usual "sleep-over parties" with pals at the Chicago home of grandma Marian Robinson, the girls will have visitors over.
"We may see sleep-overs at the White House," said Verna Williams, a student pal of Michelle.
It is thought Michelle's mum Mrs Robinson will also move in to stay near the children.
One of the toughest problems the family will face is picking a church. They have a deep Protestant faith and will want to attend church every Sunday.

They may even decide to go to several different churches in Washington, including the Anglican one just across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.
White House pets - especially dogs - are popular with voters.

In his acceptance speech, Obama promised his girls a new puppy to take with them to their new home.
Mr Obama later said he wanted a dog from a rescue home, saying "shelter dogs are mutts - like me".
Former Presidential pets have included Bill Clinton's chocolate labrador Buddy and his cat Socks.
George W Bush has two Scottish Terriers - Miss Beazley and Barney, who became an internet star when a videocam was attached to his collar and his adventures were posted on the White House website.
Ronald Reagan's dog Lucky loved chasing reporters and was dispatched to the family ranch owing to his behaviour. More unusually, John F Kennedy kept parakeets.
To get away from it all, the Obamas will have access to the Sequoia - a 150-ton yacht built in 1925.

John F. Kennedy celebrated his final birthday onboard and Richard Nixon famously played God Bless America on the ship's piano after deciding to resign.
Even though ex-President Jimmy Carter had the boat sold in a public auction, the yacht is still available for use by the White House.
But trips to their old family home in Chicago will have to be vetted by security officials. A fence will be put up round the home with a live-in guard on duty 24/7.
The secluded Camp David residence will be available for some down-time where the family will be able to ski and relax - but with a team of bodyguards in proximity.


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