Particularly when the one giving the tour of history, and Oval Office history at that, is none other than the President of the United States of America!
...And yes, that is my newest pamphlet, Racism and the Silver Rights Movement, sitting prominently on the President's desk, there on the right! Very, very cool...
The President, as in President George W. Bush, our 43rd President of the United States, could not have been more gracious, kind and engaging of his nosy guests.... I am referring to me, there to the left.
The President took time, in a private session with the three of us, along with his key aides including friend Karl Rove, just prior to our substantive meeting between the President and 20 black leaders back in January, 2005, to give us the history of the Oval Office.
The President talked extensively about the art and the history of the furniture in the oval Office, and why he selected certain art and items to be displayed within the Oval -- and of course, everything had its own special meaning, or it was not there.
I was struck with how clean and simple his work space area was, in contrast to prior Presidents. Every President brings their own unique style to not just the White House, but the Oval Office. For President Bush I think it is fair to say, "less is more." He likes clean and organized spaces, and frankly, so do I.
The President was particularly proud of the rug in the Oval, which every President designs special for their term in office. His, which is a sort of shades of sandstone tan and very classy, was designed by his wife, First Lady Laura Bush. You could see him beaming as he spoke of her...
And just as soon as the private tour began, it was about over. We spoke for a minute or two about business -- my vision of joining his Ownership Society with my Silver Rights Movement. He listened to my argument, and on balance, agreed that my vision made a lot of sense. Common ground.
Soon we were all off, led by the President himself, for the walking tour from the West Wing and the Oval Office, down the stairs, across the private White House drive, up the stairs and into the White House Old Executive Office Building, where the real meeting took place. A special time indeed. Honored to have played a small role.
Oh, and thanks Mr. President for the very cool tour! I like your style sir.
Onward, with HOPE