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From McDonald’s to Gwen Stefani’s Nursery: Top 13 Places Where WH Pool Reporters Go To Wait

A large part of pooling with the White House involves patience and what can amount to hours and hours of waiting for very little news. The places journos must linger are routinely included in the reports, but more and more they’re turning into elaborate explanations of where “your pooler” is, or more importantly, where they are forbidden from going. Most often they wait it out in food courts. But waiting also happens in garages, outside restaurants, in cars, vans, laundry rooms and on the lawn. Even a closet, as The Orlando Sentinel‘s Bill Nelson knows too well. He was memorably placed in one during a fundraiser last year attended by Vice President Joe Biden.

13. Vans: “There’s lots of waiting… Often in vans for hours and hours,” Politico‘s Jennifer Epstein says.

12. Food courts: “When I was covering the White House, I came to believe in the concept of pool karma. A miserable eight-hour day at the Andrews Air Force Base food court while POTUS played golf would be followed by an eight hour protective hold poolside at the Beverly Hilton.”– ReutersSam Youngman.

11. Outside McDonald’s: After waiting more than hour outside of a McDonald’s in early August, freelance journalist Matt Laso wrote, “The pool now smells like grease and is daydreaming of fresh vegetables.”

10. School cafeteria: While in New Hampshire, Christian Science Monitor’s David Grant filed from “what looks like the school cafeteria.”

9. Laundry room: “[S]everal industrial strength washing machines were lined up and sports equipment, such as football helmets, were piled up in metal cages,” WaPo‘s David Nakamura wrote in a report of a college laundry room he was put in to wait. On the bleached bright side, Nakamura told us he was “pleasantly surprised at how good the Internet was in that laundry room.”

8. Outside dry cleaners: Pooling with POTUS earlier this month, Politico‘s Epstein filed from outside a dry cleaners. Sounding upbeat about it, she says “It was only about 70 degrees, so not uncomfortable.”

7. Various locations around Graceland: “When [former President] Bush took former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to pay homage to Elvis, the Japanese leader kept dropping to one knee and singing, while the pool looked on stoically,” Sirius/XM P.O.T.U.S. Channel’s Julie Mason says. “Reporters couldn’t believe their relentless, sanguinary ascent up the pitiless ladder of corporate media led them to…the Monkey Room.”

6. W. Hotel bar: This month WaPo‘s Scott Wilson pooled with POTUS for a fundraiser at the W. Hotel where he was made to wait at the hotel bar. “But no drink for me (just some club soda),” Wilson said.

5. Back deck, nursery room and garage of Gwen Stefani’s home– Pooling with FLOTUS at singer Gwen Stefani’s home in California was WSJ‘s Erica Orden. A back deck, nursery and garage sound like terrible, musty places to wait. But it was Stefani’s house and that’s something. We asked Orden if the nursery smelled like baby poop but she didn’t respond.

4. House in Hawaii with pest problem: One one of the Obama family’s Hawaii getaways, Politico‘s Epstein pooled along. She, with other reporters, were kept in a house next door. “It had just been sold and had bug infestations in the bathrooms,” she said. The house did have a pool — Epstein and the other reporters were sure to spend time by it (though she says she never actually got in).

3. President’s Palace in Delhi: WaPo‘s Wilson pooled with Obama and the First Lady for the State Dinner in India in 2010. He said the press was held in a sitting room for the event but called the palace the “most exotic” place he’s ever been held.

2. The Sit Down Cafe and Sushi Bar: Epstein identified this venue as a favorite place of one of the White House press aides to take reporters while in Chicago. A look at the restaurant’s website shows there’s WiFi, beer, wine and sake (on Mondays bottles are 50 percent off).

1. The private basketball court of a Crocs co-founder: “We played White House staffers in ping-pong and enjoyed snacks served by waiters in white dinner jackets,” SiriusXM’s Mason said.

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