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West Wing Reportage

White House Soup of the Day

The White House Soup of the Day, as first reported by MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” is…

Ribollita.

“It’s a great soup to say, I don’t know if it’s a great on to taste,” remarked “Daily Rundown” host Chuck Todd.

We sure hope it tastes better than it looks.

Presidential Broccoli Humor Falls Flat

Contrary to popular belief, not all politicians are laugh-out-loud funny all of the time. Some are never funny. Sure, reporters tend to laugh at lawmakers’ jokes even when they’re painfully unfunny – it’s ass kissing and it’s Washington and it happens. But even late-night host Jay Leno couldn’t save President Obama from his tired broccoli humor.

Last night Washington’s White House reporters stayed up late and suffered through Jay Leno‘s softball interview with Obama. At one point, obviously trying to be funny about first lady Michelle Obama‘s love of vegetables and the President’s claim to love broccoli, Jay threw in the favorite vegetable topic amid questions about the economy, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Russian President Vladmir Putin, lunch with former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, and NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Though Jay brought up a number of relevant topics that the White House Press Corps. normally would, he didn’t push or press him on anything. Obama could easily come to the show with soundbites and talking points and do just fine.

You could almost hear the collective groan of White House reporters and other journalists who watched in awe (and by awe we mean disdain and ridicule). They used Twitter to emote.

“Already bored,” groused Sirius XM P.O.T.U.S. Channel “Press Pool” host  Julie Mason early on in the interview. American Urban Radio’s April Ryan jumped in, saying,  “Those who cover President daily are watching Leno to get the news of what the President has to say.” Mason, who formerly covered the White House, sniped, “Since we have no access.” She continued slamming the interview: “Making you laugh is more fun than actually tweeting this boring masturbatory interview.” And Ryan: This stuff is hilarious folks are saying. Girl! If they only knew how our lives are centered around Presidential activities”

Actually the toughest question might have been about the President’s love of broccoli. Read more

WHCA Throws Photos in Administration’s Face

A small thing, but a loud gesture. The White House Correspondents’ Association is stripping all official White House photographs from the WHCA website in support of news photographers getting shut out by this administration. They put the news in a letter to all their members this morning from President Steve Thomma of McClatchy. He wrote, “This symbolic gesture is a statement of our belief that journalists should be allowed to cover the president as often as possible and that journalists should not be excluded when the White House is covering the president with its own photographers or video crews.”

See the full letter… Read more

Fishbowl5 for Daily Caller’s Teenage White House Reporter Gabe Finger

As most of Washington’s free world knows by now, The Daily Caller sent their solidly-named 16-year-old intern, Gabe Finger, to the White House Wednesday for the briefing with Obama Spokesman Jay Carney in place of their regular correspondent, the ever shrinking violet Neil Munro.

As Politico first reported, Finger got in a question with Carney about the George Zimmerman trial, which pissed the press secretary off. And today, we’ve asked the the teen to answer a few questions. Thankfully he obliged. By the way, at 3:47 p.m. Wednesday, Finger had 235 Twitter followers. As of today at 1:21 p.m. he has 1, 212. His handle: @GabeemtheFinger.

1. Did you have your question for Jay Carney planned? Yeah. We had discussed the question beforehand and some of our staff helped me word it.

2. Did you feel nervous asking a question at a White House briefing? I wish I could say no, but of course I was! I was fine when the room was empty and then all of a sudden all of the famous, major network, White House correspondents filed in all at once. That’s when it hit me.

3. What is your parents’ reaction to all this? They’re both very proud. My dad loves everything about it. My mom, however, is far more attention-averse.

See our remaining few questions…

Read more

Tucker Carlson Dubs Politico the ‘Rich Kids Camp in Meatballs’

After Politico wrote a story highlighting a 16-year-old intern from The Daily Caller posing a question at a White House briefing to White House Spokesman Jay Carney, the Washington Twittersphere went wild. And oh, the outrage that followed. Politico reporters, in particular, had condescending reactions and couldn’t fathom why The Daily Caller would allow a 16-year-old kid preposterously named Gabe Finger to be its White House reporter for the day.

In a story by Politico‘s Jennifer Epstein, she wrote that it’s “rare” for interns attending the White House briefings to ask questions and rarer still for them to be called on. Finger, who had been standing in a reserved area in the briefing room where he was not supposed to be standing, asked about George Zimmerman receiving death threats and then followed up by asking if the family was on their own. Carney snapped, “You can editorialize all you want, and I’m sure that you will, but that’s a ridiculous statement.”

Pissing off the White House Press Secretary. Score?!

“The conservative blog Daily Caller sent a high school junior to the White House briefing today,” cracked Politico congressional reporter Jake Sherman on Twitter. The Daily Caller is not a “blog” any more than Politico is a “a liberal blog based in Virginia,” which is what Daily Caller‘s Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson calls it. Politico‘s White House Correspondent Glenn Thrush also reacted to the teen’s question, writing on Twitter, “Daily Caller guy who asked @PressSec adolescent question about Zimmerman? He’s a junior in high school.” Politico‘s Ben White replied facetiously, “Yeah, but they have more traffic than us so you know.” Earlier in the week, The Daily Caller put out a statement and story declaring that they had surpassed Politico in traffic.

FishbowlDC spoke with Carlson Wednesday afternoon by phone. He referred to Politico as “the rich kids camp in Meatballs” and explained,  “They’ve spent tens of millions of dollars, they have hundreds of employees and they’re still losing. They’re looking down their noses at us and chortling, but in the end we’re going to crush them in the hot dog eating contest.”

Finger stepped in for The Daily Caller‘s usual White House reporter Neil Munro, who had someplace else to be this afternoon. “We had a good question,” said Carlson. “Here’s our journalism strategy: We try to ask questions, that’s kind of what we do. That’s our top secret strategy for reporting.” Taking a stab at Politico‘s Playbook by Mike Allen, he continued, “It’s not just about chronicling the birthdays of West Wing employees.” Read more

White House Soup of the Day

The White House Soup of the Day, as first reported by MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown,” is…

Turkey Lentil.

“It’s Tuesday, might as well be Turkey Lentil,” quipped host Chuck Todd, noting that it had been awhile since they told viewers what the White House kitchen was serving.

Reporters: Meet ‘MC’ the First Lady’s New Comm. Director

Somehow the new Communications Director to the First Lady and special asst. to the President is not The Hill‘s Amie Parnes — it’s Maria Cristina González Noguera (who understandably goes by “MC” for short). She’s replacing Kristina Schake who will be leaving the White House for a position in the private sector. Gonzalez starts in the East Wing in July. She comes from the corporate communications department for Estée Lauder.

Statement from Mrs. Obama…as well as typical sanitized Washington quotes from the first lady and Schake… Read more

Gross Monica Lewinksy Items to Be Auctioned Off: Sorry, Blue Dress Not Included

What Washington woman doesn’t want a bunch of plus-sized clothing, including a sheer black negligee once owned by Monica Lewinksy?

As emotionally devastating as this is, we may just have to pass on the “extraordinary lot” of 32 Lewinksy items examined by Kenneth Starr leading up to the impeachment proceedings of then-President Bill Clinton. The event, by Nate D. Saunders Auctions, is scheduled for June 27.

The items were originally gifted to Lewinsky’s former high school teacher, Andy Bleiler, with whom she had a 5-year affair. Good times. Not surprisingly, it was Bleiler’s ex-wife, Kate Nason, who coughed up the items for the auction. The offerings, which include letters and presidential chocolates and such, were dated during the Clinton-Lewinksy affair.

“Items owned by Monica Lewinsky, especially relating to the Clinton scandal and Ken Starr investigation are exceedingly rare,” said Nate Sanders in a release. “This is, to my knowledge, the only collection of this nature to come to light.”

All clothing is sized L or XL, including some European sizing that translates to a size 14. The lot does not include the semen-stained blue dress, but there is a slightly crushed box of presidential M & M’s. We don’t even want to know where they’ve been.

See the items. All bidding happens here.

The Audacity of a Journo’s Wife, Who Has a Hair Tip for Michelle Obama

AP Radio News’ “Morning guy” Jon Belmont may have a tough time getting an invitation to one of those fancy state dinners at the White House anytime soon. Hell, he may not even be able to get into the lottery for next year’s Easter Egg Roll. He revealed last night on Twitter that his wife has issues with first lady Michelle Obama‘s bangs.

But then again she wouldn’t be the first to weigh in on Michelle’s relatively new do.

Just a few weeks ago, USA Today reported that the first lady has abandoned her bangs after just four months and is wearing them swept to the side. Other publications such as The Hill‘s “In the Know” and Hollywood Life also tackled the hairy subject matter. WaPo‘s “The Reliable Source” was a bit more skeptical, arguing that it really depending on which way one was observing her bangs as to whether they’re really gone for good. Back in April, they even completed a graphic research project on the matter. So Belmont’s wife may have to hang in there and be patient until Michelle gets a trim or survives that awkward growth phase.

Belmont isn’t worried about not snagging a White House invite. He told FishbowlDC, “More than 40 years in radio and I’ve never been invited to the White House. So I’m not running much of a risk.”

 

Michelle Obama Dated This Guy?

National Journal and The Weekly Standard took very different tacks in their coverage of Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George‘s testimony before the Senate Finance Committee today concerning the IRS scandal.

As a student at Harvard Law School… Read more

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