B.O. Plenty

after the self-guided White House tour, August 3, 2010 Cameras are not permitted on tours of The White House. Cell phones were allowed but had to be turned off while inside. Almost everyone I saw used their phone to snap a picture once we were outside the building, myself included. The White House tour was the first event of a three-day field trip to Washington by the FBI Knoxville Citizens Academy Alumni Association.

The walls of the entrance way were covered with photographs of the First Family. As we proceeded through the Visitor Entrance Building, we saw large frames containing about six pictures each. Each frame had a theme, such as presidents and their pets; presidents and their kids; and presidents and foreign leaders. Every frame contained a photo from the current administration, making me wonder how they ever filled all that space prior to 2009.

We think we saw the president as we looked out the windows of the Green Room. A group of men were walking across the lawn, one with his suit jacket off and slung over his shoulder. The people we were with said the Secret Service wouldn’t remove their jackets but the boss could.

The guard in the Red Room was talkative and helpful. I had asked why Rutherford B. Hayes took the oath of office in that room. He replied that Hayes won the electoral vote but not the popular vote. His predecessor, Ulysses S. Grant, feared a public uprising at the inauguration ceremony. A couple of days before the scheduled inauguration, Hayes came to the White House for dinner with Grant. They quietly slipped away to the Red Room with the Chief Justice, who administered the oath to Hayes. If things went awry at the Capitol, Hayes would have already been sworn in.

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