About a month ago, we tried to do the tour, but were done in by an AM/PM mistake on my White House grounds clearance. Fortunately, there was no such problem today. When we got in, I got to see where the Situation room was and see the Navy Mess (looks nothing like the cafeteria on the TV series). When we got upstairs, we found out that the Oval Office and the other nearby offices were closed because the President was still in the office (around 930 at night).
Although no one ever said anything directly, our best guess is that President Obama was preparing for tomorrow's press conference about the oil spill. (So, damn you BP, Halliburton and that other company who screwed me out of seeing the Oval Office by spilling oil in the Gulf.) We tried to dawdle in the lobby (looks nothing like the TV series) in hopes that the President would finish up, and we could catch a glimpse of the President and see the Oval Office. We got a look from one of the Secret Service agents telling us we should move on.
We made our way outside and then to the Press Briefing room. We were allowed to take a few pictures there. The Press Briefing room was about what I expected, although a bit nicer furnishings (apparently it was just remodeled).
Other interesting tidbits
- There are a whole bunch of rotating photos. Most of the ones up today were from the State dinner with the Mexican President from last week.
- The Press room is built on top of a pool. During the FDR Administration, they built an indoor pool. They later covered over the pool for the Press room. The room really looks like a pool house.
- The strangest/grossest part of the night was when we were outside. I kept seeing things moving in the shadows. It looked like a mouse or a large bug, but there were dozens of them. Upon further inspection, it turns out that they were roaches. Dozens upon dozens of roaches. My skin is crawling just thinking about it.
*To be fair, I've had some pretty cool jobs with some pretty cool fringe benefits as well. I've offered places to crash in Italy, Ireland, and Spain, as well as free tours in Rome. And every lawyer has had to give free legal advice.