When Mr. Bush moved in, he exercised his presidential decorating prerogatives and asked his wife, Laura, to supervise the design of a new rug. Mr. Bush loved to regale visitors with the story of the rug, whose sunburst design, he liked to say, was intended to evoke a feeling of optimism.
The rug is still there, as are the presidential portraits Mr. Bush selected â€” one of Washington, one of Lincoln â€” and a collection of decorative green and white plates. During a meeting last week with retired military officials, before he signed an executive order shutting down the prison at GuantÃ¡namo Bay, Cuba, Mr. Obama surveyed his new environs with a critical eye.
â€œHe looked around,â€ said one of his guests, retired Rear Adm. John D. Hutson, â€œand said, â€˜Iâ€™ve got to do something about these plates. Iâ€™m not really a plates kind of guy.â€™Â â€
Some passengers screamed, others tucked their heads between their knees, and several prayed over and over: “Lord, forgive me for my sins.” But a man named Josh who was sitting in the exit row did exactly what everyone is supposed to do but few ever do: he pulled out the safety card and read the instructions on how to open the exit door.