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White House Gets Swing Set

(CBS)
First daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, Obama got a big after-school surprise: a brand-new swing set.

President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, went to work while the girls were at school, having the set installed on the south grounds of the White House within sight of the Oval Office, where their father spends plenty of time.

The 100 percent cedar and North American Redwood structure has four swings, including a tire swing, a slide, a fort, a climbing wall and climbing ropes. There's also a picnic table with brass plates etched with the names of all 44 presidents, she said.

CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller reports the daughters got to see the set when they got home from school today - and were accompanied to it by their mom and dad.

Chief Usher Stephen Rochon said it was a "big hit" with the daughters and they screamed with delight.

Presidents throughout the years have altered the landscape of the White House grounds to suit their recreational needs, or their children's.

James Buchanan added the first greenhouse in 1857, and Theodore Roosevelt followed with a tennis court in 1903.

Historical photos show two of Franklin D. Roosevelt's grandchildren playing on a slide near a jungle gym on the South Lawn, and much later Caroline Kennedy pushing younger brother John F. Kennedy Jr. on a swing set, also on the South Lawn.

Gerald Ford added an outdoor swimming pool, and Jimmy Carter's daughter, Amy, had a treehouse. George H.W. Bush had tree-mounted swings installed for granddaughters Jenna and Barbara, and Bill Clinton, a jogger, installed a running track.

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