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White House kids speak out: Growing up in the president's pad

White House kids Steve Ford, Jenna Bush Hager, Barbara Pierce Bush, and Lynda Johnson Robb talk about growing up with Dad as president, playing Led Zeppelin, and Mom still cooking dinner.

By Jamie StengleAssociated Press / November 20, 2012

Here, Lynda Johnson Robb, right, speaks during the Enduring Legacies of America’s First Ladies conference with, from left to right, Barbara Pierce Bush, Jenna Bush Hager and Steve Ford, Nov. 15, 2012, Austin, Texas.

David J. Phillip/AP

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AUSTIN, Tex.

 Whether it was to sneak a first kiss or listen to Led Zeppelin, climbing onto the roof of the White House was apparently a popular practice among a few presidents' children.

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Steve Ford garnered laughs during a panel discussion Nov. 17 with fellow children of former presidents as he recalled dragging a stereo onto the roof with a friend his first night there in 1974.

A teenager at the time his father took office, he said, "I think we were playing like Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven.' Literally, it was like 'Dumb and Dumber.'"

Jenna Bush Hager later told Mr. Ford, "You can still get up on that roof, because I had my first kiss with my husband up there."

Her twin sister, Barbara Pierce Bush, and Lynda Johnson Robb also spoke during the conference, which is part of a series focusing on the nation's first ladies. But yesterday's event was the first in which their children have participated, offering a different perspective about life in the White House.

The conference, "The Enduring Legacies of America's First Ladies," was hosted by the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin and was presented by American University and the White House Historical Association.

Ford noted that his family got to the White House in a "different way." His father was appointed vice president after the resignation of Spiro Agnew, and then became president after the resignation of Richard Nixon.

He noted that Nixon's presidency ended so abruptly that the Nixon family's possessions were still being packed after Ford was sworn in, so the Ford family returned to their suburban Washington home for several days.

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