White House: Inside Story
Thursday, September 8 at 8 p.m.
Gain access to America’s most iconic residence-symbol of national history and icon of democracy. From the Oval Office to the family dining room, through crises and world wars, the 200-year story of the White House is the story of America itself.
In this two-hour special presentation, The White House: Inside Story takes viewers behind the scenes, to meet the people who keep this house running smoothly, maintaining the power of the Chief Executive and guarding the privacy of the First Family.
Its most familiar and least known spaces are uncovered, from the Oval Office to the residential dining room, from the hidden basement beneath the press room to the kitchens where chefs prepare for a state dinner.
We’ll see how the building and its operations have evolved over the past 200 years, changing with the currents of history and the tastes and concerns of its occupants. Standing at the epicenter of global politics, in the heart of the nation’s capital, the story of the White House is the story of America itself.
We’ll join the chief usher as she oversees butlers, groundskeepers, kitchen staff and florists in preparation for a state dinner. Former staff members reflect on the daily chaos – and the unmatched thrills – of working at the White House.
Curator Bill Allman shares the demands of maintaining a museum that is also a working office and a family home. Historians Doris Kearns Goodwin, William Seale, Hari Jones, Mark Updegrove, Doug Wead and Richard Norton Smith bring the story of “the people’s house” alive, recounting events from the days of Washington and Adams, to the most recent administrations.
First Children Lynda Johnson Robb, Susan Ford Bales and Jenna Bush Hagar, recall what it was like to grow up in the White House. The Carters recount the story of daughter Amy roller-skating through the East Room. Barbara Bush and Michelle Obama share how they managed to make the White House a home for their families.
President Jimmy Carter marvels at the power of the Oval Office and how he used its aura to negotiate with other world leaders, while President Obama invites us in for a moment of reflection as he reads letters from American citizens.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest provides a behind-the-scenes look at how he manages the 24-hour news cycle, and we journey below the familiar press room to the rarely seen White House pool hidden underneath. Veteran journalists Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, Bill Plante, Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Bob Woodward and Ken Walsh recall the thrills and challenges of reporting from “the front lines of history.”
No day was more challenging than September 11, 2001. Laura Bush and former staff members remember how the White House struggled to remain the nation’s calm center, despite the imminent threat of a terrorist attack.
Through stunning original footage and archival film and photos, some never before seen, the president’s home is opened as never before, revealing moments of majesty and intimacy inside the White House.