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Best Little Stories from the White House

Cover of Best Little Stories from the White House

Best Little Stories from the White House

More Than 100 True Stories
Borrow Borrow Borrow Borrow

Behind the White House's impressive facade lies the long history of the men who have lived and governed within it's walls. From births to deaths, weddings to funerals, the White House has seen it all. In Best Little Stories from the White House, author C. Brian Kelly takes us on a tour of the White House's fascinating history, giving us a glimpse of the most memorable presidential moments:

Theodore Roosevelt 's children once snuck their pony upstairsin the White House elevator to cheer up their sick brother.

Winston Churchill once suffered a minor heart episode whilestruggling with a stuck window in the White House.

John Quincy Adams was known to skinny-dip in the Potomac.

Woodrow Wilson liked to chase up and down the White Housecorridors playing "rooster fighting" with his daughter Nellie.

Behind the White House's impressive facade lies the long history of the men who have lived and governed within it's walls. From births to deaths, weddings to funerals, the White House has seen it all. In Best Little Stories from the White House, author C. Brian Kelly takes us on a tour of the White House's fascinating history, giving us a glimpse of the most memorable presidential moments:

Theodore Roosevelt 's children once snuck their pony upstairsin the White House elevator to cheer up their sick brother.

Winston Churchill once suffered a minor heart episode whilestruggling with a stuck window in the White House.

John Quincy Adams was known to skinny-dip in the Potomac.

Woodrow Wilson liked to chase up and down the White Housecorridors playing "rooster fighting" with his daughter Nellie.

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    Prologue:
    White House Under the Gun
    2001

    WHEN TERRORISTS TOOK DOWN THE World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, and even more hijacked airliners still could be headed for the White House itself, President George W. Bush wasn't "home" in Washington, D.C., but Vice President Dick Cheney was. He had hardly learned of the horrifying events in New York City before a Secret Service agent burst into his office in the West Wing, took hold of him and, without ceremony, "propelled" him out of his office and down the hallway.

    Special Agent Jimmy Scott rushed Cheney to a stairway leading to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), a strictly functional bunker below the wedding-cake facades of the Executive Mansion.

    It was a moment Cheney never would forget.

    "We stopped at the bottom of the stairs in a tunnel outside the PEOC," Cheney related in his 2011 book In My Time (written with his daughter Liz Cheney). "I watched as Secret Service agents positioned themselves at the top, middle, and bottom of the staircase, creating layers of defense in case the White House itself should be invaded."

    The White House was safe, but in the next few minutes, Cheney would learn of at least one hijacked airliner that appeared to be on a direct path to the White House. Just then, Cheney would be cut off from communication with President Bush. As a result, it fell to him as the highest available authority in the U.S. government to order the Air Force to shoot down the airliner if it clearly did become a threat.

    Agent Scott, already handing out guns, gas masks and flashlights to the personnel gathered in the underground shelter, explained that "He'd gotten word over his radio that an inbound, unidentified aircraft was headed for 'Crown,' code name for the White House."

    And minutes later, a heart-stopping follow-up: "Sir," Scott said, "the plane headed for us just hit the Pentagon."

    On hearing that grim news, Cheney knew "for certain" that Washington itself was under attack. President Bush, who had been visiting an elementary school in Florida, must stay away.

    With reports of other airliner hijackings still unresolved, the White House and everybody in it—or below it—were still under the gun

    Cheney finally reached Bush to tell him he should stay away. Actually, it was Cheney's second call to the president since two hijacked airliners flew into the World Trade Center's twin towers about 9 o'clock that Tuesday morning. Unaccountably, a "communications glitch" had interrupted Cheney's first call to Bush, thus cutting off a vital communications link between the two leaders of the most powerful nation in the world. For a time, each was trying to reach the other.

    Waiting for his latest call to go through, Cheney had watched the dire scene unfolding in New York on "an old television set that had been set up on the tunnel."

    Finally, Bush came on the line. "I told him the Pentagon had been hit and urged him to stay away from Washington. The city was under attack, and the White House was a target. I understood that he didn't want to appear to be on the run, but he shouldn't be here until we knew more about what was going on."

    Meanwhile, Cheney's wife Lynne appeared in the tunnel. It now was shortly before 10 o'clock. She had been in downtown Washington when the World Trade Center was struck. "Her Secret Service detail brought her to the White House."

    As the vice president wound up his conversation with Bush, he and his wife went on into the wood-paneled PEOC proper. There, he sat at a conference table loaded with telephones in drawers underneath the tabletop. "On the wall across from me were two...

Table of Contents-
  • Contents

    Prologue: White House Under the Gun

    How It All Began

    Nineteenth Century

    But First This Footnote

    And Now, Bless This House

    First to Come, First to Go

    Boardinghouse Manners

    Daily Mission Accomplished

    Joe and Edy Saga

    Discovery Corps

    Looted, Burned...Gone

    White Lodge Visited

    Early Social Doings

    Skinny-Dipper

    Chippewa Revenge

    White House Honeymoon

    "Royal Pup" Chastised

    Prophetic Words Repeated

    A Most Rowdy Party

    Horses

    Dolley's Black Benefactor

    Old Compatriot's Visit

    Violent Reaction

    Dinner with Old Hickory

    A Most Famous Tree

    Three Days of Oratory

    Steppingstone President

    "Mrs. Presidentress"

    Busy, Busy, Too Busy

    Midcentury Melodrama

    Slaves in the Attic

    End to an Affair

    Lincoln's Farewell to Herndon

    Lincoln Escapes a Trap

    Reportage at Close Quarters

    Early Blow for Lincoln

    Writing the Great Document

    Honest Man at Gettysburg

    "This Damned Old House"

    Ugly Fellow Encountered

    Lincoln and Stanton

    Persistent Bodyguard

    Ford Theatre Aftermath

    For the Record

    Public Audience Room

    Crusade Sabotaged

    Rebel in the House

    President...in Secret

    Workers All

    Drama Behind a Desk

    Collaborators

    Dire Events Flared

    Fit for Clerks

    Sickroom Cooled

    Roaring Crowd

    Bachelor Status Ended

    A Most Courageous Patient

    Progress Report

    Born There

    Wedded There

    Died There

    Twentieth Century

    Auspicious Change

    "Doing Nothing"

    Controversy Over Dinner

    Alice's Bad Idol

    Wretched Little Sofa

    High-Toned Ball

    Silver Jubilee

    Hooting at Owls

    "Looked Like a Dead Man"

    Alice's "Majicks"

    Another View on Wilson

    Boy with Message

    "You Yellow Rat!"

    Funeral Train

    Coolidge's Favorite Prank

    Dancing in the Moonlight

    Bookends

    Oval Office Gutted

    Herbert the Modern

    Fishing Was His Passion

    "Get That Father Out of Jail!"

    One Dread Moment

    Man Reclining on Bed

    Outlaw of Falahill

    Wartime White House

    Guests from the Street

    More of Progress

    Visiting Mothers

    Happy Days Afloat

    Unofficial Annex

    White House Visit

    Harry Homebody

    Buzzing the White House

    A Swim in the Potomac

    Poker Players, Do Your Duty

    Passing the Baton

    Early Presidential Crisis

    New Boss in Town

    Sentimental Evenings

    Presidential Spy Plane

    Press Conference Tactics

    Jackie's Painful Tour

    Freedom at Last!

    Jackie to the Rescue

    JFK Misses Lunch

    Rose Garden Created

    1:00 p.m. in Dallas

    Transition in Dallas

    Long, Long Wait

    Nickel-Plated Shovel

    Locked Out

    All the Way with LBJ

    Telephonitis in the White House

    Piece of Paper Misplaced

    "Good to Be Home"

    Hardly Anyone Knew Her

    Nixon Resigns

    Musical Office Spaces

    Public Housing

    Unfit for a Queen

    Life After the White House

    Day in the Life of...

    Two-Stepping at the White House

    Bungee Jump with No Rope

    Anger in Stages

    Impeachment Proceedings

    Twenty-first Century

    "We're at War"

    "Mr. President," Said Each

    New Life for a Senator

    Gym Rat

    Thrill for a White House Butler

    Leavetakings

    First Ladies in Review

    The First...

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Best Little Stories from the White House
Best Little Stories from the White House
More Than 100 True Stories
C. Brian Kelly
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