West Wing ‘Ghost Town’

By Thomas Nagorski

Jan 15, 2009 9:40am

From long-time ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton:

President and Mrs. Bush fly to Camp David Friday afternoon for a final weekend in the rustic seclusion of "the Camp." Over the next 36 hours, White House staffers will go through the behind-the-scenes business of turning in their hard passes, coded lapel pins, "flip-top" fancy White House IDs in leather folders, blackberries, cellphones, and security clearances.

At 9:00 p.m. Friday, the highest-level staffers will turn in their gear; and the West Wing will become a ghost town.

Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, Counselor Ed Gillespie, and Press Secy Dana Perino are the senior staffers who will remain here, on standby. Monday is a federal holiday so the White House would be closed anyway. On Tuesday, Special Agent Donald White of the U.S. Secret Service will shadow President Bush, sit in the customary front "shotgun" seat of the limousine, and guard the President until noon. At 12:01, Agent White steps over to a position behind Barack Obama.

President and Mrs. Bush will helicopter to Andrews Air Force Base after the swearing-in (they do not remain on Capitol Hill for the luncheon); the Cheneys drive to Andrews.  At 1:20 pm, the former President will speak (no cameras) to hundreds of loyal friends invited to come out to a hangar at Andrews for the send-off.  A handful of these friends have been invited to fly on what can can no longer be called Air Force One (it’s only Air Force One when it ferries the President) to Midland, Texas.

Here at the White House, Laura Bush has already packed up her books and dispatched them to Texas.  An aide says the only personal piece of furniture departing is a chest of drawers belonging to President Bush’s grandmother.

Around 10:30 am Tuesday, moving trucks will be waiting to enter the south drive of the White House, bringing the Obama family’s belongings. And a new era.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus