Objects of Reflection

What does Oval Office décor say about its occupant? George W. Bush likes to talk about how his rug's sunbeams say "optimistic person." Here's a look at past Presidents' favored objects and the messages they sent.

JOHN F. KENNEDY'S Appalachian oak rocking chair from North Carolina was recommended by his doctor to ease J.F.K.'s chronic lower-back pain. But it eventually signified contemplation in the White House.

Image mattered to LYNDON JOHNSON, whose three Oval Office TV sets let him monitor the three major networks at once--and revealed his obsession with how the news media viewed him and his Administration.

Jelly beans...

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