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A Day in the Working White House: Early 21st Century


Perhaps the most significant change for the White House and its workers during the past several decades has been that heightened security concerns have made the House an increasingly more enclosed environment, which the president leaves less frequently for offsite events.

The result, according to former chief usher Gary Walters, is that “we transferred from a house where we only occasionally did parties to a major catering facility. Now we are doing three or four events a day sometimes.”

In addition to visitors on official business, the White House also hosts approximately 7,000 tourists each week. From Tuesday through Saturday, the White House staff must prepare the public rooms starting at 6 a.m. As Walters explains, we “have to roll up the carpets, put down the mats on the floor, put out the ropes and stanchions, and get ready for tours each day.”



Opposite: Wilson Jerman worked full-time in the White House from 1957 to 1993, and part-time beginning in 2003. Behind him in the White House elevator are First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama, holding a tortilla from the White House Cinco de Mayo celebration, May 4, 2009. White House Photo, Samantha Appleton (May not be reproduced without permission)

Background: Admiral Stephen Rochon, Director of the Executive Residence and Chief Usher since 2007, walks with President Barack Obama outside the White House, March 6, 2009. AP Photo/Ron Edmonds

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graphic detail