The White House soaks in history, and one could spend a lifetime researching all of it, but some items are rather public knowledge — even for those not currently occupying the residence.  One particular feature of the Oval Office, the desk, has a more publicly-known history than the rest of the furniture (with the possible exception of the humidor during the Clinton presidency).  The desk was built with wood from the HMS Resolute and is usually called the Resolute Desk, used by presidents from Rutherford B. Hayes to Barack Obama — although he apparently hasn’t quite learned its name:

A sound technician knocked over a glass of water on the president’s desk in the oval office while entering for Obama’s photo op with Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Obama heard something untoward as the press entered the room.

“Uh oh,” he said. “What’d you all get there,” he inquired.

“A water glass,” came the reply from several in the press.

“Alright,” he said with unmistakable dismay in his voice, adding sarcastically, “It’s the Resolution Desk. It’s only like a hundred years old.”

As Mark Knoller reports for CBS, it’s not the “Resolution Desk,” but the Resolute desk, and it’s about 130 years old.  Maybe the next time someone buys gifts for visiting heads of state at the White House gift shop, the aide can also buy President Obama a handy historical guide to his own office.

Mark has a good picture of the clean-up as well at the link.

Update: Here’s a good reminder of how Obama respects the, er, Resolution Desk:

Maybe the water was to wash off the scuff marks.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

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