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"Plain Old Barack Is Gone"

By Suzi LeVeaux - Posted on 24 November 2008

A great human interest story from the Washington Post about the changes in Barack's life, and that of his family, which will only become more burdensome as he takes office. 

"Obama nourished his soul on a life of routine in Chicago, friends say.  Now they hope he can find comfort in a city he has never embraced." 

Complete article here.  It's a very interesting read, and made me stop to think about how I would react to such isolation from the life I hold dear.

That was an eye opening article Suzi. I found some more interesting facts.

Source: UK Mirror

Barack Obama - is now the most guarded man on the planet.

Even when he goes to the restroom, 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.

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."

Michelle will be given a budget of $227,000+ 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.

Another of Michelle's tasks will be to pick out the state china. Nancy Reagan was blasted in the press for spending almost $1 million on the project. Hillary Clinton spent two years fine-tuning her design (below).


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.

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".

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.

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.

To get away from it all, the Obamas will have access to the Sequoia - a 150-ton yacht built in 1925.

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 a residence retreat in the Catoctin Mountains, outside of Thurmont, Maryland, 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.

One of the many dumb things Jimmy Carter did was selling off the Sequoia in 1977.  A boat where FDR talked with Churchill and Kennedy had conferences during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  It's now privately owned but in DC so presidents can have access to it.  Not quite the same as having your own yacht.

It's lonely at the top, and the job takes a toll on all who take it.

Even our current president is more haggard than just eight years can account for, and so was President Clinton and the first President Bush (after only four years).

The saddest part IMO is that he really can never go back. He'll have to deal with heightened security for the rest of his life. And he's still pretty young.

I respect the man, but he can have it. 

"For those who plan with audacity and execute with vigor,
progress is the magnificent by product." 

I'm glad he was elected and I feel he will be a great President, but I don't look forward to watching him age before our very eyes as he takes on this awesome burden.  I care about this man and it makes me wonder why he...someone who so values his privacy, family time, freedom and normalcy....ever wanted the job in the first place.  I know I wouldn't.

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