A small dose of real life

The White House is feeling the pinch of the federal government’s partial shutdown.

The usual staff of 1,701 advisers, assistants, butlers, chefs, landscapers and other employees has been reduced to fewer than 450. The rest are considered “non-essential.” Some senior White House staff members are (gasp!) having to perform duties normally done by low-level staffers, like arranging events, scheduling meetings and helping the Secret Service clear visitors.

The staff of 90 that normally works at the president’s residence has been cut to 15.

There’s a limited menu available at the White House kitchen.

Call the White House switchboard and you’ll get a recorded message: “We apologize, but due the lapse in federal funding, we are unable to take your call.”

The president hasn’t played a round of golf since the shutdown began last week.

The president and First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary on Thursday without the usual night out at a fancy restaurant.

Last week, the president visited a nearby sandwich shop for lunch without his usual entourage because the staff at the White House’s advance office, which normally coordinates the president’s travel, has been drastically reduced.

Hmm. Sounds like White House staffers and its residents are getting at least a small dose of real life.