White House Backdrop is Fine Art


WASHINGTON (AP).- When President Barack Obama addressed the nation from the Oval Office for the first time, Americans knew in an instant the Gulf oil spill had become a full-blown crisis. His prime-time speech, in a setting that bespeaks the power of the presidency, telegraphed a vital message: The spill is huge, but I’m on it. The president’s house is filled with iconic backdrops — the gilt-trimmed East Room, the verdant Rose Garden, the stately Grand Foyer, to name just a few — and Obama has carefully employed them all to communicate with a public that’s still making up its mind on how he’s doing his job. Choosing among these is an art, as much as a science. Each venue has its aesthetic — and political — pros and cons. To those who manage the optics of presidential appearances, the White House is a mansion with a message. “Every room within the White House tells a story,” said Daniella Gibbs Leger, who directs the choice for Obama. “We’ve used pretty much e