|Here we are back at the White House after 39 years|
- a home for the president and his family
- a functioning operational site to determine and run US positions both here and around the world
- a political center to celebrate freedom and contributions of citizens from all 50 states
- a symbol of the power, grandeur, and history of America
- a museum of the presidency and
- one of Washington's leading tourist attractions, a site which can attract as as many as 100,000 visitors a month.
The most obvious changes concern increased security measures. After the 9/11 attacks, all tours must be arranged through a member of Congress, permission that can only be granted after much paperwork and a background check. You may only take 4 items on the tour. The permitted items are cell phones, wallets, car keys, and umbrellas. You will pass through 2 checkpoints where your ID will be scrutinized. You must also submit to a complete X-ray screening.
|President Obama listens as Jagger sings in the Blue Room|
Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
Probably every one who tours the White House thinks about running into the president. But such encounters are extremely rare. In fact, it may actually be better for you as a visitor if the president is not on site at the time of your visit. That way there is less chance that your tour will be called off at the last moment for some presidential business or crisis. On the day of our visit, President Barack Obama was in Vermont, where one of my favorite bands Grace Potter and the Nocturnals served as his warm-up. Since he wasn't there to greet us, I plan to write him and tell him how much we enjoyed our visit.