As children, how many of us wanted to grow up to become the President of the United States? Did you pretend that you lived in the White House and declare all girls banned from the mansion? Or that the tire swing at the playground was the mighty Air Force Once, and your friends were members of the Secret Service?
While being the President is not a job that many of us qualify for, the position has been touted as the most important in the Western Hemisphere. In January 2009, Barack Obama became the44th President of the United States and he will hold this position until his term ends in January 2017.
After a president serves one term, it’s almost guaranteed that they will run for a second term because of the power that comes with being the President of the United States. However, the power is far from the only perk. It’s no secret that politicians lead glamorous lives, but when it comes to the President, they get first choice at some of the finest things in life. What does Obama get that’s so special and why are people up in arms about it? Presidential luxuries do not come cheap, and people have a lot to say about useless spending of taxpayer dollars. Are you curious about the President’s lavish perks? We found eight of the most extravagant luxuries that Obama gets to enjoy while working in the Oval Office. Let’s start our list with the famous airplane that is a far cry from the imaginary one from our youth.
Air Force One
Air Force One is perhaps the most famous airplane in the history of the United States. In a tradition originating in 1954 with Franklin D. Roosevelt, each president gets to fly in this completely secure and state of the art plane. What started as a way of quickly transporting a president from one location to another has evolved into a luxurious jet that has all the bells and whistles that the leader of the free world could ever need.
Air Force One is essentially a flying White House with offices, a living room and several TV’s at President Obama’s disposal. What if the President needs to catch a quick nap before the next destination? There’s plenty of room for him to sprawl out on one of the many beds on board. While he’s asleep, Obama doesn’t have to worry about safety as the Air Force One can even avoid heat-seeking missiles.
While the Presidential airplane is luxurious, sometimes land travel is all that is needed, which is where “The Beast” comes in. Each president receives a limo, and the one that was unveiled for President Obama in 2009 is almost indestructible and has a ton of jaw-dropping amenities. “The Beast” was designed by General Motors and is equipped with a turbo boost, a fire prevention system, and even has a first aid kit with spare blood for Obama in case of national crisis or tragedy.
Obama will probably never have to open the first aid kit since the limo features bulletproof doors and windows and plenty of weapons for the Secret Service to use. “The Beast” cost about $1.5 million to build, and of course, gas mileage is around 3.5 miles per gallon. For someone who wants the nation to save money by using less fuel, it sure seems hypocritical for the president to be using such an eco-unfriendly vehicle. Don’t you agree?
Barack Obama grew up in the state of Hawaii and likes to take his family there once a year for vacation, mostly in the winter to escape the frigid temperatures of the East coast. The Obama family usually travels to Kailua and makes stops at Eddie Vedder’s (of Pearl Jam fame) house and many of the finest golf courses that Hawaii has to offer.
Of course, it’s not cheap to take an all-inclusive trip to Hawaii, especially when you are dining privately at some of the top restaurants in the state and shutting down golf courses to play a quick round. It’s estimated that it costs millions of dollars to get the President and his family to Hawaii and back, with a trip that usually lasts around two weeks.
Right down the road from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue is the Blair House. The house was built in 1842 as a private home for the Surgeon General of the United States, but it was purchased by the government 100 years later to serve as the official housing spot for guests of the President. Many foreign leaders have spent their time in DC at the Blair House. It is even considered to be foreign territory when the home flag of the visitor is raised to signify his or her stay in the confines.
Obama and his family spent a few nights in the Blair House after he was elected in 2008. In the days leading up to inauguration, staying at the Blair House is tradition for new presidents and their families. The house itself is bigger than the White House and features amenities that include a salon, a flower shop, nearly three dozen bathrooms and 14 bedrooms.
from the White House is the Naval Support Facility, Thurmont, which is more commonly known as Camp David. It was originally intended for agents of the government to take their families. However, upon completion in 1938, Franklin D. Roosevelt decided that Camp David would be a retreat for the President of the United States. The public isn’t quite sure where exactly the retreat is located, since there is no indication on any geographical map.
Originally, Camp David was known as Shangri-La, but the name was changed to something more practical. Thanks to sprawling wooded areas and swanky log cabins, Camp David is the ideal place for the president to get away from the rest of the world and enjoy nature. Are you dreaming of a stay at the Camp? The only way anyone gets in is by either becoming President or through an invitation extended by the President himself. Relax, the rest of us will never get in either!
The most famous and recognizable house in the entire world sits on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC. The White House has been home to the President of the United States since John Adams in 1800, and serves as a safe haven for the President during his time in office. While many people only get to tour the parts of the White House where minor business is conducted, there is, of course, plenty more going on that visitors never get to see.
The Oval Office is the most secure room in the world, and that is just one room in the 55,000 square foot home. There are three dozen bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, and more than 130 rooms. As the President, Obama doesn’t get a lot of downtime, but when he does, he has plenty of options from the luxurious rooms, bowling alley, and movie theater.
Throughout history, the First Lady of The White House has often worked on a specific cause during her husband’s term. Following suit to the women before her, Michelle Obama has been adamant about proper nutrition. As a health nut, Michelle needed to pick a personal chef for the family and selected Sam Kass to fill the role from 2009 to 2014. Whenever the Obama family was hungry, Kass made them anything they wanted. Most of us struggle to find something that is both nutritious and delicious, but having a personal chef to take care of that makes it entirely possible.
Cristeta Comerford is the current executive chef of The White House. But, she is far from the only chef. There is also a pastry chef that gets paid big bucks to whip up desserts and other sweets for both the Obama family and for large scale events. We can’t imagine that being the chefs at The White House is easy. The world’s most powerful people visit The White House, and the chefs are responsible for making delicious meals (following cultural and dietary preferences) for everyone.
With time spent living in Chicago, it’s no surprise that Barack Obama is a huge fan of the Chicago White Sox, Bears and Bulls. Since Obama’s favorite sport is basketball, he decided to have a court added to the recreational area of The White House grounds.
Included in the rec center is a swimming pool, a track, a putting green, a bowling alley, a tennis court and even a movie theater. If you have ever wondered why presidents tend to look slimmer after their time in office, combining about 100 different ways to burn calories with the stress of running the United States will usually do the trick.