|Posted May 9, 2009 by usnews.com
By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
He already has the Hawaiian shirt and likes fine dining and romantic beach strolls with the missus. So maybe President Obama, as he considers warm-weather trips and vacations, might think Florida's Key West. Unlike his childhood home of Oahu, Key West is just a 3 1/2-hour Air Force One flight away, and it already has an official summer residence: the "Little White House," used by Harry S. Truman and several other presidents. "Oh, yes, he's been invited," says Bob Wolz, Little White House foundation director. "It will happen. We're aiming with that thought process in mind. It's not like this place is a moment frozen in 1949."
In fact, it's practically new, thanks to a $1 million makeover that restored the waterfront plantation to its 1940s luster. Even the Truman-era wallpaper was re-created to cover the plaster and horsehair walls of the circa-1890 military HQ. "It looks more presidential every day," cheers Wolz. And don't sweat the humidity, Mr. Prez. They spent $300,000 on a supermodern A/C unit.
Wolz isn't the only one talking up the Little White House. Bill and Hillary Clinton vacationed there in 2005, and Secretary of State Clinton promises to hold diplomatic summits in the house where Truman sketched out the Truman Doctrine. During the 2008 primaries, says Wolz, Hillary even suggested she'd vacation there as prez. Then there's former Sen. George McGovern, there this month to cut the ribbon on the renovation. And Obama ally Rep. Kendrick Meek of Florida visited last month and bought a few gifts for Obama—a shirt and hat with the slogan: "Home of Presidential Vacations."
Illustration by Ed Wexler for USN&WR