From The Caucus at The New York Times:
At least one prominent former Bush official has the following message for President Obama: I don’t care if it’s warm enough to grow orchids in the Oval Office. Put your suit jacket on.
In an interview scheduled to run Wednesday night, Andrew H. Card Jr. told the syndicated news show Inside Edition that “there should be a dress code of respect” in the White House and that he wished Mr. Obama “would wear a suit coat and tie.”
Chimpy always wore a suit coat and tie in the Oval Office. However, there’s something that Andy Card won’t tell you…
Original DVD cover.
…And don’t ask me–I don’t know why Condi is smiling about Chimpy not wearing pants. You know me, I never gossip.
According to Inside Edition’s Web site, Mr. Card also said:
“The Oval Office symbolizes…the Constitution, the hopes and dreams, and I’m going to say democracy. And when you have a dress code in the Supreme Court and a dress code on the floor of the Senate, floor of the House, I think it’s appropriate to have an expectation that there will be a dress code that respects the office of the President.”
Of course, under Chimpy and Deadeye Dick, the Constitution didn’t symbolize anything. And I bet Scalia is naked under his robe.
From The New York Times (January 28):
WASHINGTON — The capital flew into a bit of a tizzy when, on his first full day in the White House, President Obama was photographed in the Oval Office without his suit jacket. There was, however, a logical explanation: Mr. Obama, who hates the cold, had cranked up the thermostat.
“He’s from Hawaii, O.K.?” said Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, who occupies the small but strategically located office next door to his boss.
Thus did an ironclad rule of the George W. Bush administration — coat and tie in the Oval Office at all times — fall by the wayside, only the first of many signs that a more informal culture is growing up in the White House under new management.
Although his presidency is barely a week old, some of Mr. Obama’s work habits are already becoming clear. He shows up at the Oval Office shortly before 9 in the morning, roughly two hours later than his early-to-bed, early-to-rise predecessor.
He reads several papers, eats breakfast with his family and helps pack his daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, off to school before making the 30-second commute downstairs — a definite perk for a man trying to balance work and family life. He eats dinner with his family, then often returns to work; aides have seen him in the Oval Office as late as 10 p.m., reading briefing papers for the next day.
In the West Wing, Mr. Obama is a bit of a wanderer. When Mr. Bush wanted to see a member of his staff, the aide was summoned to the Oval Office. But Mr. Obama tends to roam the halls [...]
Under Mr. Bush, punctuality was a virtue. Meetings started early — the former president once locked Secretary of State Colin L. Powell out of the Cabinet Room when Mr. Powell showed up a few minutes late — and ended on time. In the Obama White House, meetings start on time and often finish late.
He would have made Powell stand in the corner, but Chimpy got cranky trying to figure out where the corner was in the Oval Office.
If Mr. Obama’s clock is looser than Mr. Bush’s, so too are his sartorial standards. Over the weekend, Mr. Obama’s first in office, his aides did not quite know how to dress. Some showed up in the West Wing in jeans (another no-no under Mr. Bush), some in coats and ties.
So the president issued an informal edict for “business casual” on weekends — and set his own example. He showed up Saturday for a briefing with his chief economic adviser, Lawrence H. Summers, dressed in slacks and a gray sweater over a white buttoned-down shirt. Workers from the Bush White House are shocked.
“I’ll never forget going to work on a Saturday morning, getting called down to the Oval Office because there was something he was mad about,” said Dan Bartlett, who was counselor to Mr. Bush. “I had on khakis and a buttoned-down shirt, and I had to stand by the door and get chewed out for about 15 minutes. He wouldn’t even let me cross the threshold.”
Fifteen minutes of screaming over khakis, but I bet not a word to Deadeye Dick when he shot a guy in the face and kept it a secret.
Mr. Obama has also brought a more relaxed sensibility to his public appearances.
Like Mr. Bush and other presidents before him, Mr. Obama typically begins his work day with a top-secret intelligence briefing on security threats against the United States. Mr. Bush received the “president’s daily brief” Monday through Saturday; Mr. Obama gets the briefing on Sunday as well.
But sometimes Mr. Obama’s economic briefing, a new addition to the presidential schedule, comes first. Its attendees vary depending on the day, aides said.
If there is one thing Mr. Obama has not gotten around to changing, it is the Oval Office décor.
When Mr. Bush moved in, he exercised his presidential decorating prerogatives and asked his wife, Laura, to supervise the design of a new rug. Mr. Bush loved to regale visitors with the story of the rug, whose sunburst design, he liked to say, was intended to evoke a feeling of optimism.
Oh, yeah. That worked well.
The rug is still there, as are the presidential portraits Mr. Bush selected — one of Washington, one of Lincoln — and a collection of decorative green and white plates.
Seriously? Plates? Maybe Pickles wouldn’t allow Chimpy to display his shot glass collection, so he had to settle for dishes.
During a meeting last week with retired military officials, before he signed an executive order shutting down the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Mr. Obama surveyed his new environs with a critical eye.
“He looked around,” said one of his guests, retired Rear Adm. John D. Hutson, “and said, ‘I’ve got to do something about these plates. I’m not really a plates kind of guy.’ ”