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Secrets of the White House

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Can the kids order a pizza if they want to? Does the Secret Service stand outside the door when the First Couple is doing the deed? We asked an expert what it's REALLY like in there.

The Obamas

Maybe it's just us, but here at momlogic, we just can't stop thinking about what the White House will be like with kids in it! We spoke to Claire Whitcomb, author of "Real Life at the White House: 200 Years of Daily LIfe at America's Most Famous Residence" so she could fill us in on all of the inner workings of where the First Family resides. Below are the answers to our questions -- some the kind only a mother could ask ...

Will the Obamas renovate?
The Obamas will have their own decorator of their choosing who will help them personalize the private residence. This area consists of nine rooms. But it's important to keep in mind that the Lincoln Bedroom and the Queen's Room are part of this and they will remain untouched -- except for any necessary restoration, such as peeling wallpaper. Most likely the girls' bedrooms will have to be changed to cater to their young ages.
What if Barack, Michelle or the kids want a midnight snack? 
There is a kitchen in the private residence now. Jackie Kennedy had it put in because she felt frustrated that she had to walk down two stories to grab a snack.

What if the First Couple wants to have sex? Is there Secret Service standing outside their bedroom door? (Hey -- we all have needs!) 
The Secret Service keep an eye on the perimeter of the private residence, but privacy is negotiated with each family.

Is there a TV in their bedroom? What about TiVo? 
If they want it, they can have it. 

Can Malia and Sasha hang up posters of the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana? 
If they want to, yes! 

Do people pick out the President's clothing in the morning? 
Clothing is a private concern, although if there is something he should be aware of, such as appropriate attire to meet a Head of State, he has an appointed valet who will help him. 

How is the chef picked? 
Usually it is someone who is establlished in the food industry. The Obamas may very well keep the Bush's chef. But if they want a certain specialty of cuisine, they may change the head chef. There is a whole cooking staff who is there to serve at the pleasure of the President. 

What if the President is "indisposed" in his bathroom and there's a national emergency? 
Someone will knock and let him know he is needed. 

Will the Secretary of the Treasury help the girls with their math homework? 
If he or she likes the kids then maybe, but it's not like there's a hotline for algebra help. 

Could the girls have a slumber part if they want? 
Actually Margaret Truman had a slumber party in the Lincoln Bedroom once. The shape is perfect because it's a long room, so all the girls had their sleeping bags lined up perfectly. 
Can they order a pizza? 
It's not like they can call up and have the delivery person show up at the door 30 minutes later. Every restaurant they eat at and all food that comes in must be vetted for security reasons. But, if they planned ahead, of course. 
Does the First Lady really pick new china? 
She only picks new china if there is too much wear and tear of the older sets. There is no Clinton or Bush china. Nancy Reagan was the last person to pick china in the White House and she was highly criticized for it. The Carters preceded the Reagans and they more of a "down home" type of family. The Reagans were more sophisticated and were used to a more upscale lifestyle. For some the White House is a step up, for others, who are used to the finer things, it can be a rough transition. 
Is there some inside scoop on past First Ladies? 
Hillary Clinton once held a scavenger hunt in the White House for Chelsea's birthday. 

Jackie Kennedy cried when she saw how run down the White House was when she arrived. The carpets were worn, the floors were a mess and the curtains were ripped. She's the one who hired a curator and demanded it be treated as a museum. 

Nancy Reagan routinely asked the kitchen staff to take photos of plated food so she could make sure it looked right before serving it at social events. The kitchen staff works long and hard to anticipate what the First Family might want. 
On the Nixon's first night, Pat wanted cottage cheese, but the kitchen hadn't anticipated the First Lady may be watching her weight so there was none. 
What exactly does the First Lady do? 
She does not get paid although she does have an office and a staff, and generally supports a specific cause or charity. Although traditional obligations are to manage the social life of the White House, Hillary Clinton really expanded the roll by having an office in the West Wing.  

What First Family do you think The Obamas will be like? 
The Kennedys. They are a family with young kids and a sense of history.

What White House secrets are you dying to know? Comment in the momlogic community.

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11 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous November 14, 2008, 5:05 PM

Where does and VP and his wife live?

bannanamaniac November 14, 2008, 7:45 PM

If the first kids want an ice skating rink, where would they place it?

Terry L November 14, 2008, 10:04 PM

Golden Doodle Puppy …………
Golden Retriever & Standard Poodle Mix
Its the best dog with kids, does not shed OK for kids with alergies……
They would love it.
A Female Golden Doodle, 6 weeks old
soft golden color. It’s the Best !!!
Happy Playful Dog when it grows up.

Marquita November 14, 2008, 10:16 PM

The vp and family lives in the VP mansion, about a mile away from the WH. November 14, 2008, 10:19 PM

The “Golden Doodle” Puppy for the girls
It is the combo Golden Retriever and Standard Poodle. Happy Playful Dog when it grows up, It is the best puppy. It does not shed, OK for kids with allergies. Grows up to be the Medium/ Large dog they want………
It’s The Best !!!! They would just Love It !!!! Golden Soft Color (Female)

mary November 14, 2008, 10:38 PM

Gosh TLTerryL, are you trying to sell a puppy or what? If you know anything about allergies and dogs, you ought to know that only part of the reaction is related to the fur/dander…the other part is the fact that the dogs have a protein in their saliva, which certain people are allergic to, no matter if the dog has hair, fur, or is hairless! There is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog. Goldendoodles, and all poodle mixes, are not even considered to be significantly ‘less’ allergenic until multiple generations have been bred, i.e. a first-born generation is going to have the same risk of allergic-reaction as a plain old Golden Retriever. Poodles are less likely to cause an allergic reaction but again, nothing is guaranteed. My son is one of those that reacts to the certain proteins in certain dogs saliva…

jeno November 15, 2008, 9:21 AM

TLTerryL, puppies should still be with their momma’s at 6 weeks!!!!!

Mia November 17, 2008, 11:01 AM

Thanks Mary!! I’m allergic to the dander & the saliva of most dogs, including Golden Doodles. Besides that, there is not a dog that does not shed. Stating that they don’t shed is highly misleading. They do. They have more “human-like” hair, (for lack of a better description). Hair that has to be groomed. In grooming hair does come out. Even w/o grooming those dogs lose hair. It’s just at a slower rate, which isn’t as noticeable at that of the average canine.

cg February 3, 2009, 1:12 PM

So if the first family wants to make themselves a sandwich or snack at any time of day or night, they have supplies stocked in the residence’s kitchen and their own stash of favorites on hand?

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