Buckingham Palace will be open for public tours this summer, but not the White House.
Theodore Roosevelt once wrote “the White House is the property of the nation.”
President Obama says he is committed to making this the most open and participatory administration in history by “Opening the Doors to the White House”.
Of course this doesn’t actually mean inviting you inside for a personal tour, unless of course you were a big donor during his campaign. This merely means that you can engage by going online (similar to watching him give speeches on youtube).
In the past, public tours of the White House were granted to individuals submitting requests to their member of Congress at least 21 days in advance. Today the White House continues to post on their site, “due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform you that the White House Tours will be canceled effective Saturday, March 9, 2013 until further notice.”
According to the White House web site, there are 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms and 6 levels in the Residence. There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases and 3 elevators. Unfortunately, you won’t be seeing any of this anytime soon.
It is encouraging to see technology used in a way that allows us to gain knowledge, but these tours are not particularly interesting and they definitely do not take the place of visiting in person.
It appears one can feel more welcome and learn more about the White House from Jackie Kennedy in 1962 from the hour-long CBS documentary.
It is unfortunate that closing the doors to the White House was the only solution. It seems there could have been other options, like restricting visits to the summer like Buckingham Palace, or charging a fee for tickets.
Perhaps President Obama is not concerned much about public opinion now that he has been re-elected to office. It appears the White House is now his house and guests are limited.