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Video: Moving Day

  1. Transcript of: Moving Day

    MATT LAUER, co-host (Washington, DC): All right, Meredith , thank you very much . All the things you're going to be seeing today as a part of this inaugural , all the pomp and circumstance , there's only actually one thing that's required by the Constitution , and that is that Barack Obama take the oath of office . So raise your right hand, put your left hand on the formica here. It says

    this: "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States ." And most then add, "So help me, God." And with those words , history will be made today.

    VIEIRA: But the "So help me, God" is an addition that most presidents add, some don't?

    LAUER: I think most do.

    VIEIRA: Yeah.

    LAUER: And by all indication it's probably likely that Barack Obama will add those as well, and it will be extraordinary to watch.

    VIEIRA: Yeah.

    MATT LAUER, co-host (Washington, DC): Inauguration Day , of course, means moving day over at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue . The Bushes are shipping out, the Obamas are on their way in. So how do they get all the boxes and furniture in and out on time? NBC 's John Yang is at the White House . John , good morning to you.

    JOHN YANG reporting: Good morning, Matt. It's not just Barack Obama assuming the presidency, it's the Obama family today moving into a new house. Moving day .

    Offscreen Voice #1: Where do we want the dresser?

    YANG: It's never easy, but what if the new house is a 208-year-old mansion, you've got other things to attend to...

    President GEORGE W. BUSH: I, George Walker Bush...

    Offscreen Voice #2: Do solemnly swear...

    Pres. BUSH: ...do solemnly swear...

    YANG: ...the old residents won't move out until the last minute and the whole thing has to be done in just a few hours?

    Mr. GARY WALTERS (Former White House Chief Usher): At that point, you have what amounts to chaos begins with the staff.

    YANG: Retired White House chief usher Gary Walters saw seven first families come and go, from the Nixons to the current occupants.

    Mr. WALTERS: We have packers, we have unpackers. We have movers, we have removers. We have people that put things on trucks, people that take things off of trucks. I mean, it's like a choreography, it really is, because you have a limited elevator space.

    YANG: Others on the 100-member White House residence staff will be busy, too: cooks getting the Obamas ' first meal ready, florists making arrangements for the first night in their new home. In a period of about six hours, during the pomp of the inaugural ceremonies at the Capitol and the parade up Pennsylvania Avenue , the Bushes will be moved out and the Obamas moved in. Fred Olive served seven first families, from the Johnsons to the Clintons . Everything out...

    Mr. FRED OLIVE: Everything out.

    YANG: ...everything in.

    Mr. OLIVE: Everything in.

    YANG: And by 2:00...

    Mr. OLIVE: It should be ready.

    YANG: No packing boxes.

    Mr. OLIVE: No.

    YANG: Nothing -- everything in place.

    Mr. OLIVE: That's right .

    YANG: In the 33-room private residence , beds made and furniture, most of it government property, placed where the Obamas want it. Their clothes unpacked and put away. The Oval Office is completely changed over, the new president picking a desk and rug from among those used in the past. Laura Bush began preparing last summer before anyone knew who the new occupants would be.

    Mr. ANITA McBRIDE: She did give also a very clear direction to the residence staff to clean the house from top to bottom, to have everything spick-and-span and ready for a new first family.

    YANG: The Obamas have a $100,000 allowance to make whatever changes they want, especially for the newest member of the family.

    President-elect BARACK OBAMA: You have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House .

    Ms. McBRIDE: First and foremost, too, it is a home for the family, and the staff here knows how to manage a new puppy. The first family and the residence staff work together to manage breaking in a new little pet.

    YANG: Barack Obama 's already given instructions about the Oval Office , the way he wants it to look when he returns. There's not much changed. He's going to keep the same desk that President Bush is using, and he's going to keep the rug that was specially designed by Laura Bush . Matt :

    LAUER: All right, John Yang at a busy place this morning, the White House . John , thanks very much.


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