(CNN) - The Obamas are using their own money to redecorate the White House residence and Oval Office, the White House confirms, forgoing the $100,000 in federal funds that is traditionally allotted to new presidents for such renovation projects.
The first couple - who made well over $2 million in 2008, largely from book revenues - is also turning down money from the White House Historical Association, the organization that financed a $74,000 set of china for the Bushes.
New presidents have traditionally undertaken extensive redecoration efforts to their personal quarters reflect their own tastes, with a new Oval Office rug tradition ringing in as the priciest item. Former President George W. Bush spent over $60,000 on a new cream carpet designed by Laura Bush in 2000 to replace the deep blue rug that covered the space during the Clinton administration. Obama aides have said the president likes the Bush rug, and does not plan to replace it.
The decision to forgo federal funds, first reported by New York Magazine, is the president's latest belt-tightening move amid the sagging economy and widespread outrage over corporate excesses. Late last month, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced the administration had put an order on hold for a fleet of new helicopters that will cost at least $11 billion.
But it remains unclear just how much money the couple plan to spend on redecorations. In January, the Obamas tapped high-profile interior designer Michael Smith to spearhead the project.
In accepting the position, Smith said affordability would be one of the "guiding principles."
"The family's casual style, their interest in bringing 20th Century American artists to the forefront and utilizing affordable brands and products will serve as our guiding principles as we make the residence feel like their home," he said.
wow, just wow!
I can't wait to hear the republicans bash the First Family for this.
Wait, wait, wait. He made over $2 million last year, so he is a member of the evil filthy rich capitalist group that is ruining American society then right?
"Obama aides have said the president likes the Bush rug, and does not plan to replace it."
Thereby depriving the rug manufacturer of $60,000 worth of business. As far as I'm concerned, that would be a far better use of $60k of "stimulus" than giving it, no strings attached, to a moribund, mismanaged, company.
i wonder how people will get angry at this mmmmm? No way you can. Jesus people dont u see this man loves his job and is for real
I am sure the haters will also have a problem with this!
Replacing the carpet should wait until he's house trained the new dog, and the press corps.
sorry rush limbaugh party you will not be able to create phony outrage this time.
Good for them.
Nothing more than a political stunt. If he was genuine about saving money, he would not have flown Air Force One to Colorad to sign a bill in front of the media. Sad thing is, all the egobamaniacs will lick this up.
I love it, conservatives will say GW was one of their own, yea right. GW can take a few pointers from Obama about wasting taxpayer money on decorations in the white house. Unreal.
This is a disgrace to our tranquility. Heck, Thomas Jefferson did everyone bogus and took everything with him, he might as well take the White House with him. And Congress hooked up Madison for his belongings, that' the American Way! Even wen the British burned down everything Monroe snapped, heck yeah!! LOL!!
This is a disgrace to our brethren and to our founding fathers, since when we cared about our money?? Ohh yeah, when the British here, LOL!!
now theres change we can believe in using tax payers dollars to redecorate the white house
I bet he deducts the cost as a charitable donation – if he files his taxes. Maybe he should check with SecTreas first. I hear he knows how now.
I agree – the rug purchased by Bush (with Laura's help) is really beautiful and does not need to be replaced. In fact, that's one of the coolest rugs I've ever seen.
Obama is one cool and smart fella. I like this approach to using personal funds rather than pubic money from the treasury. Now if only the entire DC political culture could follow suit. Not very probable though, since it's so hard to give up all of those cool perks that can simply be charged to the people.
God bless this wonderful couple!
Good, that's my kind of president. Find a way to spin this one you crazy good-for-nothing Republicans!
Alright, lets see the Obama bashing on this one. I know its coming.
Leading by example.
Walking the talk. Gotta love him Intelligence, integrity and heart.
Yay Obama. Proud to have them as representatives of our country.
I'm sure Republicans will find a reason to blast this, ignoring Bush's past history. It's suddenly become acceptable for Republicans to criticize independently wealthy entrepenuers, so long as those entrepenuers are liberals.
Good move, Mr. President. While I can't say I have loved every move in the first two months, I can say I think all the decision have been thought out and not just shot from the hip. I certainly appreciate that after the last eight years of shoot first ask questions later mentality.
I'm waiting for the comments about how this either isn't news or that its another example of facism or socialism by wacky liberals trying to ruin the country and take over the wolrd.
Pay attention to other things that the O's are up to....
Wake up America!
President Obama has great character.