News & Politics

Welcome to Obamaland

Here’s where all the President’s men and women are living—from Greg Craig’s $3-million Cleveland Park spread to Robert Gibbs’s tidy Colonial in Alexandria

When Barack Obama moved into the White House, he brought with him lots of experts, strategists, and friends. Some were insiders who had lived here for years; others were transplants who had to scramble to find a place to live.

Here’s a look at the homes of President Obama’s brain trust.

Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

Observatory Circle

Cost (2000): $2.9 million.

Assessed value: $4.9 million.

The President’s former rival sleeps and entertains in this brick Georgian just off DC’s Embassy Row. A stone’s throw from the Vice President’s residence, the six-bedroom house is on a secluded street that’s also home to businessman and Republican fundraiser Wayne Berman and architect Leo Daly. Clinton and husband Bill also own a five-bedroom Dutch Colonial in Chappaqua, New York, which they bought in 1999 for $1.7 million.

Jonathan Favreau, chief speechwriter

Dupont Circle

Cost (2009): $395,000.

Assessed value: Not available; individual units aren’t assessed in cooperative buildings.

The President’s 28-year-old wordsmith bought a one-bedroom, one-bath unit in the Chastleton, an eight-story Gothic-style building at 16th and R streets, Northwest. Homeownership is a big change for the heartthrob, who shared a house in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood with six Obama campaign staffers before moving to Washington.

Eric Holder, attorney general

Spring Valley

Cost (1992): $705,000.

Assessed value: $1.7 million.

A veteran of DC and Capitol Hill politics, Holder has done stints in the Clinton Justice Department and the District’s US Attorney’s office. He and his wife, obstetrician Sharon Malone, and their three children come home every night to one of DC’s most popular neighborhoods.

Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy

Chevy Chase

Cost (2009): $1.6 million.

Assessed value: $1.1 million.

The Nobel Prize winner and his wife, Jean, a physicist, closed in March on this Colonial in the popular Montgomery County neighborhood. The renovated house has five bedrooms and four baths.

Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education


Cost (2009): $1.3 million.

Assessed value: $1.5 million.

Shortly after his confirmation in January, Duncan, wife Karen, and their two young children moved into this newly built four-bedroom, five-bath Craftsman-style house. In the Clarendon area, the house is in the districts for Key Elementary and Swanson Middle schools, which feed Washington-Lee High School.

Susan Rice, UN ambassador


Cost (2001): $2.9 million.

Assessed value: $3.8 million.

A Madeleine Albright protégé, Susan Rice worked as assistant secretary of State during the Clinton administration. VIPs in her DC neighborhood include Republican strategist Karl Rove, Vanity Fair national editor Todd Purdum, pundit Tucker Carlson, and former Washington Post executive editor Len Downie.

Robert Gibbs, press secretary


Cost (2006): $740,000.

Assessed value: $640,000.

According to tax records, in addition to this house in Alexandria’s Fort Williams Park neighborhood, Alabama native Gibbs and wife Mary Catherine, a lawyer, also own a one-bedroom condo in Old Town, which they bought for $385,000 in 2007, and a two-bedroom garden-style condo near Arlington’s Fairlington neighborhood, which they bought for $325,000 in 2003.

Peter R. Orszag, budget chief

Chevy Chase DC

Cost (2001): $710,000.

Assessed value: $1.2 million.

The divorced father of two launched his career as an economic adviser to President Clinton.

Gregory Craig, White House counsel

Cleveland Park

Cost (1990): $2 million.

Assessed value: $3.4 million.

President Obama is the most recent star in Craig’s long list of high-profile clients, who include Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial, Senator Ted Kennedy, would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley, and Juan Miguel González, father of shipwrecked Cuban refugee Elián González.

Jim Messina, deputy chief of staff

Takoma Park

Cost (2003): $320,000

Assessed value: $600,000

A longtime Washington player, Messina has been chief of staff for three congressional Democrats, including Senator Max Baucus of Montana. The legendary workaholic lives in this 1,400-square-foot, red-brick house in Takoma Park, one of the area’s most liberal neighborhoods.

Costs and assessments were obtained through land and tax records, where available.

This article first appeared in the August 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.