Behind the Scenes: A Day in the Life

Behind the Scenes: A Day in the Life


Behind the Scenes A Day in the Life


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The White House Situation Room

The White House Situation Room is a 5,000 square-foot complex of rooms intended to address critical situations relating to national security. These spaces contain several conference and video rooms where President of the United States may receive intelligence briefings, communicate securely with others worldwide and meet with staff members.

The Situation Room serves as a secure meeting space in which sensitive information flows in and out of the White House at all hours of day and night, providing current intelligence and crisis support to NSC staff, the National Security Advisor, and ultimately President of the United States.

Staff of this department are organized into five "watch teams", which keep an eye on international events and report back daily to President. These watch teams consist of duty officers, intelligence analysts and communications assistants.

They are responsible for providing President with current intelligence and open-source data in support of policy formulation and implementation, as well as organizing secure international telephone calls and briefings.

Personnel employed by these teams have been carefully screened by the United States Secret Service and granted top-level clearances by them, in addition to receiving training on how to work and behave in an operational Situation Room environment.

In 2007, a major renovation was undertaken that significantly expanded and enhanced the Situation Room's capabilities, including adding new equipment and technology that increased security within both its walls and staff.

Since 1961, the White House Situation Room has been at the heart of Washington's national security community. Established by President Kennedy's National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy as an outlet to his frustration with how President Kennedy received information from various defense departments, this Room remains at its core today.

Aside from providing security to the President, the Situation Room has served as a critical forum for critical decisions and moments that have defined America's history. Iconic scenes include Vice President Biden inspecting an outline model of Osama bin Laden's house prior to authorizing an over-the-horizon attack.

The Situation Room is an essential feature of the White House. Without it, Presidents would be unable to access critical intelligence regarding numerous international threats such as NATO, Russia, cybersecurity and human rights concerns. Presidents and their top aides frequently utilize it in order to discuss global issues.

The East Room

The East Room of the White House is one of its most versatile spaces and is used for an incredible range of activities ranging from opera performances and poetry readings to rock concerts, not to mention seven presidents being laid in state here.

Its rich history lies in the fact that it was originally intended as a venue to host elegant public gatherings; Abigail Adams, wife of President Adams was among its first residents. Today it serves as a place of elegance and glamour for some of the White House's most important events.

It has served as the site of numerous historic ceremonies in America - the inaugural naturalization ceremony, Cinco De Mayo celebrations and Supreme Court nomination introductions, to name just three examples. Furthermore, The East Room has hosted events ranging from swearing in of Cabinet members, press conferences and even legislative signings.

There's much to see here, from rare books and manuscripts to an exquisite Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington that remains after 1800 when his mansion burned down.

While the East Room may seem ordinary, its history is rich. Abraham Lincoln's son Tad would often come here with his pet goats to play and Teddy Roosevelt hosted wrestling matches there for guests; Susan Ford held her senior prom here as well.

Barack Obama used the East Room during his administration to sign new laws regarding embryonic stem cell research, expanding health coverage for poor children, limiting greenhouse gases emissions and helping workers sue for pay discrimination.

The East Room also plays host to various artifacts from the White House collection, such as an impressive selection of medieval illuminated manuscripts curated by Morgan. Additionally, special exhibitions from this amazing archive may occasionally take place here.

Tommy Wiseau remains an icon among fans of "so bad it's good" movies, as evidenced by his book about his experiences. In it he details the origins and popularity of The Room; who love it; his time working on it and shares anecdotes from working life while offering fans insight into a life filled with eccentricity and irony.

The State Dining Room

The State Dining Room of the White House serves as its central ceremonial chamber and major event space, often used for dinners, meetings, and official functions. As its title implies, this area serves as a major focus of White House hospitality; every day hundreds of visitors frequent it.

President Thomas Jefferson made use of the State Dining Room as his private office, hosting many social occasions there and even welcoming an unusual creature: a mockingbird who resided in its cage next to one window.

James Madison and Dolley Madison made changes to their living quarters when they took up residence in 1809, transforming a drawing room into a dining area by hanging Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington on the wall and placing an along de table in its center.

This ormolu centerpiece was 14 feet (4.3 meters). It featured seven sections that could be removed or added in order to adjust its length as required, featuring a mirrored floor and garlands of fruit and flowers.

Along the opposite wall were two console tables which matched the decorations on the dining table, featuring molded stone tops and cabriolet legs with c-scroll stretchers.

Monroe purchased for his State Dining Room additional purchases including an Italian Carrara marble mantel adorned with Neoclassical caryatids from Carrara; also, Louis Veron of Philadelphia offered blue, green, and yellow paper that Monroe wallpapered with.

Once Monroe died in 1831, President James Franklin Pierce renovated the State Dining Room by refinishing its chandeliers, replacing its wood moldings and dado rails, painting it, as well as installing new carpeting and mirrors.

By the late 1800s, heavy use had caused wear-and-tear damage to its furnishings, necessitating extensive repair and conservation measures for this space.

The Kennedy administration made some minor modifications to the State Dining Room, including restoring antique mahogany chairs that had been damaged over time and reupholstered them with brown grid-patterned "horsehair" fabric and brass nail heads - these chairs modeled those acquired by President James Monroe for use in his East Room in 1818.

The West Wing

NBC viewers watched President Josiah Bartlet's White House administration unfold over seven seasons on TV as he and his staff attempted to fulfill their duties. Although imperfect in many regards, this show managed to capture American politics accurately while giving audiences an inside glimpse at life as commander-in-chief.

Aaron Sorkin created and aired The West Wing from 1999-2006 on NBC, winning 26 Emmy Awards - including Best Drama Series.

Through its run, fans saw Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and his staff navigate politics and policy while trying to maintain relationships. Additionally, they experienced all the ups and downs associated with working for a president - such as dealing with difficult issues like terrorism and healthcare reform.

Bartlet was joined in his White House duties by numerous characters such as his Chief of Staff (Leo McGarry), Josh Lyman as his deputy, his Communications Director Toby Zeigler, aides and more.

These characters and their relationships were an integral component of the show's success, depicted as people who care for one another while working toward accomplishing common goals even though they may differ on what constitutes the right course of action.

Contrast that with other shows that show presidents as having unfettered power to do whatever they please without regard for how it might impact on their country; The West Wing stands out with its powerful yet captivating depiction of American democracy as it shows through these flawed yet brilliant political representations.

EW hosted its cast members back on set for an unforgettable reunion, where they discussed everything from tap dancing improvs to the details behind walk-and-talk scenes.

If you love The West Wing, head over to History Happy Hour on Thursday, April 13th at 6:00 pm ET to hear journalist and author Marc Freeman explore the inner workings of The West Wing for an exclusive episode called "History Meets Hollywood". Don't miss this exclusive event for History Happy Hour members only!

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