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Posts Tagged ‘John McKinnon’

This Week In Pool Reports

Katherine Seelye gives a behind the scenes tour of being in the White House pool.

The pool is on the road… again.

  • “POTUS and President Putin spoke a few minutes to the pool, praising each other and commenting on POTUS’s dancing ability. You’ll see the transcript shortly. Putin, speaking through a translator, welcomed POTUS and said they talked today about their issues in a ‘calmer, working manner.’ POTUS thanked him for the dinner and the entertainment. ‘I’m only happy that our press corps didn’t see me try to dance the dance I was asked to do,’ he said jovially. ‘We have been able to see that you’re a brilliant dancer,’ Putin said. POTUS laughed. ‘Thank you very much. We’ll leave it at that.’” — Peter Baker, The Washington Post

  • “Downstairs were two rooms where we were served an elaborate array of canapes, including some with red caviar. There also was wine and tea and coffee, as well as pastries. One of the rooms housed the biggest pool table your pooler has ever seen. It also has the narrowest pockets.” — John McKinnon, The Wall Street Journal

  • “POTUS then tried his Ukrainian again. ‘Vitay yu vas,’ he told the lunch guests, which translates essentially as “I greet you.” POTUS harkened back to Ukrainian courage in World War II and again during the Orange Revolution. ‘In 2004, Ukrainians inspired the world with the Orange Revolution,’ he said.” — Baker

  • “POTUS made an abrupt and unexpected departure from the summit at 6 p.m. He literally just got up, walked out, got into his car and left without waiting for the rest of the motorcade. He’s now back at the hotel preparing for the evening events, which have been pushed back to give the leaders more time to get ready.” — Baker

  • “No real news, but I am filing a pool report before the SAO briefing because 90 minutes after he was scheduled to leave, POTUS is still at the working dinner and FLOTUS has just left by herself.” — Jon Ward, Washington Times

  • “The lesson of this pool report is that those of you too lazy (or busy) to read the gaggle transcript get a summary.” — Ward

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    Who Will Win In The WHCA?

    The 2007 elections for WHCA president (for 2009-2010) and for three seats on the Executive Board of the White House Correspondents’ Association (one at-large seat, one seat representing magazines and one seat representing TV) are underway (ballots were due Friday).

    Who will win?

    Bloomberg’s Ed Chen is running for both the at-large seat and the presidency and writes in his candidate statement, “If elected, in me you’ll get five-for-the-price-of-one. That’s because Bloomberg News is a player in every medium: television, radio, magazine, the Internet as well as print.” Because of this, Chen calls his candidacy “The One-Man Rainbow Coalition.” Chen later writes: “[I]f elected, I intend to engage the entire membership in an open conversation about our signature event. Surely there are ways to make the annual dinner (no, the entire evening) even more enjoyable…and less polarizing?”

    ABC’s Jon Garcia doesn’t say in his candidate statement what he’s running for but does say that he has “a passion for being a very loud, squeaky wheel when pushing for the WH to be more fiscally prudent on our behalf. It’s a passion so complete that, on behalf of my network and with the support of my TV colleagues, I have already drafted proposed revisions to our policies manual.”

    Fox News cameraman Brian Haefeli is running for the Television seat and has an interesting way of capitalizing certain words. Like: “These issues affect ALL OF US EVERYDAY.” And: “I feel that my years of experience and being at the White House EVERYDAY uniquely qualifies me to fill the Television seat of the WHCA. I would like this opportunity to represent ALL OF YOU…I will work for ALL of the membership EVERYDAY.”

    CNN’s Ed Henry is a candidate for the TV seat and says “I am a familiar face on the beat every day of the week, so you can count on me to hear and understand your concerns.” His three big issues are “1) I am pushing for an open meeting of all members of the association this summer to begin a dialogue on how to improve our annual dinner.” “2) Access, access, access.” “3) Finally, I will work hard to make sure all of the inevitable kinks are worked out in the new briefing room.”

    The WSJ’s John McKinnon is running for the at-large board seat and for president and he wants “to be clear why: people I respect a lot in the press corps asked me to.” He is not “doing this to help promote my organization, the Wall Street Journal, or to festoon my resume.” But he is “doing it to help ALL of us in the White House press corps — TV, radio, print, and online — do our jobs better, so collectively we can get closer to the truth of what goes on over there.” He also says that “The new video wall in the briefing room also could be a source of headaches for TV folks, if the White House tries to use it to jam content down our throats.” He says that his “decent relations” with the Bush administration make him a good candidate for the job. He’ll also “try not to screw up.”

    U.S. News & World Reports’ Ken Walsh is running for the magazine seat and believes that “the board should be more than a dinner committee.”

    Perhaps the most interesting candidate statement comes from Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe, who is running for both the magazine seat and for president. His candidate statement is really Wolffe’s treastise on the state of the news media. He begins his candidate statement with, “Let’s face it: we’re under attack.” He continues: “[W]e, as the White House press corps, are on the receiving end of a concerted campaign by political partisans on both sides. We could just pretend like this storm is going to pass; but it’s not…Now is the time to stand up for who we are and what we do.” First thing on the agenda? “Well how about defending the annual dinner for a start…Some people say that we’re compromised by going to dinner with our sources. Really? Does anyone seriously think we should confine ourselves to the briefing room? Under those rules, military reporters should avoid lunch with the troops.” Later, Wolffe says, “Other people say we’re biased — either to the left, or to the rigth. I’ve worked overseas, where a partisan press is the norm. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. By any measure, I believe we do a better job by being dogged and combative, but also non-partisan, balanced and accurate.” Wolffe ends: “This is a new era and we need new faces on the board.”

    Who’s got your vote?

    This Week In Pool Reports

    Another week on the road for the poolers, and it seems the highlight was Bruce Willis circa 1998.

  • “POTUS departed the hacienda at 10:07 p.m. local time for an uneventful motorcade back to his hotel, arriving at 10:24 p.m. Before leaving, the pool got a head start celebrating the popular and oh-so-wise-for-his-age Chris Edwards’s transition into his fourth decade. A piece of chocolate cake with a candle in it was presented on a plate inscribed in icing: ‘Felicidades. 30 Anos. Chris.’ Felicidades, Chris!” — Peter Baker, Washington Post

  • “Mr. Gallareta happened to be hanging out near the pool at the end literally — it’s the first time I’ve seen a pool hold with a real pool — and he told your pooler the president was interested in everything, but asked in particular about how much of the site is original? Mr. Gallareta said it’s all original stone, but in some cases buildings were deconstructed using the original stone and asked how much of the site has been excavated and preserved.” — Stephen Dinan, Washington Times

  • “Toasts: a mini-pool was escorted back to the main building for toasts before the working lunch. The setting was spectacular, a veranda with all the arched windows opened to reveal another courtyard, this one containing a long rectangular stone pool with a smaller circular one at the end. Half-pots of orchids lined the walls. The Calderon toast was in Spanish and wasn’t translated for the pool — it appeared that POTUS had a translator seated next to him. In his toast, POTUS said their meeting was ‘constructive.’” –
    John McKinnon, Wall Street Journal

  • “The pool traveled on one of a pair of Navy choppers, taking off at 9:09 a.m. and cruising over green rolling fields as hydraulic fluid leaked on a few unfortunate poolers.” — Baker

  • “The ranch is a white house with green trim that to the untrained eyes of your poolers resembled a Bavarian or Swiss chalet. Perched on the water amid a lush expanse of trees, it was a far cry from Crawford. Two small speedboats were parked in a carport of sorts on the side of the house.” — Baker

  • “Meanwhile, it was movie throwback night in the press cabin: The original Die Hard (1988), released back when Bruce Willis had some hair and gas was a mere 74.9 cents per gallon — in Los Angeles. Yippie-ki-aaaay ….!” — David Jackson, USA Today

  • We had a long, hot wait in the sun but eventually, Bush and Lula appeared, surrounded by aides, and wearing white ‘Petrobras’ hard hats. Bush in his shirtsleeves, Lula in a short jacket that looked like a windbreaker. They walked along the line of exhibits, with Bush picking up a stalk of castor seed, fingering some sunflower seeds while unidentified officials and Lula spoke emphatically. Your pool heardalmost none of it, thanks to the engine noise from the nearby idling limo.” — Maura Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

  • This Week In Pool Reports

    In this week’s episode, FLOTUS makes a fashion faux pas, President Bush gets to live out his childhood dreams and it seems there is room for romance in the White House.

  • “Important wardrobe note: FLOTUS was wearing a torrid red outfit, to frontrun tomorrow’s wear-red day to fight heart disease. Kind of a waffle-texture fabric.” — John McKinnon, Wall Street Journal and Matt Stearns, McClatchy Newspapers

  • “POTUS garnered big laughs from the audience when, apparently in need of coffee at the early hour, stood from his seat, walked to his right to Gen. Pace‘s seat, grabbed a silver coffee urn from in front of Pace and brought it back to his seat to fill his cup. POTUS then returned to Pace’s seat with urn and poured Pace a cup. Pace stood and shook POTUS’s hand in exaggerated and humorous gratitude.” — McKinnon and Stearns

  • “The main event: At the end of the tour, the president climbed aboard a tractor, similar to those you saw at the speech site, told the pool ‘I would suggest moving back. I’m about to crank this sucker up,’ and with that he did. He moved it forward about 20 feet, then backed it into a turn, and straightened it out. When done, he stepped out of the cab, said, ‘oh, yeah,’ and responded with a sheepish grin, and a shrug of his shoulders as though saying ‘what did you expect,’ when a pooler shouted ‘we thought you were kidding.’ In short, the tractor drive, a dream come true for any American male, brought out the inner boy in the president.” — Jim Gerstenzang, Los Angeles Times

  • “POTUS, FLOTUS and other administration officials attended a farewell party at Blair House for outgoing White House Counsel Harriet Miers. At 4 pm, POTUS and FLOTUS walked across Pa. Ave hand-in-hand, smiling and waving.” — Kenneth Bazinet, Daily News