National Geographic : 2009 Jan
ROMPING GROUND for first family pets, the South Lawn (left) lies under a scrim of snow and scattered dog toys. Soon two terriers will follow their master home to Texas, and a new Presi- dent will move into the White House. As conceived by William Howard Taft, the Oval Office (above) symbolizes a President's role at the center of his administration, personally involved in the people's business. It is an emblem of American democracy, underlined by the orderly succession of its occu- pants. "Whether you are Republican or Democrat, your fate is tied up with what is done in this room," Harry Truman said in his farewell address. "The President is President of the whole country."