Tales from the Trail

Wisdom of Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Kennedy and King in Obama’s new Oval Office


The first family had a little redecorating done back at the White House while they were on vacation last week, just in time for President Barack Obama to make only his second nationally televised address from the imposing — and newly redone — Oval Office.

The presidential sanctum has been decked with new and reupholstered furniture, fresh paint and new, hand-painted striped  wallpaper and a new wheat, cream and blue rug made of 25 percent recycled wool, the White House said.

In front of the fireplace, there are two mahogany armchairs that were used by President George W. Bush, but have been reupholstered in caramel-colored leather. The brown leather desk chair is new, as is the coffee table, made out of American walnut and mica. The somewhat casual-looking couches were custom-made in New York and covered with custom-made light brown cotton fabric with red, white and blue threads running through it. There are also two new table lamps with blue ceramic bases.

The rug, made and donated by the Scott Group, a U.S. carpet maker based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is of course Oval, with the presidential seal in the center. It features five quotations important to Obama. And, fittingly for a president who campaigned promising bi-partisanship, they come from a Republican president as well as three Democrats, as well as the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

They are:

* ”The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” from President Franklin Roosevelt

Obama to call Bush ahead of Iraq speech

Just a friendly chat between two commanders in chief over a 7-1/2 year Iraq war…

President Barack Obama plans to call former President George W. Bush and discuss Iraq where he is ending combat operations that his  predecessor began. OBAMA/

Whether or not Obama will mention Bush in his primetime Oval Office television address at 8 p.m. Tuesday is unclear. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the ex-president will be among the people Obama calls before giving the speech.