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  • President Gerald R. Ford said it was "the best public housing I've ever seen."
  • President Harry S. Truman referred to the White House as a "glamorous prison," the "great white sepulcher of ambitions," or the "taxpayers' house."
  • Right after the Inauguration in 1989, Barbara Bush said she wanted to use a smaller car rather than a big black limo and to travel by train or commercial airline when she had to go out of town. The Secret Service approved the smaller car but nixed the commercial travel "since the number of threats against the first lady is higher than that for the vice president."
  • Nancy Reagan said that about a month after moving in to the White House, she was surprised when the usher sent up a bill for their food. "Nobody had told us that the president and his wife are charged for every meal, as well as for such incidentals as dry cleaning, toothpaste and other toiletries."
  • "The isolation of the president in the White House is not so much self-imposed as it is imposed by others and by the nature of the office itself. The ushers, military aides, and key staff members all try to ensure that the president's energy is reserved for the big decisions; to spare him the petty details of life; to fulfill as quickly as possible his requests, large and small. His family is similarly isolated, and are oddly unaware of most of the rumors that sweep through Washington," according to Julie Nixon Eisenhower in Pat Nixon, The Untold Story.
  • "The Executive Mansion of the United States is far more than a temporary home for the family who lives there for four or eight years. It is now a museum containing priceless works of art and furnishings, a national monument open to 2 million tourists a year, a guest hotel for entertaining visitors of state and, in recent years, an impregnable fortress for protecting the life of the commander-in-chief." - J.B. West, Upstairs at the White House (1974).
  • "I think we sat down to eat together only once, and as I looked around the table, Barbara and Jenna [George W. Bush's twin daughters] were not anywhere to be seen. One of the butlers spoke up and said that they had just telephoned the kitchen and ordered sandwiches to be delivered to the bowling alley. The bowling alley! We put an end to that before it started, and they ate with us." - Barbara Bush, A Memoir, on Inauguration Week, 1989, when her entire extended family stayed at the White House.
  • "Jack took both pride and interest in the rose garden. He wanted to know the varieties. He had ideas about the juxtaposition of colors, and if there were yellow leaves or other signs of distress he wanted to know what ought to be done and who would take care of it. I must say I was a bit surprised, for I had never heard nor seen him demonstrate any interest in horticulture at home."- Rose Kennedy, Times to Remember, about John Kennedy's interest in the rose garden outside the Oval Office.
  • "Every evening, while I took a bath, one of the maids would come by and remove my clothes for laundering or dry cleaning. The bed would always be turned down. Five minutes after Ronnie came home and hung up his suit, it would disappear from the closet to be pressed, cleaned or brushed. No wonder Ron used to call the White House an eight-star hotel."- Nancy Reagan, My Turn.
  • "When the press on the outside wanted to know what she was doing inside, even when Tricia was 'at home,' there was little privacy. The Secret Service was not with us on the mansion's second and third floors, the family quarters, but the minute we stepped onto the public floors below our rooms, we were guarded." - Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Pat Nixon, the Untold Story, discussing her older sister, Tricia Nixon.

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