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Q&A: White House china, top TV events

White House china

I noticed a reference to the Clintons stealing china when they left the White House. I didn't know about that, but did hear that they vandalized the White House and took or destroyed computers. President Bill Clinton also did a lot of last-minute pardoning. Was this true?

The Clintons began shipping furniture and other items, including china, flatware, rugs and TVs, to their home in Chappaqua, N.Y., up to a year before President Bill Clinton left office in 2001, but later either returned or paid for many of the items they thought had been gifts to them but were White House property.

They initially paid $86,000 and then another $28,500 for furnishings that belonged to the National Park Service. Clinton's office issued this statement: "Gifts did not leave the White House without the approval of the White House usher's and curator's offices. Of course, if the White House now determines that a cataloging error occurred … any item in question will be returned."

The General Accounting Office, in a June 2002 report, said "damage, theft, vandalism and pranks did occur in the White House complex," including the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, at a cost of $13,000 to $14,000. That included $4,850 to replace or repair 62 computer keyboards, many of which were missing "W" keys. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer had earlier said the "W" was missing from 100 keyboards.

Other costs included replacing 26 cellphones, missing doorknobs, medallions and signs and replacing a 12-inch presidential seal that had been taken. Clinton issued 140 pardons on Jan. 20, 2001.

Memorable television events

I recently heard that O.J. Simpson's Bronco chase and his trial verdict were two of the top six viewed TV events. What are the others?

The chase involving Simpson and the white Ford Bronco, which took place on June 17, 1994, and his trial verdict are two of the most memorable, not viewed, events in TV history, according to a 2012 survey. The top 10 most memorable TV events, according to the survey, which was conducted by Nielson and Sony:

1. Sept. 11 tragedy (2001)

2. Hurricane Katrina (2005)

3. O.J. Simpson verdict (1995)

4. Challenger space shuttle disaster (1986)

5. Death of Osama bin Laden (2011)

6. O.J. Simpson white Bronco chase (1994)

7. Earthquake in Japan (2011)

8. Columbine High School shootings (1999)

9. BP oil spill (2010)

10. Princess Diana's funeral (1997)

Each event was scored on a formula based on the number of people who watched the event, those who could recall details about where they were and who they were with, and who could remember discussing details about what happened. It was based on 1,077 completed surveys.

Compiled from Times and wire reports. To submit a question, email

Q&A: White House china, top TV events 07/23/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 2:40pm]
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