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Ear to the Ground

Obamas Hire Merrill Lynch Decorator

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Posted on Mar 30, 2009
White House / Pete Souza

Although they’re allotted $100,000 to redecorate, Barack and Michelle Obama will spend their own money updating the White House. The first family has turned to Michael S. Smith for the task. The designer has worked for Steven Spielberg, Rupert Murdoch and former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, whose decorating habits have come to epitomize corporate greed.

New York Magazine via Political Wire:

But does this mean they’re going to spend more than $100,000 or less? Though Michelle Obama has talked up Pottery Barn, Smith’s client list includes cost-is-no-object types like Rupert Murdoch, Steven Spielberg, and former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain—for whom he procured that $87,783 rug. “There’s no question that he’ll get it done in the way that it’s supposed to be done,” says Smith client and Democratic donor Katherine Chez. “But how, I don’t know.” The White House declined to disclose the budget, saying that all expenses would remain private as a result of the Obamas’ decision to absorb the cost.

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By KDelphi, April 2, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

As opposed to “Mommy in chief”.

Sorry. I actually like Michelle quite a bit.

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By Less Laugh, March 31, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment
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NYCartist:  Jackie made restoring the decor of the WH her personal project—she found a ton of antiques in the WH basement—not to mention all the stuff that was donated from various sources.  It was a different time; hence she had a different role the perfect “hostess.”

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By NYCartist, March 31, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

Les Laugh:thanks, I did laugh. 
Where are the records of Jackie Kennedy’s decorating? Am old enough to have seen the “video”, photos, but not remember how all looked.  I do recall she went for historic and succeeded well.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, March 31, 2009 at 5:13 am Link to this comment

Sit up now and you might get a biscuit.

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By KDelphi, March 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment


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By Les Laugh, March 30, 2009 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why squander money on a rental?

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