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    A skeleton and candles decorate the Blue Room of the White House in preparation for a Halloween reception for military families and children of White House staff, Oct. 31, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

    batman63, ask_andrericardo, and 48 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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    1. SLH Photography 2009 54 months ago | reply

      The White House staff does a great job decorating when festive dates come around, and I'm guessing you would see the inside of the White House all dressed up, much like this image, all over, for Halloween. Another nice perspective Pete.

    2. Unalienable Rights by GOD- not Executive Order 54 months ago | reply

      Halloween...the day the Obama's feel at home
      Where is that witch Valerie stopjarrett.com/

    3. {}+*^ [deleted] 54 months ago | reply

      This resembles someone...

    4. brian0 54 months ago | reply

      Wow, "Flag in distress"... calling our president a spook? You really are a cretin. I would think you would be happy that your hero John McCain was pictured here.

    5. bananajode 54 months ago | reply

      Awesome shot!!

    6. Been Buddy Longway 54 months ago | reply

      HaHaHaHaHa!

      LOL.

      And to think that in the times of my youth, such a terribly serious people worked in the White House.
      Today I feel the promise of the inauguration speech is coming through:
      We world citizens have a friend in the White House.

      & I hope the Russian Leaders will not find this image and skull to scary... ;-)

    7. Sumi-l 54 months ago | reply

      I heard that the paintings come alive at night.

    8. Unalienable Rights by GOD- not Executive Order 54 months ago | reply

      Where did the other 327 jobs go? In Valerie Jarrett's pocket?

      Super stimulus...saves more jobs than actually exist!

      Beware all ye who doubt the power of the super stimulus. The Associated Press documents the proof.

      President Barack Obama's economic recovery program saved 935 jobs at the Southwest Georgia Community Action Council, an impressive success story for the stimulus plan. Trouble is, only 508 people work there.

    9. Unalienable Rights by GOD- not Executive Order 54 months ago | reply

      Seniors have been betrayed by AARP bribed by Obamacare.
      JOIN ASA instead, they are with you...

      www.americanseniors.org/pages/PressOnMedia.aspx?Images=/i...

    10. Been Buddy Longway 54 months ago | reply

      @Sumi-L: hahahaha - lol! Well said, my American Flickr Friend ;-)

    11. DamageInk 54 months ago | reply

      I like the photo, and am a huge supporter of the president. But you do need to realize that photos of the Whitehouse, or the first family by official photographers are public domain, and anyone may do whatever they like with the images. Hence the concept of public domain. Nice try, but fail on understanding the 'public' part of that. I hope no one does. Honestly. You just can't say you have a right to change how it's licensed. Not a lawyer, just an hobbyist photographer. But check with WH legal if you doubt me.

    12. jdog1063 54 months ago | reply

      A photo depicting how the effects of Obamacare on the public can turn even a "dark blue" room in the White House much more red!

    13. hellojasmeen [deleted] 54 months ago | reply

      i love this!

    14. jAmisht [deleted] 54 months ago | reply

      Wow, that doesn't look like a celebration of death at all.....

    15. Unalienable Rights by GOD- not Executive Order 54 months ago | reply

      Michelle Antonietta

      Total Personal Staff members for other first ladies paid by taxpayers:

      Mamie Eisenhower : 1 paid for personally out of President's salary

      Jackie Kennedy: 1

      Roseline Carter: 1

      Barbara Bush: 1

      Hilary Clinton: 3

      Laura Bush: 1

      Michele Obama: 22

      How things have changed! If you're one of the tens of millions of Americans facing certain destitution, earning less than subsistence wages stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart or serving up McDonald cheeseburgers, prepare to scream and then come to realize that the benefit package for these servants of Ms Michelle are the same as members of the national security and defense departments and the bill for these assorted lackeys is paid by YOU, John Q. Public:

      Michele Obama's personal staff:
      1. $172,200 - Sher, Susan (Chief Of Staff)
      2. $140,000 - Frye, Jocelyn C. (Dep Asst to President and Dir of Policy And Projects for First Lady)
      3. $113,000 - Rogers, Desiree G. (Spec Asst to the President and WH Social Sec for Mrs. Obama)
      4. $102,000 - Johnston, Camille Y. (Spec Asst to President and Dir of Communications for First Lady)
      5. $100,000 - Winter, Melissa E. (Spec Asst to President and Dep Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)
      6. $90,000 - Medina , David S. (Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)
      7. $84,000 - Lel yveld, Catherine M. (Director and Press Secretary to the First Lady)
      8.. $75,000 - Starkey, Frances M. (Director of Scheduling and Advance for the First Lady)
      9. $70,000 - Sanders, Trooper (Deputy Director of Policy and Projects for the First Lady)
      10. $65,000 - Burnough, Erinn J. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)
      11. $64,000 - Reinstein, Joseph B. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)
      12. $62,000 - Goodman, Jennifer R. (Dep Director of Scheduling & Events Coord For The First Lady)
      13. $60,000 - Fitts, Alan O. (Deputy Director of Advance and Trip Director for the First Lady)
      14. $57,500 - Lewis, Dana M. (Special Assistant and Personal Aide to the First Lady)
      15. $52,500 - Mustaphi, Semonti M. (Assoc Dir and Dep Press Secretary To The First Lady)
      16. $50,000 - Jarvis, Kristen E. (Spec Asst for Scheduling and Traveling Aide To The First Lady)
      17. $45,000 - Lechtenberg, Tyler A. (Associate Director of Correspondence For The First Lady)
      18. $43,000 - Tubman, Samanth a (Deputy Associate Director, Social Office)
      19. $40,000 - Boswell, Joseph J. (Executive Assistant to the Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)
      20. $36,000 - Armbruster, Sally M. (Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary)
      21. $35,000 - Bookey, Natalie (Staff Assistant)
      22. $35,000 - Jackson, Deilia A. (Dep Assoc Dir of Correspondence for the First Lady)
      (total = $1,591,200 in annual salaries)

      There has NEVER been anyone in the White House at any time who has created such an army of staffers whose sole duties are the facilitation of the First Lady's social life. One wonders why she needs so much help, at taxpayer expense.

    16. {}+*^ [deleted] 54 months ago | reply

      I don't know where some people get their sources and if those sources are reputable but here's a link to the Fact Check Annenburg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania . The following three paragraphs are noteworthy:

      www.factcheck.org/2009/08/michelle-obamas-staff/

      The chain e-mail’s author claims that "[t]here has never been anyone in the White House at any time that has created such an army of staffers whose sole duties are the facilitation of the First Lady’s social life." The author claims that "even Hillary, only had three; Jackie Kennedy one; Laura Bush one." But the counts for those first ladies are incorrect – and they’re way off.

      The combined annual salaries for the 22 staffers we can specifically identify as working for Michelle Obama come to $1.6 million. For the 18 we could identify as working for Laura Bush in 2008, the total is $1.4 million.

      Dr. Myra Gutin, a professor of communications at Rider University and a first ladies historian, says that the first lady’s role has certainly "grown and evolved" since the 1960s, but generally speaking, the first lady’s "staff numbers about 14-16." Gutin told us she recalled "some first ladies have had staffs of more than that."

      –D’Angelo Gore

      Michelle Obama’s Staff
      Bookmark and Share

      Q: Does First Lady Michelle Obama have an "unprecedented" number of staffers

      A: A spokeswoman for the first lady says that Michelle Obama currently has a staff of 24. That may indeed be the largest of any first lady, but Hillary Clinton, with 19 staffers, and Laura Bush with at least 18 and perhaps more, weren’t far behind.

      FULL QUESTION:

      Is this accurate? And how does it compare to prior first ladies’ staffs?

      First Lady Requires More Than Twenty Attendants

      ⬐ Click to expand/collapse the full text ⬏
      Recession, Depression, What, Michelle Worry?

      July 7, 2009

      Dr. Paul L. Williams

      "In my own life, in my own small way, I have tried to give back to this country that has given me so much," she said. "See, that’s why I left a job at a big law firm for a career in public service, " Michelle Obama.

      No, Michele Obama does not get paid to serve as the First Lady and she doesn’t perform any official duties. But this hasn’t deterred her from hiring an unprecedented number of staffers to cater to her every whim and to satisfy her every request in the midst of the Great Recession. Just think Mary Lincoln was taken to task for purchasing china for the White House during the Civil War. And Mamie Eisenhower had to shell out the salary for her personal secretary.

      How things have changed! If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans facing certain destitution, earning less than subsistence wages stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart or serving up McDonald cheeseburgers, prepare to scream and then come to realize that the benefit package for these servants of Miz Michelle are the same as members of the national security and defense departments and the bill for these assorted lackeys is paid by John Q. Public:

      1. $172,2000 - Sher, Susan (Chief Of Staff)

      2. $140,000 - Frye, Jocelyn C. (Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy And Projects For The First Lady)

      3. $113,000 - Rogers, Desiree G. (Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary)

      4. $102,000 - Johnston, Camille Y. (Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady)

      5. Winter, Melissa E. (Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

      6. $90,000 - Medina, David S. (Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

      7. $84,000 - Lelyveld, Catherine M. (Director and Press Secretary to the First Lady)

      8. $75,000 - Starkey, Frances M. (Director of Scheduling and Advance for the First Lady)

      9. $70,000 - Sanders, Trooper (Deputy Director of Policy and Projects for the First Lady)

      10. $65,000 - Burnough, Erinn J. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)

      11. Reinstein, Joseph B. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)

      12. $62,000 - Goodman, Jennifer R. (Deputy Director of Scheduling and Events Coordinator For The First Lady)

      13. $60,000 - Fitts, Alan O. (Deputy Director of Advance and Trip Director for the First Lady)

      14. Lewis, Dana M. (Special Assistant and Personal Aide to the First Lady)

      15. $52,500 - Mustaphi, Semonti M. (Associate Director and Deputy Press Secretary To The First Lady)

      16. $50,000 - Jarvis, Kristen E. (Special Assistant for Scheduling and Traveling Aide To The First Lady)

      17. $45,000 - Lechtenberg, Tyler A. (Associate Director of Correspondence For The First Lady)

      18. Tubman, Samantha (Deputy Associate Director, Social Office)

      19. $40,000 - Boswell, Joseph J. (Executive Assistant to the Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

      20. $36,000 - Armbruster, Sally M. (Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary)

      21. Bookey, Natalie (Staff Assistant)

      22. Jackson, Deilia A. (Deputy Associate Director of Correspondence for the First Lady)

      There has never been anyone in the White House at any time that has created such an army of staffers whose sole duties are the facilitation of the First Lady’s social life. One wonders why she needs so much help, at taxpayer expense, when even Hillary, only had three; Jackie Kennedy one; Laura Bush one; and prior to Mamie Eisenhower social help came from the President’s own pocket.

      Note: This does not include makeup artist Ingrid Grimes-Miles, 49, and "First Hairstylist" Johnny Wright, 31, both of whom travelled aboard Air Force One to Europe.

      FULL ANSWER:

      The White House published the 2009 Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff on its official blog on July 1, listing the title and salary of many White House office employees. A few days later, a fuss began online over the number of people who are assigned to work for the Office of First Lady and how much they earn per year.

      A blog post from Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet on July 6 put the spotlight on "What Michelle Obama’s Staffers Earn." The staff of TheLastCrusade.org, a Web site that describes itself as a place "where you can engage in the life and death struggle against the forces of Islam, apostasy, moral complacency, cultural relativity, and the New World Order," then took the information and posted a piece claiming that the first lady had hired an "unprecedented number of staffers" to "cater to her every whim and to satisfy her every request in the midst of the Great Recession." That piece was also posted on the conservative Web site CanadaFreePress.com under the byline of Dr. Paul L. Williams, who runs TheLastCrusade.org. That post has become part of a chain e-mail that some of our readers have passed on to us, and the e-mail expands upon Williams’ post, falsely claiming that some recent first ladies have had only one or three staffers.

      How Many?

      According to the 2009 White House report to Congress, there are 16 people with a title specifically indicating they work for Michelle Obama’s office. In other words, there are 16 people with "first lady" somewhere in their title, such as Jocelyn Frye, deputy assistant to the president and director of policy and projects for the first lady.

      The list reported by Sweet and The Last Crusade, however, includes six other staffers who do not have "first lady" in their title but are a part of the first lady’s office staff, such as Desiree Rogers, special assistant to the president and White House social secretary, and Natalie Bookey, staff assistant.

      We contacted Katie McCormick Lelyveld, Michelle Obama’s press secretary, to check the list’s accuracy. Lelyveld told us in an e-mail that the first lady’s current staff size is actually 24, not 22, as the chain e-mail claims. Lelyveld couldn’t provide a list of the staffers at that time.

      First Ladies Past

      The chain e-mail’s author claims that "[t]here has never been anyone in the White House at any time that has created such an army of staffers whose sole duties are the facilitation of the First Lady’s social life." The author claims that "even Hillary, only had three; Jackie Kennedy one; Laura Bush one." But the counts for those first ladies are incorrect – and they’re way off.

      Stephen Plotkin, reference archivist for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, told us in an e-mail that Jacqueline Kennedy’s office was "headed" by one person, but said that there were "at least 9 people working for Mrs. Kennedy, with the promise of a great many more" during her time at the White House.

      Kim Coryat, an archives technician at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, told us it can be difficult to nail down a precise count of staff considering "White House staffing for all offices ebbs and flows with time." But she said in an e-mail that White House telephone directory records indicate that Hillary Clinton had at least a staff of 13 as of October 1993; 18 as of April 1997; and 19 as of March 2000.

      Lelyveld said that Michelle Obama’s staff was actually no different than that of her predecessor, Laura Bush. "[W]e have exactly the same staff number as Mrs. Bush and our office organization reflects a similar staffing model, so insinuations otherwise are wrong," she said. Lelyveld said that the White House’s "personnel records indicate" that there were 24 staffers for Laura Bush at some point. We were able to verify at least 18 staffers for Laura Bush, as of June 30, 2008, via the 2008 White House staff list published in The Washington Post’s White House Watch column. Sixteen people were specifically referred to as a "first lady" staffer, and Amy Zantzinger and Dorothy Thornton served as White House social secretary and deputy social secretary, respectively. It’s possible that someone with the title of "staff assistant" was assigned to the Office of First Lady as well, as is the case with Michelle Obama’s staff.

      The combined annual salaries for the 22 staffers we can specifically identify as working for Michelle Obama come to $1.6 million. For the 18 we could identify as working for Laura Bush in 2008, the total is $1.4 million.

      Dr. Myra Gutin, a professor of communications at Rider University and a first ladies historian, says that the first lady’s role has certainly "grown and evolved" since the 1960s, but generally speaking, the first lady’s "staff numbers about 14-16." Gutin told us she recalled "some first ladies have had staffs of more than that."

      –D’Angelo Gore

      Sources

      Executive Office of the President. "Annual Report on White House Staff to Congress." WhiteHouse.gov. 1 Jul 2009, accessed 30 Jul 2009.

      Sweet, Lynn. "What Michelle Obama’s Staffers Earn." PoliticsDaily.com. 6 Jul 2009, accessed 30 Jul 2009.

      Sweet, Lynn. "More Michelle Obama staff appointments." SunTimes.com. 16 Jan 2009, accessed 30 Jul 2009.

      "First Lady Requires More than 20 Attendants." TheLastCrusade.org. 6 Jul 2009, accessed 30 Jul 2009.

      Froomkin, Dan. "2008 White House Office Staff List." Washington Post White House Watch Column. 24 Jul 2008, accessed 30 Jul 2009.

      Gutin, Myra. E-mail sent to FactCheck.org. 30 Jul 2009.

      Plotkin, Stephen. E-mail sent to FactCheck.org. 31 Jul 2009.

      Coryat, Kim. E-mail sent to FactCheck.org. 31 Jul 2009.

    17. Lou F. 54 months ago | reply

      Excellent halloween colors!

    18. bluheron 54 months ago | reply

      Great photo Pete! The colors are excellent and I love the lighting on the wall behind the decorations!

    19. JuneMitaPhotography 54 months ago | reply

      I am tickled to see that the Obamas are trying to keep their Washington home somewhat normal for their kids. I hope that their two daughters beat the odds and don't grow up to be totally unhinged because of their white house years. This is a marvelous homy shot that shows family is just as important to the residents of the White House as the importance of the American people.

    20. viagra kaufen 42 months ago | reply

      An incredible Capture!

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