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West Wing Reportage

Obama Signs Executive Orders on Pay Equity

At a press conference today, President Obama signed two executive orders intended to address pay disparity between men and women. In remarks before the signing, he also called several times for Republicans to vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act set to go up for Senate approval tomorrow.

The two executive orders, one to prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss pay with each other and another to require federal contractors to provide data on employee compensation, are meant to put pressure on Congressional Republicans and to emphasize Democrats’ middle class message.

Obama criticized Paul Ryan’s budget during the speech as well, calling it a “bad rerun” that would give tax cuts to millionaires and cut funding to education and job training.

(Photo: Getty)

Obama Says Most Deportations Happen Because Congress Beefed Up Border

Facing questions on his deportation policy while making an appearance this morning on a Spanish-language radio show, “El Bueno, La Mala, y El Feo,” President Obama shifted the blame to Congress.

“Keep in mind that most of these deportations are actually at the border,” Obama said. “So it’s people who are just being stopped.  The reason that the numbers are high is because Congress doubled the number of ICE agents and custom border patrol.”

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson acknowledged as much earlier this month.

“It’s not because this is something that I think is necessarily a kind thing or a helpful thing for many of these families,” the President added.

Obama also fielded questions about whether Latinos from “mixed status” homes would risk triggering deportations of their loved ones if they signed up for Obamacare. Obama replied that “there is no sharing of the data of information with… immigration officials,” and encouraged Latinos to sign up, “even if it’s just for some the members of their family.”

The appearance on the radio program, which mainly features Mexican music, was the latest in a string of appearances by the President on Spanish-language media outlets. Obama has been making a major push to both Latinos and young people to sign up for Obamacare ahead of the March 31st sign up deadline.

Hey Isn’t That…

…a PRINT copy of The Hill on Obama’s desk? How quaint!

(Photo Credit: Pete Souza)

Is Ed Henry the Reason for Mice Problem in White House Press Room?

Rumors of mice in the White House have been swirling as of late, but word on the street is that they’re just after Fox News’ Ed Henry. No firm answers yet as to why, so we can only guess at this point. Does Ed leave crumbs of food on his desk? Does his work space offer an abundance of places to hide?

Earlier today, Henry Tweeted about the debacle and it’s left us wondering.

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According to the White House Dossier’s Keith Koffler, “Suspiciously, the CNN booth, which is right next to Fox’s, has not had its defenses breached by a single mouse, prompting questions among veteran, unserious reporters about whether White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is indoctrinating mice to despise free markets and releasing them late at night in the Fox booth.”

We here in the Fishbowl are taking this matter very seriously. Please send any relevant photos (of Ed’s workspace, other spaces in the White House press room where mice have been spotted, reasons why the mice may have an affinity for Henry) to fishbowlnick@gmail.com. We vow to follow this micecapade until the ordeal can be swept under the rug.

O’Bama’s St. Paddy’s Day Statement on Ukraine

Notably drunk and with lips as green as a leprechaun’s pecker, President Obama raised a glass to “those crazy a$$#@%#s in Crimea” at a short press conference today on the Ukrainian crisis. He also gave a “special shout-out” to Russian President Vladimir Putin who he said “acted all hard and s#%t,” but was in fact “fronting” and would “get his real soon.”

Media analysts across the spectrum rushed to interpret Obama’s remarks. We here at FBDC think MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell had it about right when she said the following to Matt Lauer:

“The President is understandably wasted right now. I mean come on Matt, the man just got finished with two wars and now he’s going to have to start another one -this time with the very real prospect of nuclear annihilation for one or more European allies. If I weren’t a gin girl, I’d be hitting the Jamie pretty hard right now too.”*

Erin go bragh, y’all!

*We made this up entirely. Here is what really happened.

Chief WH Correspondent Slams VOA in Retirement Letter

Voice of America, the official external media of the US government, has been in decline of late. They have been hemorrhaging reporters and apparently suffering from a crisis in management. Now, after 34 years, Chief White House Correspondent Dan Robinson has had enough. According to a letter obtained by BBG Watch to the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the International Broadcasting Bureau -the agencies that oversees VOA – Robinson and other veteran reporters have been leaving because of “exceptionally bad and hostile management.” From the letter:

At one point, correspondents in Washington bureaus were discouraged from filing on breaking news. In its place, they were often tasked with producing “TV” reports that inevitably consumed numerous additional hours.

Due to staffing and technical problems in Central News, particularly relating to the production process, final “TV” products ended up being completed late, well after other media organizations had put out several layers of reports on a breaking news event.

Reporters too often ended up being mired in hours of email exchanges, phone conversations, and copy and paste exercises to produce scripts that “dumbed down” breaking events. 

Read Robinson’s whole letter after the jump…

Read more

Oh Snap! Calmes Deflects, Henry Hit

In his presser today, Pres. Obama tweaked NYT‘s Jackie Calmes for rambling, who in turn passed the buck to Fox’s Ed Henry. From WaPo‘s live blog:

After Calmes attempted to ask Obama about Politifact’s “Lie of the Year” and some other issues, Obama cut her off and asked her to narrow her scope a bit.

‘You’re stringing a bunch of things along,’ he told her. ‘Let’s see if we can hone in on a question.’

Colmes responded by saying that her run-on questions aren’t as bad as Fox News’s Ed Henry. The comment, made light-heartedly, was met with some laughter and gasps by the press corps.

For the record, we conversed with Ed Henry at Susanna Quinn‘s surprise birthday party last Friday, and found him to be quite articulate. Mayhaps Jackie is projecting a bit…?

BREAKING: Journo Discovers Sunny is a Menace to Michelle Obama’s Garden

The Hill‘s Features Editor Emily Goodin went to White House Wednesday to hang out in Michelle Obama‘s garden. She wrote, “Gorgeous day in the WH garden. Lots of Halloween decorations up on South Lawn but we’ve been asked not to take pics.”

So what does she do? She takes to Michelle’s garden and snaps pictures of the supersized vegetables. Apparently Sunny the dog is a “menace” to the garden, especially the tomatoes — hence this prime example of Why Washington D.C. Gossip Sucks. Soon Elmo and Rosita were in the garden — no idea why, not really dying to know.

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Michelle Obama in a Half Shirt?

INTO THE DEEP END, TIPS FROM THE POOL

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On Sunday, Chris Johnson, chief political and White House reporter for The Blade, was the victim of his autocorrect when he wrote that first lady Michelle Obama was wearing something called a “Purple halfway.”

Exact quote: “Accompanying him on his left was FLOTUS, wearing Purple halfway and purple skirt. Malia and Sasha are with him. Pool is following POTUS on route to church.”

Ahem, to church no less.

Of course, FLOTUS was not wearing a shirt that exposed her midriff. Read more

Secret Service Agent Saw White House Staff Dancing Like Seinfeld’s Elaine

dan-bongino_thumb-1As you might imagine, ex-Secret Service agent Dan Bongino is not warming the hearts of his former bosses these days. He’s also not on the best of terms with his own brother, a Secret Service agent whose team was entwined in the Colombia prostitute scandal last year.

“It has strained our family pretty badly,” Bongino told FishbowlDC in an phone interview this week.

He won’t expand on his brother too much except to say, “You’d think I’d have some inside knowledge but I don’t.” He says his brother has moved to New York. “We talk, but it’s not how it was. The relationship is OK. I’ll leave it at that.”

Forget about his brother for a moment. It’s White House staff that he exposes in a new tell-all called Life Inside The Bubble: Why a Top-Ranked Secret Service Agent Walked Away From it All. Read more

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