January 21st, 2009
08:18 PM ET
9 years ago

A major Bush rule gets scrapped by Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/21/art.ovaloffice.cnn.jpg caption="What’s missing in this picture?"] (CNN) - It's the same Oval Office. The same desk. Even the same curtains. But President Obama has already made one major change: Go through eight years of White House photos, and you won't find one of former President Bush in the Oval Office without his jacket on.

It wasn't just a personal preference. In the Bush administration, it was a rule: Jackets in the Oval Office - and now, it seems, one of the first Bush-era regulations to get scrapped in the Obama White House.

- CNN's John King contributed to this report

Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (803 Responses)
  1. laughin at lib

    Well...its hard to take a nap in a suit coat.

    January 21, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. Merry

    To each his own. If that's the way our new President wants to dress -what is the fuss? The jacket will go on if there's a meeting. One of the things that fascinate people about President Obama is his 'humble human nature'. You go Mr. President!

    January 21, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  3. Eric, NY

    President Obama should wear a sports jacket in the Oval Office too..since he's in a professional job and leading the country. Also follow the trait as former Presidents!!!

    January 21, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. Sebastian

    I think pretty much every rule Bush ever made should be scrapped. I love that Bush got booed at the Inauguration. The crowd should have chanted "nananana, hey hey godbye" the way they do at sporting events when the visiting team is about to lose.

    So now that we've reestablished the rule of law defining the use of waterboarding and other forms of "extreme questioning" as torture, when do the war crimes trials for Bush and Cheney begin? Or are we just going to go ahead and sweep that one under the rug? If we do sweep it under the rug, then does that mean we have to send reparations to Japanese soldiers like Yukio Asano who we prosecuted and sentenced to 15 years in jail for the very same act? Just checking.

    January 21, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  5. itbeme

    GOOD GRIEF PEOPLE.....are we really going to argue about whether he wears a jacket or not? bush baby supports will throw a hissy about him not being respectful....Obama supports will say it shows he's ready to get down to work......WHO GIVES A FLIP! As long as some work actually gets done, I couldn't care less if he showed up in cut off blue jeans, a tank top, and bare foot.

    Is this really what this country has come to????? Fighting about a suit jacket???? We have people losing their jobs, their homes, can't feed their kids......and we're worried about a suit jacket???? We should all be ashamed that we can let this little crap become such a huge issue when there is so much more to worry about.

    January 21, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. jenn

    And we care whether or not the President wears a jacket in the Oval Office because.......?

    I think Obama has done some pretty significant things today (staff ethics reform, Gitmo military tribunal suspensions)...changing the "jackets only" rule is not one of them.

    January 21, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. Niraj Chandra


    The tie needs to come off, too so the prez can get down to real work.
    The "suits" have messed up the White House; we need thinkers and no one can think seriously with a tie and a jacket on.

    January 21, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  8. Achai Kamau

    Gotta love the conservatives' complaints that Obama "doesn't have any respect for the office." This coming after their hand-picked standard-bearer, George W. Bush, sullied the reputation of every American by launching the unjustified invasion of Iraq, torturing prisoners of war, and squandering the worldwide goodwill given to the US in the wake of 9/11.

    January 21, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. ARJ

    If I remember correctly G.B. did not really use the Oval office everyday. He used a private study located near it and only used the Oval office for larger meetings and phot ops. I think the president gets to decide which one will be his principal office. So I find it hard to believe that he always wore his jacket in his "real" office. It is not like the jacket made him a better president or helped him make better decisions.

    January 21, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. Pam

    Yet, Bush did his official portrait without a jacket. What a contridiction.

    January 21, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  11. NOVA

    He could be in there wearing a tanktop and board shorts for all I care, as long as the state of the union improves.

    January 21, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. Babalu

    The man can work in a Hawaiian shirt if he likes, because what counts is results. The Bush jacket rule is Seinfeldian: A rule about nothing. Be comfortable, Barack.

    January 21, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Liz

    That's because he's using the Oval Office as a place to roll up his sleeves and do work, not as a prop or a photo op.

    January 21, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Who cares what the Obama's wear.

    January 21, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. SC resident

    Yes, we DO read about the "degeneration" of manners, attire, etc., but I really don't think this fits in that category. If he's more comfortable in shirt sleeves (I would be!) let him be. He's obviously one who wants to "pick his battles" and this isn't worth an argument.

    January 21, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. Sal

    Who cares if he wears a jacket or not? The only thing I care about is he gets the job done. So what if he doesn't have a jacket, even if it was a 'major rule by Bush'. New President, new rules. Let him do what he needs to do, regardless how he looks in his place of work.

    January 21, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. Chess

    Non story.....Bush work eight years with a jacket and did nothing. Please CNN stop!!!

    January 21, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. CMS

    This was actually a carry over from Reagan who said he respected the power of the oval office so much that he wanted to respect it by always dressing appropriately.

    In this case, O's PR dept is trying to showcase Obama "getting down to work." Unfortunately IMO, a photo op is not getting the critical work done unless you are trying to continue the honeymoon he has been enjoying with his supporters and the media.

    Not saying he isnt charismatic and a great orator, but he is untested so before everyone continues the love fest, I would wait to see what results he brings given the dauntless situation he inherited. I hope he surprises me, but something tells me he has greater chance of failure than not.

    January 21, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Marion

    Wow, those criticizing him for doing this must not have ever worn a suit to work. If you had, you'd know how uncomfortable that jacket can get after you've been working a while. Most people will take them off and hang them on the back of their chairs. I get to dress business casual, but I have occasionally had to wear a suit for some important event, and I have to take the jacket off after a while.

    So give the man a break. Formality every now and then is fine, but when you work somewhere every single day, you have to be able to loosen up a bit. Do you sit at work wearing your jacket all day? No? Then don't complain when Obama wants to remove his.

    January 21, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. CB

    Before ridiculing people AndyL @ 3:24pm, learn to proofread your own messages. It's "thought" not "though." You just proved one thing: YOU are definitely not smarter than Bush. Enjoy your ignorance…

    January 21, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. MO in Missouri

    Hmmm. The economy is in the tank, job losses are mounting, and prices are rising and people are worried about how someone is dressed? WHO CARES??? Lets get our priorities straight. As long as he gets the job done, I don't care if he's wearing bib overalls, a flannel shirt, and a Red Man Chewing Tobacco cap. People, we have bigger things to worry about!!!

    January 21, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. KYLIA

    President Obama should break all of Bush rules they were no good anyway.President Obama said its time for a change.Jacket or no jacket its time to take care of bussiness.

    January 21, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Inder

    Well that's the right approach ~ when you are head on, deep in the ocean of problems, that are facing the nation today. He needs to perform creatively and pragmatically. His mind is already burdened with a loath of problems that need his urgent attention. The burgeoning Economic recession , Corporate America in a miserable situation, the International political and Economic Demands and expectations from the new President of America, the ever increasing un-employment problem, creation of new opportunities for the fellow Americans, the growing demands of the banking, real estate and automobile industry in America ; curbing International terrorism , controling Oil crisis, and ofcourse using the might of the Huge Potential of the American defence forces in a more proactive manner on the planet and so on... !!
    In short the American Nation is in astate of acute crisis on all fronts..!!!
    This is a clear message to one and all Americans, ~ " Enough is enough, now let us all get down to Work...!"

    January 21, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. CJ

    They could work naked for all I care! I don't know what goes on in the Oval Office and never will. He could put on dresses and I just don't care. I like him and I think he's going to work tirelessly for this country. That's all that matters to me 🙂

    January 21, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. Obama Dude

    Hey.. Bush's 'wear a jacket' rule was a good one....nothing wrong with that at all.. shows respect for the office, etc..

    But, in case you hadn't noticed. Bush is back in Texas with a 23% approval rating.

    Let Obama do his thing.. it's a new day. Godspeed Obama.

    January 21, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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