President Barack Obama has taken the White House's star power to levels previously unseen: Countless A-listers (and even the occasional B- and C-lister) have swung by 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. or joined the president at various events around the country.
Celebrities enjoy the high-level access, and the White House enjoys having celebrities in its corner for messaging. A former White House staffer, Tevi Troy, is out with a book, "What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House," that examines the relationship between the White House and Tinseltown and explores its history.
"They've been connected for a long time, but they're more interconnected now," said Troy, who served as deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in the George W. Bush administration.
Troy admits that his book's topic is far afield from his job during the Bush White House ("I'm a broad-ranging nerd," he joked), but says he saw Bono, Bruce Willis and Dr. Phil come through the White House during his time in the Bush administration.
"The celebrities themselves are amplifiers," Troy said. "Celebrities can spread the message for you. They also know rich people, which helps."
Troy said presidents enjoy the "reflected glory of being with those people; it makes them appear cooler." President Richard Nixon's photo-op with Elvis Presley was an example of the president "trying to humanize himself and look like he was more appealing to the pop culture," Troy noted.
But it's not only hanging around with celebrities that presidents can find useful — it's the very idea that presidents engage with pop culture that can prove beneficial.
"They seem in some way like a regular guy," Troy said. "Hey, Obama watches 'Homeland' — I watch 'Homeland,' too! I can relate to that."
There's also, of course, the perk of presidents just simply liking the company of famous people. Take, for instance, one potential White House aspirant: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
"The biggest perk of being governor of New Jersey is he gets to hang out with [Bruce] Springsteen," Troy said. "He really loves Springsteen."
The relationship wasn't always this seamless, however. Troy notes that "rock 'n' roll was seen as quite risqué in the '50s and you'd never see an Eisenhower or a Truman — or even a Kennedy really associating, although by the time Clinton came, you have the 'Don't Stop' Fleetwood Mac endorsement. Clinton kind of OK'd rock 'n' roll."
"Now you can have a president hanging out and meeting with rap stars, especially President Obama."