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Friday, November 14, 2008

Presidential perks: Here's what awaits the Obamas.

Air Force One — Lots of perks come with this president gig--a fleet of helicopters, a Camp David retreat, a fully-staffed kitchen--the list goes on and on. Here's a few of the most mouth-watering items.

--Mark Silva and Lauren Oslon, Washington Bureau

(AP photo by Eckehard Schulz / June 10, 2008)
Two 747s serve the president and are based at Andrews Air Force Base. He takes one of them on every domestic trip. Both planes are flown on foreign trips as part security decoy and part staff conveyance. Only one plane at any one time is known as Air Force One. In fact, any plane carrying the president is referred to as Air Force One on that trip. The Air Force runs a respectable mess in the galley at the back of the aircraft, tailoring the menu to the president's desires.

Marine One

(AFP/Getty Images photo by Tim Sloan / November 6, 2001)
The president also travels by helicopter fleet. Known as Marine One, depending on which helicopter the president is on, the white-topped fleet flies three at a time when the president is on board one, with the other two landing as decoys.


(McClatchy-Tribune photo by Zbigniew Bzdak / November 5, 2008)
The motorcade generally runs 15 vehicles long, with two identical black Cadillac missile-proof limos with indestructible truck tires on them (one transports the president and the other serves as a decoy), several SUVs full of heavily armed Secret Service agents, a communications truck, Hazmat truck, ambulance, press vans and staff vans. When the president travels, the motorcade flies with him. There is a separate "car plane," a military transport that ferries the vehicles.

The West Wing

(Eric Draper, McClatchy-Tribune / November 10, 2008)
The president and his staff of about 18 assistants get the West Wing, where the Oval Office is located, with a view of the Rose Garden. The first lady has an office in the East Wing, on the opposite end of the residence. Both wings literally extend out from the White House, which is a residence only.


(Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS / September 17, 1971)
President Nixon bowls at the White House in September 1971. In this photo, his left foot is over the foul line. Barack Obama said during the campaign that "we're taking out the bowling alley in the White House and we're putting in a basketball court." The one-lane alley is located in the basement under the North Portico.

Camp David

(McClatchy-Tribune handout / August 6, 1976)
The presidential retreat in the woods atop the Catoctin Mounatains in Maryland. Located about one hour north by car, but usually reached by helicopter, Camp David has a great wide lawn and hanger for the Marine One shuttle. Sitting within Catoctin National Park, a beautiful run of woods with vistas or surrounding lands, Camp David opened with the name Shangri-La until President Eisenhower thought better of it and renamed the getaway.

Kitchen staff

(AP photo by Ron Edmonds / November 12, 2008)
The president has access to a fully-staffed kitchen, including a head chef and a pastry chef. The White House Mess, located in the basement of the West Wing, is a men's club-like restaurant with paneling and service by a formally attired Navy staff, which runs the mess in two shifts for lunch. Navy Bean soup is a specialty.

Putting green

(AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite / November 13, 1997)
Bill Clinton customized the White House putting green on the South Lawn with the help of a big golfer.

Morning newspapers

(AFP/Getty Images photo by Karen Bleifer / November 5, 2008)
The president receives newspapers from around the country in the morning. The Bushes prefer reading in bed.