Obama gets the bill for White House Thanksgiving

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Obama gets the bill for White House Thanksgiving
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: U.S. President Barack Obama (C) is flanked by his daughters Sasha (2ndR), Malia (R), Cole Cooper (L) and his father National Turkey Federation Chairman Gary Cooper (2ndL) before he pardoned 'Cheese' and his alternate Mac (not shown,) both 20-week old 48-pound Turkeys, as his daughters Sasha (3rd R), Malia (R) and Cole Cooper (L) and his father National Turkey Federation Chairman Gary Cooper (2nd L) during a ceremony at the White House November 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Presidential pardon of a turkey has been a long time Thanksgiving tradition that dates back to the Harry Truman administration.(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
It's a presidential tradition to "pardon" a turkey on the eve of every Thanksgiving -- and now we know where the lucky birds go to retire.
Congrats #TeamCheese. President Obama just announced that your bird is the 2014 National #Thanksgiving Turkey! http://t.co/vcdjMDpsnR
The National Thanksgiving Turkey 'Cheese' is seen during the annual ceremony in front of US President Barack Obama and daughter Sasha, in the Grand Foyer of the White House on November 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks as his daughters Sasha (L) and Malia (R) look on after pardoning 'Cheese' and his alternate Mac both, 20-week old 48-pound Turkeys, during a ceremony at the White House November 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Presidential pardon of a turkey has been a long time Thanksgiving tradition that dates back to the Harry Truman administration.(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: Malia Obama listens to her father U.S. President Barack Obama speak before pardoning 'Cheese' and his alternate Mac both, 20-week old 48-pound during a ceremony at the White House November 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Presidential pardon of a turkey has been a long time Thanksgiving tradition that dates back to the Harry Truman administration.(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) stands with his daughters Sasha (L) and Malia after he pardoned 'Cheese' and his alternate Mac both, 20-week old 48-pound Turkeys, during a ceremony at the White House November 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Presidential pardon of a turkey has been a long time Thanksgiving tradition that dates back to the Harry Truman administration.(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
A turkey named "Cheese" is prepared for his presidential pardon as part of the annual Thanksgiving tradition, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama, joined by his daughters Malia, right, and Sasha, center, speaks at the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, during the presidential turkey pardon ceremony, an annual Thanksgiving tradition. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama waves with his daughter Sasha, right, as "Cheese" the turkey is carried away by Cole Cooper, at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, after giving a presidential pardon to "Cheese" as part of the annual Thanksgiving tradition. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama is seen reflected in the polished floor of the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington as he carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon", Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014 in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd R) stands after he pardoned 'Cheese' and his alternate Mac (not shown,) both 20-week old 48-pound Turkeys, as his daughters Sasha (2nd R), Malia (R) and Cole Cooper (L) and his father National Turkey Federation Chairman Gary Cooper (2nd L) during a ceremony at the White House November 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Presidential pardon of a turkey has been a long time Thanksgiving tradition that dates back to the Harry Truman administration.(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon" of 'Cheese' the turkey in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
US President Barack Obama pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey 'Cheese' during the annual ceremony in the Grand Foyer of the White House on November 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. From left: Cole Cooper, who raised the turkey, his father National Turkey Federation Chairman Gary Cooper, Sasha Obama, and Malia Obama, the daughters of US President Barack Obama. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks before pardoning the National Thanksgiving Turkey 'Cheese' during the annual ceremony in the Grand Foyer of the White House on November 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Popcorn, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, from Badger, Minn., stands on the North Portico at the White House in Washington, before being pardoned by President Barack Obama, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013. This is the 66th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation by the President. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha, second from left, and Malia, right, carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving Popcorn the turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, as John Burkel, current chairman of the National Turkey Federation in Badger, Minn, stands left. After the pardoning, Popcorn travels to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens and will be on display for visitors during "Christmas at Mount Vernon." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama waves after carrying out the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," at the White House on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 in Washington. After the pardoning, Popcorn travels to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens where he will be on display for visitors during "Christmas at Mount Vernon." (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Popcorn, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, from Badger, Minn., stands on the North Portico at the White House in Washington, before being pardoned by President Barack Obama, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013. This is the 66th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation by the President. After the pardoning, Popcorn travels to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens where they will be on display for visitors during "Christmas at Mount Vernon." (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama waves after he pardoned Popcorn, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, from Badger, Minn., left, on the North Portico at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013. Daughter Sasha Obama is at right. This is the 66th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation by the President. After the pardoning, Popcorn travels to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens where they will be on display for visitors during "Christmas at Mount Vernon." (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving Popcorn the turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," at the White House on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 in Washington. After the pardoning, Popcorn travels to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens where and be on display for visitors during "Christmas at Mount Vernon." (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
President Barack Obama looks to his daughter Malia as he carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving Popcorn the turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013. After the pardoning, Popcorn travels to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens where they will be on display for visitors during "Christmas at Mount Vernon." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha, second from left, and Malia, right, carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving the national turkey, Popcorn, from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, as John Burkel, current chairman of the National Turkey Federation in Badger, Minn, stands left. After the pardoning, Popcorn travels to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens where they will be on display for visitors during "Christmas at Mount Vernon." (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Turkeys Clyde and Henrietta strut around the front lawn of the Governor's Mansion in Montgomery, Ala., Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. Gov. Robert Bentley issued a Thanksgiving pardon for the birds. It was the first time the ceremony was held without South Alabama turkey grower Bill Bates who died in August. Bates began the tradition of giving a Thanksgiving turkey to the Alabama governor 65 years ago. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Clyde the turkey struts around the front lawn of the Governor's Mansion in Montgomery, Ala., Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. Gov. Robert Bentley issued a Thanksgiving pardon for the bird. It was the first time the ceremony was held without South Alabama turkey grower Bill Bates who died in August. Bates began the tradition of giving a Thanksgiving turkey to the Alabama governor 65 years ago. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
President Barack Obama walks with daughters Sasha and Malia as they return to the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 21,2 012, after he pardoned Cobbler a 19-week old, 40-pound turkey, on the occasion of Thanksgiving, in the Rose Garden. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Sasha Obama, right, pets Cobbler a 19-week old, 40-pound turkey, as he is pardoned by President Barack Obama on the occasion of Thanksgiving, Wednesday, 21, 2012, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. At left is National Turkey Federation Chairman Steven Willardsen. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Clyde the turkey struts around the front lawn of the Governor's Mansion in Montgomery, Ala., Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. Gov. Robert Bentley issued a Thanksgiving pardon for the bird. It was the first time the ceremony was held without South Alabama turkey grower Bill Bates who died in August. Bates began the tradition of giving a Thanksgiving turkey to the Alabama governor 65 years ago. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
President Barack Obama, with daughter Sasha, carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. After the ceremony, "Cobbler" will head to George Washington's historic home in Virginia to be part of the “Christmas at Mount Vernon” exhibition. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: At two feet tall and about 38 pounds, two full-grown Broad Breasted White domesticated turkeys are paraded before members of the news media in the Crystal Ballroom of the Willard InterContinental November 26, 2013 in Washington, DC. The birds were raised by the National Turkey Federation Chairman John Burkel of Badger, Minnesota, and one of the turkeys will be pardoned Wednesday by U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: At two feet tall and about 38 pounds, two full-grown Broad Breasted White domesticated turkeys are paraded before members of the news media in the Crystal Ballroom of the Willard InterContinental November 26, 2013 in Washington, DC. The birds were raised by the National Turkey Federation Chairman John Burkel of Badger, Minnesota, and one of the turkeys will be pardoned Wednesday by U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 27: President Barack Obama with his daughters by his side, Sasha and malia, ceremoniously pardonPopcorn the turkey during the annual 2013 National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning Ceremony on the north portico of the White House on Wednesday, November 27, 2013. The turkey, and turkey alternate, will be driven to George Washingtons Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. And will be on display for visitors during Christmas at Mount Vernon, through January 6. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 21: Cobbler, the 2012 National Thanksgiving Turkey, is seen during a Rose Garden turkey pardon event November 21, 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. After pardoned by President Barack Obama, Cobbler and its companion Gobbler will spend the rest of their lives at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens in Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 21: U.S. President Barack Obama hands out food to the needy for Thanksgiving at the Capitol Area Food Bank on November 21, 2012 in Washington, DC. President Obama also marked the Thanksgiving holiday today with the traditional Thanksgiving turkey pardon at the White House. (Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images)
Malia Obama (R) greets guests after the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon November 21, 2012 at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. Obama pardoned Cobbler and its alternate Gobbler, both raised in Rockingham County, Virginia. The turkeys will then spend the rest of the holiday season on display at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama applauds while National Turkey Federation Chairman Steve Willardsen holds the turkey named Cobbler during the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon on November 21 , 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. Obama pardoned Cobbler and its alternate Gobbler, both raised in Rockingham County, Virginia. The turkeys will then spend the rest of the holiday season on display at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 23: U.S. President Barack Obama, flanked by his daughters Malia (L) and Sasha (R), arrives for the pardoning of the turkey named 'Liberty' at the North Portico of the White House November 23, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Presidential pardon of a turkey has been a long time Thanksgiving tradition that dates back to the Harry Truman administration. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 21: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) approaches the 2012 National Thanksgiving Turkey Cobbler as National Turkey Federation Chairman Steve Willardsen (2nd L) and handler Bob Evans (L) hold the turkey during a Rose Garden turkey pardon event November 21, 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. Cobbler and its companion Gobbler will spend the rest of their lives at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens in Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama laughs with his daughters Sasha (C) and Malia in the Rose Garden of the White House during the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon November 21, 2012 in Washington, DC, with the turkey Cobbler. Obama pardoned turkeys Cobbler and Gobbler, both raised in Rockingham County, Virginia. The turkeys will then spend the rest of the holiday season on display at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. The turkeys were raised by Craig and Nancy Miller in Rockingham County, Virginia. AFP Photo/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha (R) arrive for the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon November 21 , 2012 at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. Obama pardoned Cobbler and its alternate Gobbler, both raised in Rockingham County, Virginia. The turkeys will then spend the rest of the holiday season on display at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Cobbler is seen before being pardoned by US President Barack Obama before the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon on November 21 , 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. Obama pardoned Cobbler and its alternate Gobbler, both raised in Rockingham County, Virginia. The turkeys will then spend the rest of the holiday season on display at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama greet guests as his daughter Malia looks on after the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon November 21 , 2012 at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. Obama pardoned Cobbler and its alternate Gobbler, both raised in Rockingham County, Virginia. The turkeys will then spend the rest of the holiday season on display at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (2nd L) pets Cobbler with his daughters Sasha (2nd R) and Malia (R) in the Rose Garden of the White House during the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon November 21, 2012 in Washington, DC, with National Turkey Federation Chairman Steve Willardsen (L). Obama pardoned turkeys Cobbler and Gobbler, both raised in Rockingham County, Virginia. The turkeys will then spend the rest of the holiday season on display at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. The turkeys were raised by Craig and Nancy Miller in Rockingham County, Virginia. AFP Photo/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (3rd-R) pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey in a ceremony in the North Portico of the White House in Washington, DC, November 23, 2011 with his daughters Sasha (2nd-R) and Malia (R) as Chairman of the National Turkey Federation Richard Huisinga (3rd-L) holding the 45-pound (17kg) bird named 'Liberty'. Each Thanksgiving, the President 'pardons' a hand-selected turkey, sparing the bird from someone's dinner table and ensuring the rest of its days are spent roaming on a farm or petting zoo. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 23: Sasha Obama pets a turkey named 'Liberty' after her father, U.S. President Barack Obama pardoned it at the White House November 23, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Presidential pardon of a turkey has been a long time Thanksgiving tradition that dates back to the Harry Truman administration. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama smiles at his daughters Malia (L) and Sasha during the annual pardon of the Thanksgiving Turkey November 24, 2010 in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 23: U.S. President Barack Obama is flanked by his daughters Sasha (C), Malia (2nd-R), and National Turkey Federation Chairman Richard Huisinga (L) as he pardons 'Liberty', a 19-week old, 45-pound turkey at the North Portico of the White House November 23, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Presidential pardon of a turkey has been a long time Thanksgiving tradition that dates back to the Harry Truman administration. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks as his daughter Malia looks on during the annual pardon of the National Thanksgiving Turkey November 24, 2010 in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 25: Handlers keep a 20-week old and 45-pound turkey named 'Courage' moving in a limited area during a presidential pardon at the North Portico of the White House November 25, 2009 in Washington, DC. Presidential pardon of a turkey has been a long time Thanksgiving tradition that dates back the Harry Truman administration. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks as his daughters Malia (R) and Sasha (3rd R) look on during the annual pardon of the National Thanksgiving Turkey November 24, 2010 in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. Supervising 'Apple' the National Thanksgiving Turkey is National Turkey Federation Chairman Yubert Envia. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
The National Thanksgiving Turkey 'Cheese' is seen during the annual ceremony in front of US President Barack Obama and daughter Sasha, in the Grand Foyer of the White House on November 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey 'Cheese' during the annual ceremony in the Grand Foyer of the White House on November 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. From left: Cole Cooper, who raised the turkey, his father National Turkey Federation Chairman Gary Cooper, Sasha Obama, and Malia Obama, the daughters of US President Barack Obama. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON (AP) - There's no free lunch - or breakfast or dinner - for President Barack Obama on Thanksgiving Day. Or any other day for that matter.

He has to dig into his pocket to pay for his holiday feast of turkey, ham, two kinds of stuffing, sweet and regular potatoes, and six different kinds of pie. It's a longstanding practice that a president pays for meals for himself, his family and personal guests.

Obama also pays for other basics - everything from toothpaste to dry cleaning.

WHY IS THAT?

Gary Walters, who was chief White House usher for many years, said the payment rule dates back to 1800 when the White House was first occupied by President John Adams and there was no staff. Presidents brought staff with them and paid for everything.

Congress gradually began spending money to maintain an official White House staff to oversee operations and maintenance, but presidents continued to pay for personal expenses.

What it boils down to, Walters said, is that the White House is first and foremost the president's home.

"All those things that are personal in nature that we all pay for, the first family pays for," he said.

WHAT IS EXCLUDED?

White House chefs who prepare the president's meals are paid by the government.

For the budget year that ended Sept. 30, Congress gave the White House $19,000 to pay for official receptions and $12.7 million to cover operating expenses for the residence, which may include entertainment. The cost of meals for some White House events, including state dinners and receptions, is picked up by the State Department or political parties.

WHAT ELSE MUST THE FIRST FAMILY PAY FOR?

Since presidents and first ladies can't easily pop into the neighborhood drug store, a White House residence staff member will pick up things like toothpaste and deodorant during shopping runs and keep the bill for Obama.

Another cost is private parties, such as the 50th birthday bash Obama threw earlier this year for first lady Michelle Obama. For private events, presidents pay for food and beverages, use of waiters and servers, and setup and cleanup crews. Taxpayers are only supposed to pay for official government functions.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The White House usher's office prepares a detailed bill and sends a copy to the president and another to the first lady by mid-month. It is itemized to account for all the food and beverages consumed by the first family and personal guests, and includes invoices and receipts for those costs and other services.

Obama then reimburses the government.

"It's just the tradition that it's continued on through time that the president will pay for their own food and, I guess, if they needed something for the house that was personal. Toothpaste, cologne or whatever," said William Bushong, chief historian at the White House Historical Association.

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Presidents with Turkeys - Thanksgiving - Turkey pardons
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Obama gets the bill for White House Thanksgiving

Photograph of President Truman looking on as representatives of the turkey industry exhibit the Thanksgiving turkey they have presented to the President, outside the White House, 11/16/1949

(Flickr/US National Archives)

The President Receives Thanksgiving Turkey from Poultry and Egg National Board, Accompanied by Senator Everett M. Dirkson , 11/19/1963

(Flickr/US National Archives)

Turkey presentation for Thanksgiving, 11/18/1969

(Flickr/US National Archives)

President Richard Nixon on Thanksgiving Day, November 20, 1970, in Washington. (Photo by Keystone-France\Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Pat Nixon Receives the Annual Live Thanksgiving Turkey, 11/23/1971

(Flickr/US National Archives)

President Gerald R. Ford is Presented with a Thanksgiving Turkey by the National Turkey Federation, 11/20/1975

(Flickr/US National Archives)

Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation at the White House, 11/23/1982

(Flickr/US National Archives)

President Reagan Attending a Ceremony to Receive the 36th Annual Thanksgiving Turkey from Representatives of the National Turkey Federation on the South Lawn, 11/21/1983

(Flickr/US National Archives)

President Reagan attending ceremony to receive the 36th annual Thanksgiving Turkey from representatives of the National Turkey Federation on the South Lawn.

(Flickr/US National Archives)

White House Ceremony to Receive the 40th Thanksgiving Turkey, 11/23/1987

(Flickr/US National Archives)

U.S. President George H. Bush pets a turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 1990 in Washington as Wyatt Upchurch, president of the National Turkey Federation who presented the bird looks on. The Thanks giving turkey is given to a animal farm near Washington. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander)
Shannon Duffy, 8, Fairfax, Virginia, reaches out for the Thanksgiving turkey presented to President Bush, Friday, November 17, 1989 by the National Turkey Foundation. President and Mrs. Bush donated the turkey to a Children's petting farm in Virginia. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander)
President Clinton, along with, from left, handler Walter Gisiason, National Turkey Federation (NTF) Chairman Frank Gessell, obscured, and NTF Secretary Treasurer Jerry Jerome admire a 45-pound turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House Tuesday, Nov. 24, 1998, where the president, in a pre-Thanksgiving tradition, pardoned the bird. The turkey will be sent to the Frying Pan Park in Fairfax, Va. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
President Clinton, holding his nephew Tyler, 6, grants a "pardon" to a turkey named "Jerry," from Barron Wis., during the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation at White House, in Washington Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2000. Placing the turkey on the table is Nickolas Feidt, the man who raised it. Standing in the background, from left, are Stuart Proctor, Jr., and Jerry Jerome, chairman of the National Turkey Federation. Clinton's action in the Rose Garden spared the bird, so he won't become someone's meal. It will instead go to a petting zoo in Herndon, Va. (AP Photo/Kenneth Lambert)
President Bush pets "Liberty" the turkey as he participates in the annual pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House Monday Nov. 19, 2001. At left is Jeff Radford, of Goldsboro Milling Co. in Goldsboro, N.C., and Stuart Proctor, president of National Turkey Federation,second from left. Liberty will spend the rest of his life at a petting farm in Herndon, Va. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
President Bush holds Biscuits the turkey by the neck as he participated in the pardoning of the national Thanksgiving turkey, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2004, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
President Bush, center, shows "Flyer" the National Thanksgiving turkey to girls from a local Girl Scout troop after after pardoning the turkey during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2006, in Washington. Holding the turkey is Lynn Nutt, left, from Springfield, Mo. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 27: President Barack Obama with his daughters by his side, Sasha and malia, ceremoniously pardon Popcorn the turkey during the annual 2013 National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning Ceremony on the north portico of the White House on Wednesday, November 27, 2013. The turkey, and turkey alternate, will be driven to George Washingtons Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. And will be on display for visitors during Christmas at Mount Vernon, through January 6. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: (L to R) U.S. President Barack Obama smiles at his his daughters Sasha and Malia after he pardoned 'Cheese' and his alternate Mac (not shown,) both 20-week old 48-pound Turkeys, during a ceremony at the White House November 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Presidential pardon of a turkey has been a long time Thanksgiving tradition that dates back to the Harry Truman administration.(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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HAS ANYONE EVER COMPLAINED ABOUT THIS?

The practice appeared to catch Nancy Reagan by surprise.

"Nobody had told us that the president and his wife are charged for every meal, as well as for such incidentals as dry cleaning, toothpaste and other toiletries," she said shortly after she and President Ronald Reagan moved into the White House in January 1981.

Laura Bush knew about it - she's the daughter-in-law of a president - but was still unprepared for some of the costs after becoming first lady in 2001.

"I was amazed by the sheer number of designer clothes that I was expected to buy, like the women before me, to meet the fashion expectations for a first lady," Mrs. Bush wrote in her memoir. "After our first year in the White House, our accountant said to George (W. Bush), 'It costs a lot to be president,' and he was referring mainly to my clothes."

She also paid "with our own money" for someone to blow-dry her hair most mornings "just so I could try to avoid a bad hair day."

WHAT IS OBAMA'S SALARY?

He gets $400,000 annually, plus a $50,000 allowance to help defray costs associated with carrying out his official duties.

WHAT ARE SOME OF OBAMA'S OTHER PERSONAL EXPENSES?

Mortgage on a home in Chicago, private-school tuition for his daughters.

WHAT ELSE DOES HE GET FOR FREE AT THE WHITE HOUSE?

Rent, utilities, transportation, security, medical care.

Earlier on AOL.com:

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