Presidential Attire: ‘Dress Code of Respect?’

Feb 9, 2009 3:08pm

ABC News’ Stu Schutzman reports: As if there aren’t bigger fish to fry, Presidential office attire has recently become an issue. An official of the Bush Administration is taking the new President to task for shedding his suit jacket while working in the Oval Office. Andy Card, President’s Bush’s first Chief Of Staff, has castigated Barack Obama for doffing his suit coat during an Oval Office meeting. "There should be a dress code of respect," Card told Inside Edition. Card pointed to the very stringent dress code in force in the Bush White House(more on that in a moment). Card said, "the Oval Office symbolizes…the Constitution, the hopes and dreams and I’m going to say, Democracy." It is true that President Bush demanded "proper" attire in the office, many former staffers said he thought of the White House as a kind of corporate headquarters; the Oval Office as a boardroom. The Oval Office has been around since 1909, William Howard Taft was its first occupant. It’s come to be the place where Presidents work, meet Foreign dignitaries and call the Super Bowl winners. It is an awesome place to behold in person; so much history, responsibility, decision making. To visitor and staff alike, the awesome burdens of the Presidency are palpable throughout the room. So, it’s not surprising that a photo has surfaced of President Bush sitting behind his Oval Office desk sans suit coat. The Huffington Post has a slideshow, which shows many of the modern Presidents looking less than formal in the Oval Office. There’s Reagan in an orange western shirt; JFK in his rocker; Clinton and Ford in shirtsleeves; Carter meeting a dignitary in shirtsleeves. So relax Mr Card, have a seat, take your coat off…we have bigger fish to fry

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