Obama Defiles Oval Office with Shirt!

Barack Obama has already lowered the standards of the presidency, CNN Political Ticker reports.

It’s the same Oval Office. The same desk. Even the same curtains. But President Obama has already made one major change: Go through eight years of White House photos, and you won’t find one of former President Bush in the Oval Office without his jacket on.

It wasn’t just a personal preference. In the Bush administration, it was a rule: Jackets in the Oval Office — and now, it seems, one of the first Bush-era regulations to get scrapped in the Obama White House.

The “jacket at all times to respect the dignity of the Oval Office” was apparently one of Ronald Reagan’s rules that Bush adopted in the post-Clinton era to “set the right tone.” As symbolism goes, it’s not bad. It’s similar to the football coach who requires that players keep their helmets on, even while standing on the sidelines, to “keep their heads in the game.”

At the same time, there’s nothing magic about a jacket. I type this sitting dressed much as Obama is (my shirt’s light blue and my tie’s red with blue stripes, if you must know – both Brooks Brothers); I hang my suit jacket up upon arriving at the office, donning it only for important meetings. If Team Obama can be more effective by being a bit more comfortable, more power to them.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Obama defiles the Oval Office on his 1st day: http://tinyurl.com/7vvh2x

  2. caj says:

    What’s the big deal, he’s not wearing a jacket and that means what exactly?
    This man has a totally different style to Bush and that is his choice to wear what he likes…he is not living in Bush’s shadow.
    Looks to me as if he is getting down to some serious business for this country and that’s all I’m concerned about.

  3. Dutchgirl says:

    While W might always have worn a jacket in the oval office, he spent plenty of time (and took lots of pictures) looking less presidential while jogging, biking, golfing, and clearing brush. Really, not so difficult a rule to follow for the man who took the most vacation time as president ever. I hope Obama puts in more work hours, jacket or no.

  4. Steve Verdon says:

    Good God.

    Where is Triumph when we need him?

  5. Franklin says:

    I work at a company where shorts are normal summer apparel, so it seems to me that Obama is overdressed.

  6. tom p says:

    Good God.

    Where is Triumph when we need him?

    Either putting on his jacket to show solidarity with W or gettin’ nekkid to show that anything O can do, he can do better!

  7. Drew says:

    I’m smirking……….

    I went through my phase where I loved the Brooks Bros suits, the Hermes ties (yecch!!) and Allen Bros shoes. Sigh….that was then……

    I look at myself as I compose this post. Levi’s (3 days old, I have to be honest), Polo shirt, and very casual shoes. Boy, do I have it good.

    I respect the approach Reagan and Bush II took because of the office. I really do. But I look at my Bohemian personal approach of the last 6-7 years, and I’m thinking I might actually like this guy.

    Maybe……the style stuff at least……….

  8. Drew says:

    Ooops. Allen Edmonds. Great shoes, by the way. But I have not donned one in 8-9 years.

  9. James Joyner says:

    I went through my phase where I loved the Brooks Bros suits, the Hermes ties (yecch!!) and Allen Bros shoes. Sigh….that was then……

    I’ve just got the one Brooks suit, preferring Joseph Abboud. DC’s a suit town, so jeans and polos aren’t acceptable office attire in most industries. Then again, I wore suits as a college prof when most of my colleagues were in jeans and chinos.

    I have a couple pairs of Allen Edmonds myself. (Allen Bros, of course, sells overpriced frozen steaks.)

  10. sam says:

    Y’all just wait to you see him with his shirt sleeves rolled up.

  11. anjin-san says:

    Picked up an Abboud suit at Nordstrom the other day for 50% off. Prefer Hickey, but they never put basics on sale. Apparently Obama favors Hickey, but his pockets are a bit deeper than mine…

  12. Jim says:

    Well, let’s not forget that Clinton also removed his pants in this office… I personally think I would wear a jacket at all times. Then again, I think about Clinton, buck a$$ naked…

  13. Joe R. says:

    Good God.

    Where is Triumph when we need him?

    I apparently am the only one who’s grateful when he’s absent. That shtick is only occasionally funny when professionals like Colbert do it; in the hands of an amateur it’s unbearable on the order of the Star Wars Christmas Special. Or Boxing Helena.

  14. Sam Sizer says:

    Such a scandal! Inform the media! Impeach the man! He’s not wearing a jacket!

  15. Russell says:

    The jacket inside the oval office is a symbol of respect not only for the Nation but for the Nation’s people. I consider this a slap to the face. To look professional at all times in what would seem the most professional office is just proper. The president is not supposed to be comfortable, he is to be responsible at all times ESPECIALLY in the Oval Office.

  16. Doc Rock says:


    Ya gotta love it!

  17. Doc Rock says: