Clinton Family Values

The mansion's redecoration arches a few eyebrows

It is accepted wisdom in Washington that each new First Family gets to put its personal imprimatur on the decor of the White House. It is also the right of every self-respecting armchair decorator to criticize the First Family's taste. The Lincolns were disparaged as spendthrifts. Rutherford Hayes' refurbishings were deemed "French-y and pretentious." Teddy Roosevelt smeared the Green Room with a polar-bear pelt, and purists reached for the smelling salts when Harry Truman built a balcony over the South Portico. Even decor queen Jackie Kennedy was sharply rebuked by the President himself when an all-too-authentic antique chair collapsed under him...

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