Obama gets heat for turning up Oval Office thermostat

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Washington, Feb.4 (ANI): A couple of weeks ago, it was revealed that President Barack Obama didn't fancy Washington's icy weather, and as soon as he entered the White House and the Oval Office in particular, he turned up the thermostat.

Having made climate change the main agenda of his presidential campaign speeches, Obama is now facing criticism for keeping his office warm enough to "grow orchids". This criticism surfaces after he called on Americans to protect the environment and turn down their thermostats, Fox News reports. During a campaign event in Oregon in May last year, Obama said we have to "lead by example." "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times. That's not leadership. That's not going to happen."

But for the first few weeks of his presidency, that's precisely what has happened in the White House.

On the first day of his presidency, Obama allowed staffers to venture into the Oval Office without wearing coat and tie, which had been obligatory under President Bush.

Obama's aides had a simpler explanation. Though he's spent more than 20 years in Chicago, the president was born in Hawaii. And so he "likes it warm" in the Oval Office, said Chief of Staff David Axelrod. "You could grow orchids in there," he told the New York Times.

While it is a perpetual summer in the Oval Office, the rest of the country has been trudging through a tough winter. Ice storms have cut power to millions in the Midwest and South.

Critics say Obama hasn't been willing to bear the cold like the rest of the country.

"It's stunning hypocrisy," said Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and author of two books critical of global warming activists.

Charles Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative at the Brookings Institute, said that presidential roles and security measures would necessarily prevent Obama from being completely green.

The 800-square-foot Oval Office accounts for only a small part of the White House's overall area.

At 55,000 square feet, the Georgian mansion is a public institution, and taxpayers cover the cost of powering a building that is part dwelling, part museum and the nerve center of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government.

The White House began going green during the 1990s, and reports from the Department of Energy show that innovations and changes have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs each year for the buildings that house White House staff.

Obama's White House declined to comment on the president's personal energy use, but did note that his stimulus package will continue the greening trend, paving the way for 75 percent of federal buildings to be modernized to increase their energy efficiency. (ANI)

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