Plans for a greener White House


Just as President Obama gets handy swinging a figurative hammer to nail down an acceptable recovery plan for the automotive industry, he's also gearing up for a few home improvement projects at the White House? Home improvements that, unlike past presidents, he'll be paying for out of his own pocket.

It's a tradition for the First Family to be allotted $100,000 to make America's house their home, but in recognition of the tough times many homeowners are experiencing, the Obamas are turning down taxpayer-funded redecorating and footing the bill themselves.

Hollywood decorator Michael S. Smith may be signed on to design, but they "are not using public funds or accepting donations of goods for redecorating their private quarters," says Camille Johnston, director of communications for the First Lady. They'll also be steering clear of cash from the privately funded White House Historical Association, which served up $74,000 for a new set of china before the Bushes departed from Washington.