Standing in front of the Washington Monument on Tuesday morning, I posed the question that had been bouncing around in my head for a bit to my gaggle of friends: What do you think it looks like to turn over the Oval Office for the new president?
The office traditionally is redesigned by each incoming president. That, along with the First Lady's selection of White House china has been the fodder for Ladies' Home Journal articles since the birth of hairspray - perhaps before, I didn't look it up.
Our question turned out to be more interesting than the reality - at least this year. You have 10-12 hours to rip out all the fixtures, paint the walls, reset an ornate carpet, let everything dry, and then place about 10 pieces of furniture (Desk/Chair/2 Couches/2 Receiving Chairs/4 end tables (optional) and hang drapes. Do you use quick drying glues? How many people show up? And so on and so on.
This year, the move was "easy." Obama is keeping W's rug and the desk. The desk is actually not W's - it is known the "resolute" desk and is over 100 years old, having spent nearly all of them in the Oval or the residence. The rug, on the other hand, was designed by Laura Bush with a TX artist. Keeping has been called an act of goodwill. It may instead be a jobs program, as W recommissions the TX artist for a copy to be placed in the presidential library.
What you are probably realizing is this: The transition this year was a snap. No rug, no painting, and no moving several hundred pennyweight of priceless timber. Just a few couches and chairs. Talk about "No Drama, Obama." Even the art was a one way trip out of the office. You'll notice that the walls were blank during the redo of the oath. W's TX themed art went out and Obama has yet to pick out a few choice pieces from the Smithsonian collection to adorn his walls. Oh, and that Harvard diploma, of course.