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Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Curl’

This Week In Pool Reports

Hopped up pine cones decorate the White House this holiday season, Miss Beazley is lonely, Barney is packing on the holiday pounds and who knew attending church is so expensive?

  • “The president, accompanied by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson, stood in front of the fireplace. The mantle was festooned with greenery, gold ornaments, and gigantic pine cones that looked like they had been on steroids.” — Dave Cook, Christian Science Monitor

  • “After his meeting, Bush allowed the pool in at the bottom. When we arrived, he was sitting at the head of a U-shaped table. You will have the transcript shortly; the only unscripted moment came at the end when Bush ignored a shouted question about Iran’s demand for an apology but grinned broadly. ‘You can mark down I chuckled,’ he said.” — Michael Abramowitz, Washington Post

  • “First honoree was Scorsese. Kind words offered by Cameron Diaz, Francis Ford Coppola and Robert DeNiro. Ms. Diaz said Scorsese’s genius lies in his ‘understanding of the depth and disturbance of people’s ambitions.’ Said DeNiro to Scorsese: ‘If you were directing me tonight I would have already whacked Steve Martin.’” — Ken Herman, Cox Newspapers

  • “Rev. Leon also reminded all that it’s budget time at Saint John’s and pledge cards conveniently were placed in the programs. For the math challenged, the card includes a handy by-income annual gift chart. For example, if your annual household income is $150,000, your ‘approximate annual gift’ would be $4,500 if you opt for 3 percent and $15,000 if you opt for 10 percent. Please submit your cards ‘as soon as possible,’ says Rev. Leon, ‘so we can prepare a sober budget for our parish.’ Which brings us back to today’s attempted pool-report theme, which is sobriety and why it’s good for you. By way of theme development, we note these schedule items in the church program. On Wednesday, there is an AA meeting at noon and, at 7 p.m., a champagne tasting. Ideally, nobody will be at both events.” — Herman

  • “While all of you were still sound asleep (you missed a spectacular sunrise, plus a wicked cool pattern of vapor trails in the cold blue sky over the White House), your pool was herded into press vans on the South Lawn. Your commander in chief, unlike you, was not abed (no visions of sugarplums dancing in his head). He was in the Sit Room at 7:30 a.m. (not clear if there was a ‘situation,’ or whether he was there in a suit, his biking outfit, or a bathrobe). No word if he talked on the Maxwell Smart Code of Silence phone there, either.” — Joseph Curl, Washington Times

  • Two Marine One choppers flew the river as the motorcade crossed the bridge, fueling speculation that the President would, as rumored, head off to catch the noon Army-Navy game in Baltimore. But as The Most Powerful Man in the World waited at the light at 14th and C Street, press wrangler Chris Byrne said nuh uh, full lid coming. As the stream of suspicious black vehicles turned onto Pennsylvania Avenue, the standers on the sidewalks figured out who was behind the tinted windows of the SUV loaded with Trek bikes, and waved. It was noted in the Press One van that every one of them waved with all five fingers. Back at the White House, Miss Beazley sat alone in the sun on the South Lawn next to a soccer ball, and got quite yappy as passersby petted the portly Barney.” — Curl

  • Ward’s Baby: The Back Story

    A couple of reporters for The Washington Times had a hectic day yesterday. It all started when the White House announced a surprise press conference by the president. With senior White House correspondent Joseph Curl having just moved to the presidential campaigns, that left Jon Ward to cover the presser.

    But Curl got an e-mail from the White House asking if he’d be at the event. No, he said back, Ward’ll be there. But then another White House message came back: “Don’t think Ward can make it this time. Looks like his wife is having the baby.”

    A flurry of phone calls followed; Curl was across town covering Rudy Giuliani, who was speaking at the Club for Growth meeting at the Grand Hyatt. Ward was heading to the doctor with his wife, Ali, and then, it turned out, over to the hospital. Curl got there in time, and even got a question in to the president.

    Curl Switches Beats

    Joseph Curl, senior White House correspondent for The Washington Times, is moving on from the beat he’s covered for nearly seven years. Word is that he is jumping over to cover the 2008 presidential campaigns full time for the paper, focusing on the GOP slate of candidates, effective immediately.

    Curl, who writes some of the more colorful pool reports in the biz (he actually won a FishbowlDC contest on the subject), has covered President Bush since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2001.

    Curl tells FishbowlDC that, as he ditches the White House charter’s first-class pod for the back seat of a campaign bus, he only has one regret: He traveled to 49 states with Bush…but not Vermont. “And now I’m trading Hanoi and Sydney for Des Moines and Manchester, but this is going to be a blast.”

    Question: Is this a record for a print reporter covering the president for the same newspaper? David Jackson was there in 2001 but moved from the Dallas Morning News to USA Today. Ed Chen left the LA Times and is now with Bloomberg.

    This Week In Pool Reports

    Tourists complicate a presidential car ride, POTUS speaks out on Libby, FLOTUS looks “hip” and Maine experiences a Russian invasion.

  • “POTUS’s little pre-4th afternoon jaunt to Beltsville was significantly complicated by holiday beachgoers and — we were told — a traffic accident. The trip to Beltsville ended up taking about an hour and 10 minutes, compared to 30-35 minutes on typical weekends. It was literally a crawl for the first half hour or so. For the return trip police held traffic off the parkway at least momentarily, significantly speeding our progress.” — John D. McKinnon, Wall Street Journal

  • “He took two questions, both on Libby. In response to the first, he declined to rule out a complete pardon for Libby at a later time. ‘As to the future I rule nothing in and nothing out,’ he said. But he also reiterated that he thought Libby’s non-prison punishments should stand. He described the commutation of prison sentence as a ‘very difficult decision.’ He reiterated that Libby’s punishment was ‘severe.’ He said he took into consideration Libby’s background and service to his country.” — McKinnon

  • “Fresh from his face-to-face with leader-for-life Hugo Chavez — in which the Russian president nodded grinningly as the Venezuelan president told him ‘the empire must understand that it cannot dominate the world’ — Vladimir Putin today came to the empire to visit its soon-to-depart, lame-duck president at dad’s place. And the former KGB man with the see-through soul was all smiles, presenting bouquets of flowers to first lady Laura Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush, double kissing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and heading out (without your pool) for a boat ride with the Most Powerful Man in the World — and his dad.” — Joseph Curl, Washington Times

  • “As the pool milled about near the flag pole (whipping in the wind, four flags: U.S., presidential seal, Texas, Maine), Barbara appeared at the door of the main residence, stepping out to chat with a few people gathered at the circular driveway, including Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin. At about 5:30, Rice and FLOTUS came out another door, walked down a driveway, and
    posed for pictures with Barbara (Hagin the shooter). FLOTUS was wearing a quite hip Hoodie, Condi, an orange sweater and white slacks.” — Curl

  • “Last: The little squire of Kennebunkport has gone Cyrillic — everywhere, signs are written in Russian (including the Clam Shack, with it’s 1-lb. ‘cahabny 43 onapa’ (lobster 43 roll) at $15.50 — a bargain for Russians with phonies Franklins). Stuck in the roll: A U.S. and Russian flag on toothpicks. On Saturday, a trio of Russian press poolers (wearing their official badges) shot everything — a pair of black bikers parked by Dock Square (‘Look, Boris, black people! In Maine!); the village’s lone horse-and-buggy carriage (‘Well, the last superpower is still horse-powered, hmm?’) and even took a picture of your pooler eating a cahabny roll, which
    he expects landed well in the motherland.” — Curl

  • “As the press walked out, the pool passed a sign that said: ‘CAUTION: PRESIDENT ON SEGWAY — SLOW DOWN.’” — Curl

  • Wolffe on the Queen’s Visit

    From Joseph Curl, writing for White House Weekly (unavailable online):

      Three White House reporters were among the 130 guests this week at President Bush’s white-tie state dinner to honor Queen Elizabeth II, and one said afterward that they all felt a bit like fish out of water.

      “I’m sure we all thought,’Can you believe we’re actually here, doing this?’ ” said Richard Wolffe of Newsweek, a Brit who was lucky enough to snag a ticket to the social event of the century (at least so far).

      The other reporters who attended the state dinner were Steve Holland of Reuters and David Gregory of NBC News. But the White House Weekly went to Wolffe to get a fill on the evening.

      First, how do you even prepare for such an event?

      “I do not own a white tie and tails; I admit it, I had to rent one,” he said, noting that there are a few shops that specialize in such attire on L Street near the White House. He paid “a hundred and something bucks” for his formal rental.

      “I’ve never worn one before, and I doubt that I’ll ever wear one again. But I’m sure the queen can distinguish between tails that are owned and tails that are rented. My wife does, however, own her long dress, although she borrowed the diamonds,” Wolffe said.

      He first got wind of the possibility that he might be invited to the state dinner about a month ago. But it was all very tentative: “Well, you know, it could happen; don’t want to get too excited, don’t tell your wife yet.”

      “I didn’t lobby for it–unlike some people,” he said. (The White House Weekly, speaking this week to a little White House birdie, heard that there were several reporters pushing hard to be included in the elite crowd. No one would name names, of course, but for the record, this reporter was not one of them.

      How were your colleagues in the press, as you walked up the red carpet?

      “A couple of things were weird, being on the other side of the rope line. Walking into a wall of cameras–it does take you by surprise. A couple of photographers were less than respectful,” he said with a laugh.

      Still, all his editors “wanted to know about the food. I was very rude about it–I’ll never get invited again.”

    This Week In Pool Reports

    Another slow week for the pool. President Bush has a quiet Easter Sunday, gives Shadegg a shout out and consults Bloomberg’s Ed Chen on his speech.

  • “Before leaving Yuma, the president met with the family of a fallen Marine. No other details provided. At the base before takeoff, Bush worked a fenceline of cheering, enthusiastic base personnel, most of them in camo. He shook hands and posed for pictures, his back drenched in sweat. Turning to head up the steps of the plane, Bush spotted Ed Chen of Bloomberg. ‘Hey Ed, did you hear my speech?’ Bush asked.” — Julie Mason, Houston Chronicle

  • “After a left on Avenue E, your pool could see a huge Mexican flag waving in the wind. Past a prison (signs around it said: ‘State Prison — Do Not stop For Hitchhikers’).” — Joseph Curl, Washington Times

  • “As the pool was led away, Bush yelled ‘Shadegg, waddaya think?’ The president then headed to the speech. There was virtually no one on the streets, and no one along the long stretches of desert highway. A group of about a dozen people, one waving a small U.S. flag, stood by Desert Valley mortuary. A few miles later, in a small field, a foal ran circles around his mother, who looked bemused.” — Curl

  • “During the part of the service where congregants are encouraged to greet one another, POTUS strayed far from his seat to shake hands, and at one point looked over his shoulder by Graves is everyone else was back in place and said: ‘I’m breaking the rules, I know.’” — Michael Fletcher, Washington Post

  • “Today is Day 64 — the 64th day since POTUS announced his request for funds. And, he said, the Democratic leadership has spent 64 days passing legislation ‘that would undercut our troops’ because it contains ‘arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal from Iraq.’” –
    Linda Feldmann, The Christian Science Monitor

  • “There were about 120 American Legion guests in the hall, many of them elderly vets from Korean War and World War II. Bush’s 37-minute speech was followed by a standing ovation. After speech, Bush greeted audience members in front row.” — Feldman

  • This Week In Pool Reports

    Vice President Cheney is a not so secret “VSAO”, warm is a very subjective state of mind, there is a flurry of activity at the Rove household and what makes POTUS’s hands so soft?

  • “A very ‘senior administration official,’ one who might, say, ride in a black limousine with D.C. license plates 800-200, fired out of the Executive Drive-way at 10:44 a.m. for a six-minute bounce to the Omni, shooting down a closed-off E Street Expressway to Rock Creek Parkway (where a jogger ran with one arm up, one finger extended, apparently testing for a head wind) and up onto Calvert Street. A black Suburban rode the entire way with the back hatch and side windows open; clearly visible, men in black with very large guns. The ‘VSAO’ entered through the back door at 10: 50 and =as on stage in the Regency Ballroom at 10:56. … OK, it was Cheney, Vice President Dick Cheney. Sheesh.” — Joseph Curl, Washington Times

  • “The vice president thanked the crowd of 1,200, mostly men hearing those little VFW hats, for the ‘warm welcome.’ Warm, if he considers “tepid” warm. Some could say ‘cool;’ they applauded for about 20 seconds, then sat.” — Curl

  • President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush left the White House at 6:20 a.m. and were driven to dinner at the home of Karl and Darby Rove in the upscale Palisades neighborhood of Washington. Your pooler sent Mr. Rove a playful e-mail asking if he would mind sending a doggy bag to the press vans waiting outside. Sure enough, a short while later, an emissary arrived bearing gifts — sausage and quail wings. These were eagerly accepted, despite the fact that by now the pool was already scarfing down pepperoni-and-mushroom pizza from Domino’s. No word on whether all this activity, including the presence of a massive motorcade on Mr. Rove’s tiny street, riled the neighbors, most of whom are Democrats.” — Bill Sammon, Washington Examiner

  • “The last time there was news made at Mr. Rove’s house was nearly three years ago, when hundreds of protesters surrounded the brick structure and pounded on the windows, literally chasing Mr. Rove and his terrified family from room to room in their own house.(Ironically, they were demanding the relaxation of immigration laws. — Sammon

  • “‘Space Jam’ and ‘Jesus’ version of trash talk’ were among the themes of the Rev. Luis Leon’s sermon to President Bush, First Lady Laura Bush and scores of other worshippers at St. John’s Church this morning. … By way of explaining ‘trash talk,’ the Rev. Leon recalled the film ‘Space Jam’ (starring Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny) and his own experience of hearing such talk on the basketball court from a young relative who, according to the Rev. Leon, asked him: ‘You want a part of me?’ (Your pooler believes the proper trash talk phrase here is: ‘You want a piece of me?’)” — Sammon

  • “After an hour-long chopper ride here, Bush made an unscheduled stop to a poor black neighborhood here, wiped out by the storm. Trees upended, walls ripped off houses. Men in hardhats were helping to clear debris; people in t-shirts and jeans sifted through what remained of a house where two people died as they sought shelter from the storm. … ‘He’s very nice, loving and warm. He’s got very soft hands,’ said one resident, Felicia Stafford. The torrnado blew the roof off her house and let the rain in, ruining her wood floors.” — Sheryl Stolberg, New York Times

  • This Week In Pool Reports

    In the week of long pool reports, the first dogs are not eating anti-freeze (we can all sleep better at night now); poolers narrowly escape frost bite, no tears for Anna Nicole and President Bush excels at math.

  • “Both Barney and Miss Beazley frolicked on the South Tundra as a 15-piece black motorcade assembled for the president’s fast ride to the Department of Homeland Security. This was an awfully cold and windy but also wonderfully clear and cloudless day, the sun warming the wintry gray-green turf of a lawn ringed with a frosting of snow from Tuesday evening’s dusting. The water in a steel dog bowl outside was iceless, suggesting that either they refill the bowl frequently or they’re feeding the first pooches antifreeze — I’m going with the frequent-refill theory.” — Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune

  • “No mention of the sad Anna Nicole Smith death story unfolding as we had waited here. No signs of TVs on inside the briefing room. A WH press aide who had been inside the briefing room said they had not discussed Smith’s passing.” — Silva

  • “An OTR at Blair House, with POTUS attending good-bye reception for Chief of Protocol Donald Burnham Ensenat. The president and first lady walked across Pennsylvania Avenue, arriving at 5:55 p.m., with the president wearing a tan cowboy hat. Poolers still had most of our fingers and toes when POTUS reemerged almost precisely an hour later, and walked back to the White House with the first lady and Senator Judd Gregg, R-N.H. And with that, we have a chilly lid.” — Rick Klein, Boston Globe

  • “The president then asked what the federal government can do. Cipolla: ‘I want to thank Mrs. Bush.’ That drew a presidential smirk, and laughter from all in the room. When one participant mentioned a $10 million private commitment that has already been secured, Bush quickly pointed out: ‘You’re $990 million short.’ Kempthorne chimed in: ‘You can all see that cabinet meetings are lively.’” — Klein

  • “As we left, POTUS recognized the presence of NBC’s David Gregory, the peacock network’s White House correspondent/substitute Today show host. The dialogue, as best I can tell from somewhat muffled recording. POTUS: ‘Where you been?’ MR. GREGORY: ‘I’m here.’ POTUS: ‘You’re a big shot. You’re trying to get in the big time. You’re leaving us. Leave no administration behind. Let us know when you get to be like the ‘Today’ show thing and all that, that way we can say we knew you when, we knew him when.’” — Ken Herman, Cox Newspapers

  • “Note: For Any Washingtonian that may read this pool report — If you’re driving on, say, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway or, maybe, I-395 on a Sunday, about 11 a.m., and 12 black SUVs and vans with tinted windows and some bikes strapped on back try to merge into traffic, you, uh, oughta go ahead and let ‘em in (cuz? one of those SUV’s holds a swarm of men with a whole buncha big guns). Just FYI.” — Joseph Curl, Washington Times

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