A must-read piece in the NYT for all Oval Office aficionados. The article details President Barack Obama's emerging work schedule, routine, and habits. It is a fascinating read and provides a glimpse into both the work schedule of the new president as well as his persona.
Among the highlights:
- President Obama arrives later and works later than his predecessor, George W. Bush. President Obama gets to the Oval Office around 9 a.m., after he has breakfast with his family and helps get daughters Malia and Sasha ready for school. His predecessor arrived for work about two hours earlier.
- President Obama has dinner with his family then often returns to work in the Oval, sometimes until 10 p.m. President Bush was long asleep by then.
- President Obama begins his daily physical workout in the morning, around 6:45 a.m. His predecessor would often get a workout in midday.
- President Obama likes to wander the halls of the West Wing (who wouldn't, especially in the first week?) and will go see his aides when he wants to speak with them. Mr. Bush would have them summoned.
- President Obama's meetings are not as punctual as President Bush's were. Though they usually start on time, they often go overtime as the new president likes to talk policy. Mr. Bush was very disciplined with his schedule.
- President Obama's White House is not as formal as the Bush 43 White House (though not as informal, as far as I know, as the Clinton White House). The sport coat-on-at-all-times-in-the-Oval rule from the previous administration has been eliminated. Mr. Obama, who likes to turn the thermostat up--way up--often works without a coat. Business casual attire is allowed for staff on the weekend.
- One thing hasn't changed much--the Oval Office decor. However, expect a few changes soon. According to the Times: "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. 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.'"