"Uh, oh" sums it up. President Obama uttered these words as members of the press corps bounded into the Oval Office for an official photo-op with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe and a small crash was heard. "What did you all get there?" the President asked members of the press who replied "it's a water glass." Well, that glass was sitting on the President's desk. No special papers were lying about but as the President pointed out, the desk is a rather antique item. "It's just the Resolution desk. It's only like 100 years old. Don't worry about it," the President said to laughter.
It's actually called the Resolute desk and it's 129 years old. Carved from timbers of the HMS Resolute, an abandoned British ship discovered by an American vessel and returned to the Queen of England as a token of friendship and goodwill, the desk was presented to President Rutherford Hayes in 1880. Every President since Hayes with the exception of Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Ford have used the desk whether in the Oval Office or in a personal study in the residence. It was made famous by President Kennedy and his young son, John-John, who was photographed peering out from underneath the desk while his father worked.
White House Photo by Pete Souza