How White House Press Office Opened On Day One


This is just fun, and interests me, so here goes.

President Obama reported to work at 8:35 a.m. on Wednesday, walking into the Oval Office for the first time as the nation’s chief executive. Jeff Zeleny is following Mr. Obama’s first day on the job.

The lower press office on the first floor of the West Wing was locked until about 9 a.m., when Bill Burton, a deputy White House press secretary opened the doors. He sat in the office alone as a line of reporters waited for any morsel of information about the president’s day.

“If you guys give me 15 minutes, I will send something out,” said Mr. Burton, who wore a patient smile as he greeted a new correspondent from French TV and shook hands with veteran reporters like Ann Compton from ABC News who dropped by to say hello.

Fresh coats of paint – a buttery yellow – are covering the walls in some of the West Wing offices. The computers are freshly cleaned. (No, the “Os” are not missing from the keyboards.) And new members of the Obama administration are still trying to make it through security, even as others arrive with a few boxes and things for their desks.

“Welcome,” reads a red note card – with the presidential seal – that is placed on the computers. “For assistance with facility service issues, office layout and furniture please contact the Facilities Management Office.”

The new offices are designated not by nameplates, but by pieces of paper taped to the outside of the doors. The people who will be speaking for the president, who work in a small office just outside the press briefing room, include: Bill Burton, Josh Earnest, Jen Psaki, Tommy Vietor, Reid Cherlin, Ben LaBolt and Nick Shapiro.

At 9:46 a.m., another reporter walked into the press office.

“Good morning,” Mr. Burton said.

“I came to introduce myself,” the woman said. “I’m Helen Thomas.”

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