15 crazy perks of being president

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The 2016 election was among the nastiest in American history. The unprecedented general election — which came on the heels of a long, raucous and surprise-filled primary season — included accusations of election rigging, sexual abuse, corruption, lies, graft and even espionage.

And now it's over.

Election Day has come and gone, and on Jan. 20, 2017, President Obama will be shuffled out of the Oval Office. The new president will earn a salary of $400,000 a year, but presidential perks go far beyond a paycheck.

Here are some of the best benefits of being president:

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15 crazy perks of being president
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15 crazy perks of being president

1. You Fly High in Air Force One

The commander in chief flies in style, comfort and safety aboard a customized Boeing 747-200B. With 4,000 square feet of floor space, it has the sophisticated equipment necessary to serve as a command center. And since it can refuel midair, it can remain airborne as long as needed.

The plane's galleys can feed 100 people at a time, and the aircraft has the capacity to repel a wide range of attacks, including electromagnetic pulses. Air Force One costs about $200,000 an hour to operate, according to a CNN report.

2. You Take Off in Marine One

The greatest getaway vehicle in the world, Marine One is a super-specialized helicopter that goes wherever the president does. It is designed to rescue the president in the event of an emergency. Only four pilots from the vaunted Marine HMX-1 "Nighthawks" squadron are bestowed with the honor of flying the presidential super-chopper every year.

The helicopter can cruise at more than 150 mph and can operate if one of its engines fails. Marine One is armed with anti-missile systems and ballistic armor. Wherever it lands, a Marine salutes the president.

3. You Ride in 'The Beast'

"The Beast" is the nickname given to the presidential limousine, which President Obama described as "a Caddy, basically on a tank frame." Actually, it's a fleet of 12 identical vehicles the president uses when moving by car.

Bulletproof and bombproof, Fox News reports that a new Beast is being built for 2017, and each vehicle will cost an estimated $1 million to $1.5 million.

4. You Live in Cool Digs

Presidents always have lived well in the White House, which had running water in 1833, central heating in 1837 and an elevator in 1881. The White House was built for $232,272 in the 1790s, according to History.com. The White House Historical Association says the building has 132 rooms.

Contrary to popular belief, there are no secret passages or hidden escapes — none known to the public, at least. However, there is a well-known underground complex that includes a florist and bowling alley.

5. You Earn Post-Presidency Office and Travel Expenses

The General Services Administration is required to furnish former presidents with enough money to cover travel and business expenses. In 2016, Congress presented President Obama legislation that would have capped taxpayer spending on former presidents' office and travel expenses at $200,000 a year. The soon-to-be former president vetoed the bill.

6. You Pull in a Hefty Pension

Not only do presidents get cushy offices and free travel, they also receive a presidential pension — they were, after all, government employees. The Former Presidents Act sets into law what ex-presidents receive in compensation. All four living former presidents — Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — received annual pensions of $205,700 in 2016.

7. Your Own Country Home

Every president since Franklin Roosevelt has enjoyed his own retreat of solitude — Camp David. Located deep in Catoctin Mountain Park in Frederick County, Md., the camp serves as the president's country home.

Although it is charming, it's not exactly rustic. Amenities include a full gym, swimming pool, executive board rooms and an aircraft hangar. According to the book "The $1.4 Billion Man: Costs of the Obama White House," every night the president spends at Camp David costs $711,000.

8. Hired Help Is Always Around to Serve You

The White House is home to nearly 100 permanent residence staffers. The private army of servants includes maids, cooks, butlers and a head housekeeper. But it doesn't stop there. Among the other permanent staffers on the payroll are full-time plumbers, valets, groundskeepers, engineers and florists.

9. A Top-Notch Security Detail Watches Over You

When you see the president, you might notice intense-looking, hyper-alert men and women with earpieces following behind. That's the Secret Service, the agency tasked with protecting the president — even at the cost of their own lives.

Well-armed, trained and prepared, members of the Secret Service are more than bodyguards. They conduct advance work, threat assessments, countersurveillance and airspace security. Ex-presidents get Secret Service protection for life, and their children are protected until the kids turn 16. The agency's 2016 budget was $2.2 billion.

10. You Get Buff With a Personal Trainer

The White House is home to a full fitness center. The president doesn't have to wander around alone wondering how to work all those exercise machines either. Instead, the job comes with a personal trainer, which President Obama is known to utilize extensively. Information on the current presidential trainer's rate is not available, but according to Angie's List, the average trainer charges between $80 and $125 per hour.

11. An Executive Chef Cooks Your Meals

Every president since John F. Kennedy has dined in style thanks to a White House executive chef. In 2005, Cristeta Comerford became the first woman appointed to the position when she was hired by first lady Laura Bush. She still remains at the post after being reappointed by first lady Michelle Obama, who was inspired by Comerford's passion for healthy food.

It is estimated the White House executive chef earns under $100,000 a year, which the CulinarySchools.org website deems to be "surprisingly modest."

12. Your House Has a Movie Theater

Presidents who happen to be movie buffs are in luck: The White House is home to a 42-seat tiered theater where the presidential family and guests can watch movies, sports and television. President Franklin Roosevelt converted the East Terrace cloakroom into a theater so he could watch newsreels from World War II.

13. Fresh Vegetables Are Available

In 2009, Michelle Obama began work on what would become a massive White House garden. The fruits of her labor appear on the White House menu. They feed foreign dignitaries and support charities and food banks far and wide.

The garden — which the first lady started with just $200 in supplies — recently was the beneficiary of a $2.5 million donation to ensure taxpayers won't be burdened with maintenance and upkeep.

14. Visitors Enjoy a Fantastic Guest House

When heads of state and other dignitaries visit the U.S., the president puts them up in the Blair House. At 60,600 square feet, Blair House consists of four integrated townhomes with a combined 120 rooms and 18 full-time employees.

15. You Get a State Funeral

Presidents receive the office's final perk when they die and are buried with the pomp and circumstance of a state funeral, which is reserved for heads of state.

The seven-to-10-day, three-stage event comes with full military honors, including Guard of Honor, military escort for the immediate family, armed forces body bearers, military flyover and a 21-gun salute. When President Ronald Reagan died in 2004, his mahogany casket alone cost $14,000.

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Now see photos of Air Force One:

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Air Force One
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Air Force One
The next plane set to carry a U.S. president will be a Boeing 747-8, a four-engine, wide-body aircraft built in Washington state.
US President Barack Obama (L) waves as he and First Lady Michelle Obama board Air Force One prior to departing from Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi on January 27, 2015. President Barack Obama said the United States could be India's 'best partner' January 27 as he wrapped up a three-day visit to New Delhi by highlighting the shared values of the world's biggest democracies. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Air Force One Presidential air transport a specially converted Boeing 747 called a VC-25A.
The first presidential jet "Air Force One", Airpark, The Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington, USA
President Barack Obama jokes with Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication, aboard Air Force One
President Barack Obama wears a AF1 jacket on his first flight aboard Air Force One from Andrews Air Force Base
The US embassy defence attache salutes as the Air Force One aircraft prepares to taxi with US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama on board at Palam Air Force station in the Indian capital New Delhi on January 27, 2015. President Barack Obama said the United States could be India's 'best partner' January 27 as he wrapped up a three-day visit to New Delhi by highlighting the shared values of the world's biggest democracies. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Air Force One landing
The shadow of Air Force One with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, aboard is seen on approach to King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. The president will meet with the new Saudi King, Salman bin Abdul Aziz to expresses his condolences on the death of the late Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
U.S. President Barack Obama, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, waves as they board Air Force One at Air Force Station Palam in Palam, India, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, en route to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where the president will meet with King Salman. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
A view of Air Force One while it sits on the flight line at Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
The Presidential Seal is seen on Air Force One as it stands on the flight line at Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
A view of Air Force One while it sits on the flight line at Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
President Barack Obama steps from Air Force One, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., as he returned from speaking at the University of Kansas about the themes in his State of the Union address. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama waves as he boards Air Force One at Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
A pilot looks out of Air Force One before departing from Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Air Force One departs Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
The shadow of Air Force One with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, aboard is seen on arrival at King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. The president will meet with the new Saudi King, Salman bin Abdul Aziz to expresses his condolences on the death of the late Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Air Force One Presidential air transport flies over Mt Rushmore
US President Barack Obama boards Air Force One prior to departing Boise Airport in Boise, Idaho, January 21, 2015. Obama is traveling on a 2-day, 2-state trip to Idaho and Kansas following his State of the Union address. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama walks to greet wellwishers before boarding Air Force One for departure from Forbes Field Airport in Topeka, Kansas, January 22, 2015. Obama returns to Washington after traveling on a two-day, two state trip to Idaho and Kansas following his State of the Union address. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama walks down the steps of Air Force One after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, January 22, 2015. Obama returns from a 2-day, 2-state trip to Idaho and Kansas following his State of the Union address. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) and First Lady Michelle Obama board Air Force One prior to departing from Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi on January 27, 2015. President Barack Obama said the United States could be India's 'best partner' January 27 as he wrapped up a three-day visit to New Delhi by highlighting the shared values of the world's biggest democracies. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Air Force One taxies after landing at Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
President Barack Obama climbs the steps of Air Force One, before departure on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., en route to Boise State University where he will discuss the themes in his State of the Union address. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Air Force One taxies after landing at Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Stan Brewster)
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