President Obama Jokingly Acknowledges Truth About Oval Office Desk As Depicted In "National Treasure 2"

For those familiar with the film "National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets," the president's Resolute Desk is an object of some curiosity, if not fascination. The key plot point can be seen in this scene:

In March, the President seemed to be joking around with Caroline Kennedy Scholossberg about the Resolute Desk -- and some of us wondered if he'd seen the film.

Though it also seemed just as likely that the president was talking to the daughter of President John F. Kennedy about the famous photo of her late brother's John Kennedy Jr. peering out from under the desk.

For those who don't know, the Resolute desk was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1879, built from the timbers of the British exploration ship HMS RESOLUTE.

On the front of the desk is a plate stating:

"H.M.S. RESOLUTE forming part of the expedition sent in search of SIR JOHN FRANKLIN IN 1852, was abandoned in latitude 74 degrees 41 minutes N longitude 101 degrees 22 minutes W on 15th May 1854. She was discovered and extricated in September 1855 in latitude 67 degrees N by Captain Buddington of the United States Whaler GEORGE HENRY.

"The ship was purchased, fitted out and sent to England as a gift to HER MAJESTY QUEEN VICTORIA by the PRESIDENT AND PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES as a token of goodwill & friendship. This table was made from her timbers when she was broken up, and is presented by the QUEEN OF GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND to the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES as a memorial of the courtesy and loving kindness which dictated the offer of the gift of the RESOLUTE."

With the exception of Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford, every president has used the desk, though President George H. W. Bush had it moved to the Treaty Room. President Bill Clinton had it returned to the Oval Office.

As President George W. Bush told some British journalists in 2003, "Roosevelt put the door on the desk to cover up his infirmities. He didn't want people to know he was in a wheelchair. John-John Kennedy put his head out of the desk, probably the most famous Oval Office photo. His dad was looking out at the South Lawn there. Reagan put the bottom on the desk so his knees wouldn't hit. So it's been an interesting history, I love it."

Before the official part of Philadelphia radio talk show host Michael Smerconish's interview with the President yesterday, Smerconish said to the President, "my boys wanted me to ask you, they saw the movie National Treasure 2, and they know that you've been provided The Book of Secrets."

"I have," said the president, going along with a plot point in the movie.

"And they wanted to know which of the secrets most impressed you," Smerconish asked.

Said the president: "I would tell you but I'd have to kill you, so…"

"I get the impression you've seen the movie too," said the talk show host.

"Absolutely," said the president. "And I don't want you messing with my Resolute desk, you know, with all the gizmos and gadgets."


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