Life in the Limelight: What It's Really Like to Grow Up in the White House

Think of the overwhelming media coverage that comes along with being President of the United States --- all the publicity, praise and criticism. Imagine the weight of the country on your shoulders. Now imagine being the President's child.

Children have been living in the White House since the beginning of our nation. What is life like for them? Here's a look back through history at some of America’s First Kids.

Tad Lincoln

Thomas Lincoln, nicknamed Tad, was 8 years old when he first moved into the White House. Born with a cleft palate, which was untreatable back in his time, Tad suffered from a serious speech impediment.

After being in the White House for only one year, Tad’s older brother, Willie, died of Typhoid fever at only 11 years old.

Tad faced tragedy again at age 12 when his father, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated.

Henry Guttmann/Getty Images

The Lincolns loved pets, sharing their space in the White House with their dog, Jip. They also welcomed in two cats and two goats. Tad adored the goats, named Nanny and Nanko, sometimes even allowing them to sleep in his bed with him. On August 8, 1863, President Lincoln sent his wife a lengthy telegraph on the whereabouts of one of their pet goats. It read:

Tell dear Tad, poor ‘Nanny Goat,’ is lost; and Mrs Cuthbert & I are in distress about it. The day you left Nanny was found resting herself, and chewing her little cud, on the middle of Tad’s bed. But now she’s gone. The gardener kept complaining that she destroyed the flowers, till it was concluded to bring her down to the White House. This was done, and the second day she had disappeared, and has not been heard of since. This is the last we know of poor ‘Nanny.’

To Tad’s relief, Lincoln soon after sent a follow-up telegraph, reading:

Tell Tad the goats and father are very well --- especially the goats.

John F. Kennedy Jr.

Barely one year old when he first moved into the White House, John Jr. was joined by his older sister, Caroline. The Kennedys had two other children, but sadly, their daughter Arabella was stillborn and their son Patrick died only two days after his birth.

National Archive/Newsmakers

Born only two weeks after his father was elected President of the United States, John Jr. lived in the White House for the first three years of his life, until his father was assassinated in 1963.

President Kennedy’s funeral was held on John Jr.’s third birthday. In a moment that will go down in history, young JFK Jr. stood and saluted his father’s casket to say a final goodbye. The Kennedys decided to follow through with their son’s birthday party.

Luci Johnson

Luci, daughter of Lyndon B. Johnson, was forced to move into the White House at the age of 16, immediately following the assassination of JFK.

Of her time in the White House, Luci stated:

For me, it was the best of times and the worst of times, but it's a march through history, and there's not a moment you live there that you are able to be oblivious to that.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Luci and older sister Lynda were aware of the circumstance that allowed their father to become president. Luci heard the news of JFK’s assassination while sitting in a Spanish class at National Cathedral School. She found out her father had been sworn in as President when the Secret Service arrived at her school just a few hours later.

Luci’s named was originally spelled, “Lucy.” However, she changed it in an act of rebellion against her parents.

Susan Ford

For Susan Ford, moving into the White House at age 17 was a historic event. Ford held her high school prom there, making it the only prom to ever take place at the White House. The Holton-Arms Academy class of 1975, raised $1,300 through fundraisers and bake sales for the prom.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

A retired English teacher of Holton-Arms said this about young Susan Ford:

Susan, at that age, was strikingly beautiful, and it’s a great deal of fun to watch a bunch of beautiful young girls with handsome young men, all dressed up. They were clearly excited about being where they were, but they were not uncomfortably awed. It was a beautiful affair.

Chelsea Clinton

Chelsea spent a good chunk of her younger years in the White House, moving in when she was 13 years old. She stayed there until she was 17, moving out to further her education at Stanford.

PAUL RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

During a 2014 interview, Clinton stated:

I was always deeply aware that I was living in history, but then I would have dinner with my parents at the kitchen table every night. There was much about my life that also was normal.

When Clinton began her studies at Stanford, her mother, Hillary Clinton, published an open letter, asking the media to allow her daughter to maintain her privacy while at college. Despite efforts for normalcy, Chelsea chose to stay in a high-security dorm, accompanied by Secret Service agents.

Sasha & Malia Obama

Sasha and Malia moved in to the White House when they were only 7 and 10 years old, respectively. Although both Sasha and Malia spent a good portion of their childhood in the media, President Obama seemed to think his daughters coped with the fame quite nicely. He once stated:

They’ve handled it so well. They are just wonderful girls. They’re smart and funny, but most importantly, they’re kind.

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, said her two daughters spent their last night in the White House with a sleepover:

They had a sleepover because of course on Inauguration Day, because my girls are so normal, they're like, "Well, eight girls are gonna be sleeping here because it's our last time, and we want pizza and we want nuggets."

Michelle Obama went on to say the transition out of their house of eight years was not an easy one:

So that moment of transition, right before the doors opened and we welcomed in the new family, our kids were leaving out the back door in tears, saying goodbye to people.

What if You Were in Their Shoes?

How do you think you would handle being a First Kid? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

In light of the national conversation surrounding the rights of free speech, religion and self-defense, Mercury One is thrilled to announce a brand new initiative launching this Father's Day weekend: a three-day museum exhibition in Dallas, Texas focused on the rights and responsibilities of American citizens.

This event seeks to answer three fundamental questions:

  1. As Americans, what responsibility do we shoulder when it comes to defending our rights?
  2. Do we as a nation still agree on the core principles and values laid out by our founding fathers?
  3. How can we move forward amidst uncertainty surrounding the intent of our founding ideals?

Attendees will be able to view historical artifacts and documents that reveal what has made America unique and the most innovative nation on earth. Here's a hint: it all goes back to the core principles and values this nation was founded on as laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Exhibits will show what the world was like before mankind had rights and how Americans realized there was a better way to govern. Throughout the weekend, Glenn Beck, David Barton, Stu Burguiere, Doc Thompson, Jeffy Fisher and Brad Staggs will lead private tours through the museum, each providing their own unique perspectives on our rights and responsibilities.

Schedule a private tour or purchase general admission ticket below:

Dates:
June 15-17

Location:

Mercury Studios

6301 Riverside Drive, Irving, TX 75039

Learn more about the event here.

About Mercury One: Mercury One is a 501(c)(3) charity founded in 2011 by Glenn Beck. Mercury One was built to inspire the world in the same way the United States space program shaped America's national destiny and the world. The organization seeks to restore the human spirit by helping individuals and communities help themselves through honor, faith, courage, hope and love. In the words of Glenn Beck:

We don't stand between government aid and people in need. We stand with people in need so they no longer need the government

Some of Mercury One's core initiatives include assisting our nation's veterans, providing aid to those in crisis and restoring the lives of Christians and other persecuted religious minorities. When evil prevails, the best way to overcome it is for regular people to do good. Mercury One is committed to helping sustain the good actions of regular people who want to make a difference through humanitarian aid and education initiatives. Mercury One will stand, speak and act when no one else will.

Support Mercury One's mission to restore the human spirit by making an online donation or calling 972-499-4747. Together, we can make a difference.

What happened?

A New York judge ruled Tuesday that a 30-year-old still living in his parents' home must move out, CNN reported.

Failure to launch …

Michael Rotondo, who had been living in a room in his parents' house for eight years, claims that he is owed a six-month notice even though they gave him five notices about moving out and offered to help him find a place and to help pay for repairs on his car.

RELATED: It's sad 'free-range parenting' has to be legislated, it used to be common sense

“I think the notice is sufficient," New York State Supreme Court Judge Donald Greenwood said.

What did the son say?

Rotondo “has never been expected to contribute to household expenses, or assisted with chores and the maintenance of the premises, and claims that this is simply a component of his living agreement," he claimed in court filings.

He told reporters that he plans to appeal the “ridiculous" ruling.

Reform Conservatism and Reaganomics: A middle road?

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio broke Republican ranks recently when he criticized the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by stating that “there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker." Rubio is wrong on this point, as millions of workers have received major raises, while the corporate tax cuts have led to a spike in capital expenditure (investment on new projects) of 39 percent. However, the Florida senator is revisiting an idea that was front and center in the conservative movement before Donald Trump rode down an escalator in June of 2015: reform conservatism.

RELATED: The problem with asking what has conservatism conserved

The "reformicons," like Rubio, supported moving away from conservative or supply-side orthodoxy and toward policies such as the expansion of the child and earned income tax credits. On the other hand, longstanding conservative economic theory indicates that corporate tax cuts, by lowering disincentives on investment, will lead to long-run economic growth that will end up being much more beneficial to the middle class than tax credits.

But asking people to choose between free market economic orthodoxy and policies guided towards addressing inequality and the concerns of the middle class is a false dichotomy.

Instead of advocating policies that many conservatives might dismiss as redistributionist, reformicons should look at the ways government action hinders economic opportunity and exacerbates income inequality. Changing policies that worsen inequality satisfies limited government conservatives' desire for free markets and reformicons' quest for a more egalitarian America. Furthermore, pushing for market policies that reduce the unequal distribution of wealth would help attract left-leaning people and millennials to small government principles.

Criminal justice reform is an area that reformicons and free marketers should come together around. The drug war has been a disaster, and the burden of this misguided government approach have fallen on impoverished minority communities disproportionately, in the form of mass incarceration and lower social mobility. Not only has the drug war been terrible for these communities, it's proved costly to the taxpayer––well over a trillion dollars has gone into the drug war since its inception, and $80 billion dollars a year goes into mass incarceration.

Prioritizing retraining and rehabilitation instead of overcriminalization would help address inequality, fitting reformicons' goals, and promote a better-trained workforce and lower government spending, appealing to basic conservative preferences.

Government regulations tend to disproportionately hurt small businesses and new or would-be entrepreneurs. In no area is this more egregious than occupational licensing––the practice of requiring a government-issued license to perform a job. The percentage of jobs that require licenses has risen from five percent to 30 percent since 1950. Ostensibly justified by public health concerns, occupational licensing laws have, broadly, been shown to neither promote public health nor improve the quality of service. Instead, they serve to provide a 15 percent wage boost to licensed barbers and florists, while, thanks to the hundreds of hours and expensive fees required to attain the licenses, suppressing low-income entrepreneurship, and costing the economy $200 billion dollars annually.

Those economic losses tend to primarily hurt low-income people who both can't start businesses and have to pay more for essential services. Rolling back occupational licenses will satisfy the business wing's desire for deregulation and a more free market and the reformicons' support for addressing income inequality and increasing opportunity.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality.

Tax expenditures form another opportunity for common ground between the Rubio types and the mainstream. Tax deductions and exclusions, both on the individual and corporate sides of the tax code, remain in place after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Itemized deductions on the individual side disproportionately benefit the wealthy, while corporate tax expenditures help well-connected corporations and sectors, such as the fossil fuel industry.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality. Additionally, a more complicated tax code is less conducive to economic growth than one with lower tax rates and fewer exemptions. Therefore, a simpler tax code with fewer deductions and exclusions would not only create a more level playing field, as the reformicons desire, but also additional economic growth.

A forward-thinking economic program for the Republican Party should marry the best ideas put forward by both supply-siders and reform conservatives. It's possible to take the issues of income inequality and lack of social mobility seriously, while also keeping mainstay conservative economic ideas about the importance of less cumbersome regulations and lower taxes.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate studying economics at Tufts University. He is a contributor for Lone Conservative, and his writing has appeared in Townhall and The Daily Caller. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Is this what inclusivity and tolerance look like? Fox News host Tomi Lahren was at a weekend brunch with her mom in Minnesota when other patrons started yelling obscenities and harassing her. After a confrontation, someone threw a drink at her, the moment captured on video for social media.

RELATED: Glenn Addresses Tomi Lahren's Pro-Choice Stance on 'The View'

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this uncomfortable moment and why it shows that supposedly “tolerant" liberals have to resort to physical violence in response to ideas they don't like.