Darienne M. Page, answering calls in the West Wing last month, carries the title of receptionist of the United States, or Rotus, the nickname President Obama uses.
Have you met Rotus?
This is a question President Obama has taken to asking some of his visitors to the White House. In a bureaucratic world awash in abbreviations and acronyms, this one in particular seems to amuse him.
Mr. Obama, of course, is Potus (president of the United States). Michelle Obama is Flotus (first lady of the United States). And the title of Rotus (receptionist of the United States) is worn by Darienne M. Page.
“This is the receptionist of the entire United States,” Mr. Obama said, introducing Ms. Page to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.
“How long was your confirmation hearing?” Mr. Holder asked with a smile.
An unique vantage point.
Ms. Page presides over the beehive of activity that is the West Wing lobby of the White House. At 27, she is among the hundreds of young aides who help the new administration tick. But her vantage point offers a considerably closer view of this presidency than most of them.
She is on hand to greet nearly every official visitor who has an appointment with the president or his top advisers. She oversees the front of the house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, serving coffee to former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, making small talk with a delegation from Kazakhstan and trying to chew a mouthful of almonds quickly before saying hello to Tiger Woods as he stands at her desk.
Audio Slide Show Doug Mills/The New York Times - Ms. Page talking with President Obama and Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut.
Ms. Page tries to memorize the faces of the senators and representatives who come to the White House. But after a guest passes through the security gate on the North Lawn, she has approximately five minutes to do a Google search if they are unfamiliar, all so she can make small talk during their inevitable wait.
Technology helps again.
This is her first White House job, but Mr. Obama is the second president she has served. The first was George W. Bush, her commander in chief when she was an Army sergeant stationed in Iraq.
A task that requires particular diplomacy is overseeing the presidential boxes at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. A few days a week, she goes to pick up tickets and checks to be sure that the V.I.P. seats in all three theaters are in order and that the minibar is stocked with small bottles of Korbel champagne, white boxes of M&Ms with the presidential seal on them and a few cans of Bud Light.