Bodyguards in the Toilet, 25 Chefs, a Personal Florist, His Own Private Basketball Court & the EUR1m of China; WHAT LIFE WILL BE LIKE FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA INAUGARATION: JAN 20 2009

Sunday Mirror (London, England), November 9, 2008 | Go to article overview

Bodyguards in the Toilet, 25 Chefs, a Personal Florist, His Own Private Basketball Court & the EUR1m of China; WHAT LIFE WILL BE LIKE FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA INAUGARATION: JAN 20 2009


Byline: BY WILLIAM LOWTHER IN WASHINGTON AND KATE MANSEY

IF MICHELLE Obama thought the past 22 months on the election trail were tough, she ain't seen nothing yet... On January 20 when husband Barack gets the keys to The White House, life for America's new First Family will change forever.

Today we explain exactly how...

SECURITY

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.

MOVING HOME

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".

DECORATION

MICHELLE will be given a budget of pounds 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 EUR1m on china.

COOKING

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. …

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