Tuesday, November 11, 2008


On Monday, President-elect Obama went to the White House for the first time since winning the election. News reports said Obama and President Bush talked about foreign policy and the economic crisis. Michelle Obama and Laura Bush reportedly discussed local schools and the challenges of raising children in the White House.

But I'm curious about the drapes, specifically the Oval office drapes, and whether or not Obama measured them.

A few days ahead of the election, John McCain accused Obama of prematurely measuring the drapes in the Oval Office. (He meant measuring the window for drapes, but that phrase just doesn't roll off the tongue.) As it turns out McCain was repeating a common cliche trundled out by politicians who are down in the polls. A fun exploration of the "measuring the drapes" jab can be found here.

But now it's not premature anymore. Obama has been elected president, so I guess it's time to choose some drapes. And it's unclear if Obama would want to keep the "antique" drapes Bush has had for the last eight years.
If you want to see the president give a seven minute tour of the Oval Office, you can find it on the White House website. It's surprisingly interesting. For instance, did you know that each incoming president gets to design a rug for the Oval Office? I didn't. Here's what Clinton did with the Oval Office...
And Regan's take on what is perhaps the world's most famous workspace...
The White House Museum website has more information on how different presidents have chosen to decorate the Oval Office.

I've gotten way off track here. So where was I? Oh yes, Obama was in the Oval Office for the first time, and he's already won the election. It seems like he could take a few moments, break out a tape measure and figure out what size drapes he needs to bring to the White House. No time like the present, right? It seems like it would be very inconvenient to send a decorator into the White House just to measure the windows for drapes.

The meeting lasted about two hours and Obama headed back to Chicago to spend the night. We may never know exactly what happened in that Oval Office meeting between Bush and Obama. There were no reporters or aides in the room. But if you hear that the President-elect pays a visit to this place tomorrow, I think you know what went down.



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