Bush White House Empties Out Today

Staffers wistful as all traces of them get wiped away
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Jan 16, 2009 12:06 PM CST
President Bill Clinton poses for photographers January 18, 2001 after delivering his farewell address to the nation.    (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – By the close of business today, the White House will be almost empty of staff, reports Politico. By Monday, there will be no physical trace of the Bush administration left in the building, as if 8 years of history could be unwritten by the crew of cleaners and painters. Says Dan Bartlett, a former presidential counselor, “In many respects it’s pretty identical to the early days, but there’s no exhilaration, just exhaustion.”

Wistfulness characterizes most administrations’ endings, though this one has been fraught by the financial crisis and the showdown in Gaza. The Clintons' exit was jubilant, as the laughing and smiling first couple, serenaded by a pianist from the presidential Marine band playing “It Had to Be You,” hugged everyone and said goodbye. Still, what one speechwriter remembers is exiting the turnstile for the last time. “It was a very solid, pronounced click.”