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Posts Tagged ‘Keith Koffler’

Gibbs is Bringing Gaggle Back

The ever hip White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs with his easy smile and Easter egg-colored ties seems to be bringing back the gaggle, at least for now. Editor Keith Koffler writes on the matter today. This is good news, he says. But he stresses the importance of not cozying up too much to the likable Gibbs. “You get to know Gibbs, you grow to love him, and then you hesitate to take the tough angle your supposed to be taking in your stories,” he writes. But back on that good note…

An excerpt:

The gaggle provides a more informal atmosphere for reporters to question the press secretary, to the benefit both the public and the White House itself. When Gibbs began yesterday’s gaggle, he pointedly stepped to the side of the lectern to emphasize the relaxed nature of the upcoming interchange.

Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers


Distracted cabbie scares journo

“I am officially terrified: my cab driver has an iPad streaming video that he is intensely focused on.” — AP‘s Phil Elliott in a Tuesday tweet.

Bugged by back

“This sucks: the only time my back *doesn’t* hurt is when I’m at the gym.” — Sean Bugg, publisher of Metro Weekly, the longest serving LGBT pub in the region, in a Tuesday tweet.

Chris Hayes’s ‘absurdeon’ TV appearance

“I think it’s resonating because it’s sort of the reductio ad absurdeon of the entirety of the kind of tea party Jon Gall you’re on your own agenda … that every last thing is a matter of individuals.” — The Nation‘s D.C. Editor Chris Hayes in an appearance on MSNBC’s “Countdown” with Keith Olbermann Tuesday night. Olbermann asked why people “resonated” with a man in the previous segment whose house had burned down. Reductio ad absurdum, as the Latin phrase goes,  means proof by contradiction. English translation of Hayes’s pompous palace preaching: We feel your pain. But no doubt Hayes’s absurdeon [sic] phrase was more comforting to the man. (We’re starting to feel Bugg’s back pain above from listening to Hayes’s verbosus verbiage.)

A note of congrats (or something like that)

“Way to go, @cbellantoni. Please don’t do too good a job.” – NJ‘s Matt Cooper in a Tuesday tweet offering congrats to Christina Bellantoni on her move from TPM to Roll Call.

Kurtz overwhelmed by response

“Thanks to everyone for the great messages. A bit overwhelming. I really appreciate the thoughts and hope you’ll follow me to Daily Beast.” — WaPo and CNN’s Howard Kurtz in a Tuesday tweet on his job switch.

The modern D.C. man: Can he protect an Emily Miller ambush?

“Ahh, see, courage is not about being afraid, it’s about hanging in there when you are afraid. But maybe do at least take some mace next time. Value of modern Washington DC man unclear.” — White House Dossier founder and blogger Keith Koffler in a Facebook exchange with Human Events newest Ambush editor Emily Miller, who was slapped and cussed at during a recent rally on the National Mall. Miller had said that next time she’s bringing a man and mace.

FishbowlDC Interview with Keith Koffler

keithk.jpg Say hello to Keith Koffler, editor of D.C.’s new unuathorized White House blog, White House Dossier, which can be viewed here. He has 15 years reporting experience working for Roll Call, National Journal and Congress Daily. His favorite swear word? I’m afraid it’s “Golly.” Koffler, this is f&$*#ng bullsh-t. You’ve gotta come up with a real cuss word next time, please. (On a more pleasant note, nice job on the carbonated beverage answer.)

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Fanta Grape, because it has lots of flavor and color and makes people sick.

How often do you Google yourself? Once a month.

What’s the worst thing youÂ’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? When a spinmeister pushed back in feigned fury on an accurate and justifiable story, an editor said to me: “I can see his point.” To my continuing regret, I caved.

Do you have a favorite word? Tie: Perspicacious and pulchritude. I don’t think I’ve used either in a story.

Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? Sarah Palin, but mostly because I find her more pulchritudinous.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring?
Whatever my son sets it at. Right not it’s on “harp.”

What swear word do you use most often? Golly!

What word or phrase do you overuse? “I’m sorry.” I mean, I’m married, you know?

What TV show do you have to watch? “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

Where do you shop most often for your clothes? JoS. A. Bank’s

Who do you prefer for daytime talk, Dr. Phil, Oprah, Tyra or the women of The View? I haven’t really watched any of them, but Tyra is the most pulchritudinous.

Pick one: Leno, Letterman or Conan? Letterman

If you were trapped on a deserted island, which public official would you want to be trapped with and why? OMG, now that you make me think of it, they’re all so annoying. I guess [Sen.] John McCain, and don’t take that as a political statement. I’d need someone I could wisecrack with, and he lives for it. But [President] Obama would be the most interesting to talk to.

Who is your mentor? Don’t have one, unfortunately.

Find out what recently made Koffler lose his temper after the jump. (Don’t worry, his dog is okay)…

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Unauthorized & Independent: Koffler Debuts ‘White House Dossier’

Nancy_Reagan_with_Michelle_Obama_cropped.jpg Ex-Roll Call White House scribe Keith Koffler has finally surfaced after quitting his job in January. Today he launches, a site that promises to give readers a different slice of West Wing reportage.

The site, run solely by Koffler, has been in the works for six to seven months. The idea was born out of his own frustration with not being able to write the kind of hard news analytical satire that he wanted to write. “I’d submit stuff like that and people would practically keel over with a heart attack,” Koffler told FishbowlDC Wednesday morning. “I did try, I don’t know [that I'd submit] with quite as much sharpness and humor. I really didn’t get anywhere.”

Koffler said editors felt that type of writing would be “too provocative.” It wasn’t just one publication, he said. “They were concerned it would be too controversial and turn readers off. To some extent, I understood. Most of these publications are straight news publications. That’s their racket. Obviously I was hoping more people would be able to take risks and do things differently.”

He’s now taking that risk. “The idea is to basically try to do some of the traditional accountability that journalism stands for, but to do it with a sense of humor in an analytical way that I couldn’t do with a mainstream newspaper,” he said. “In the business, publications are under a lot of financial pressure, I think there were a lot of editors who really needed reporters to put up a lot of copy on the web. after awhile I felt I was spitting out information without being able to really write as intelligently as I wanted, to take the type of time you need to hold the powerful accountable, which is what journalism is supposed to be.”

On the site, he introduces himself under a sketched picture of himself: “I am veteran White House reporter Keith Koffler. White House Dossier is the only 24/7, independent, and totally unauthorized White House blog.”

Koffler gives readers a taste of his alternative writing: “Now that Obama has a record as president, chroniclers of the White House, including me, will soon be offering up the usual dumb analysis about how the president compares to this or that sublime or scumbag predecessor,” he writes. In this launch piece, he compares First Lady Michelle Obama to Nancy Reagan: “Nancy had her ‘Just Say No’ campaign, and of course she got all sorts of crap for it. …And now there’s Michelle Obama with her Just Say No to Sitting Your Fat Asses on the Couch campaign, also known as the Let’s Move initiative. The effort also promotes health eating.”

One of the site’s categories honors VP Biden:
Big %&!#ING Deal Posts

You’ll notice Google ads on the site. “I don’t control what they put on there,” Koffler explained. “Advertisers on the site will not be those I cover down the road.” There’s a store where you can buy things – Koffler gets a cut of that. Amazon is on there – Koffler gets a cut of that, too.

Will Koffler succeed? “The real answer is, I don’t know,” he said. “It’s basically a new business. My wife asked this last night and has many times. It’s a risk. I don’t think it’s going to make me rich.”

The rogue journalist plans to report from the White House but has not secured the traditional hard pass. “I will be able to get cleared in,” he said. “It’s a little bit unchartered territory.”

Visit the site here. Read what Koffler writes about White House Dossier on his site after the jump…

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Roll Call WH Beat Goes to Bendery

We’re certain Jen Bendery will not miss her White House pool duty, as happened by mistake last week when her publication (NOT HER) went all Seasonique on Bloomberg’s Ed Chen by forgetting to show for Pool duty. Chen then went a little emotionally postal on Roll Call.

Last week Bendery said the White House post was just in the “interim”. Today Editor Charlie Mitchell made it official and sent an announcement to staff today giving Bendery the title.

All the best to Bendery in her new position.
Please note: It was not Bendery’s fault that Pool duty was missed. Keith Koffler was supposed to be on the schedule, but has since left the publication.

See Mitchell’s internal memo after the jump…

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Is Roll Call White House Duty on Seasonique?

Roll Call’s new possible motto for White House duty: “Who says ‘that time of the month’ has to be EVERY month?”

Ed Chen, of Bloomberg News who heads up the White House Correspondents’ Association, handled Pool Duty this morning in place of what was supposed to be Roll Call’s spot.

“Missing pool duty is pretty bad,” said a White House correspondent.

The White House puts out a list out a month in advance. It’s alphabetical, “so you pretty much know when your times coming around, or should I say, when your time of the month is,” the scribe said.

Roll Call is said to be replacing former White House reporter Keith Koffler soon, who resigned for another undisclosed White House reporting position. The name floating behind the scenes is Jennifer Bendery.

We’ll keep you posted.

Chen to Keith K: ‘Where Art Thou?’

angels-picture-angel-prayer.jpgIt’s a nasty, snarly morning over at Bloomberg. Edwin Chen,of Bloomberg News, calls out Roll Call’s White House correspondent Keith Koffler for not showing up.

Pool Report #1
Feb. 4, 2010

Roll Call’s no-show this morning (but who noticed?) forced this rusty, one-time pool-report writer back into action. Herewith, a first-draft of history on the president’s 2d appearance as POTUS at the National Prayer Breakfast.

The motorcade rolled at 7:48 a.m., as the morning sun rose over the Commerce Building. Within minutes, we arrived at the Washington Hilton and entered the gigantic ballroom, a venue most of you know well.

Program available upon request. Headtable guests include VP Biden, Secretary of State Clinton, Sens. Orrin Hatch, Ron Wyden, Johnny Isakson and Amy Klobuchar; Rep. Charlie Wilson and Todd Akin. Of course also Tim Tebow.

In audience at a front-row table (but way off to the side): Gov. Mark Sanford of S.C.

more TK — Keith K. — where art thou? (or a sub ?????)

Edwin Chen
Senior White House correspondent
Bloomberg News

> Update: Koffler no longer works at Roll Call. Check out our next post for more details.

Bloomberg’s Karen Leigh Packs DC Bags for Cambodia

Bloomberg’s Karen Leigh is “trading in golf pool and helo landings for the splendors of Phnom Penh.” She’ll still be working for Bloomberg, and additionally the Cambodia Daily, just now in the home country of Maddox Pitt.

FBDC caught up with Leigh as she packs her bags for a big move from Washington…

Why Cambodia? Credit my overwhelming desire to see monks riding tandem bikes.

What differences do you anticipate going from covering the White House to working in the “splendors of Phnom Penh,” as you put it? How are you preparing? It’s going to be hot, loud and crowded — a lot like White House briefings. To prepare, I’ve been getting massages, spending as much time as possible with the friends and getting on a seriously first-name basis with Jack and Stella.

What and who will you miss most in DC? Late night walks around the monuments. Biking along the canal. Fighting with White House security when I forget my Hill pass. Forcing Georgetown tourists onto the street. Running home to shower after Marine One departures. Our Colonel, Al Hunt. My favorite boss, Robin Meszoly. Descriptions of Phil Elliott‘s home cooking. Making Jeff Mason sing (ask him for selections from “South Pacific.”) Soliciting life advice from the goddess-like Julie Mason. Tennis with Perry Bacon. Never having to pay for drinks (Mike Memoli). The questionable tie fashion of Keith Koffler and Hans Nichols. Julianna Goldman, Athena Jones, Christina Bellantoni and Sunlen Miller, all lovely, who have brightened many a pool. And Roger Runningen, who was there on my first day at the White House last January and coined my nickname — Annette — based on the “American President” character who, like me, was excited on day one she could barely get through the Northwest Gate.

You campaigned hard for Julie Mason‘s White House Correspondents Association (successful) election and now you’re skipping town. What does this mean for campaign promises of White House South Lawn ice luges and briefing room massages? I’ll be working from afar to ensure that each promise is fulfilled. The luge tournament will be timed for the Vancouver Olympics and I’m working on getting Gibbs to cut a hole in the podium so we can use it as a massage table.

After the jump, Leigh’s goodbye messages for her media friends…

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FishPoolDC: Our Insider’s Notes from Today’s Briefing

Little News About the Big News: The two headline-hoggers of the week — Sotomayor and healthcare — made little progress in the briefing room today, though Press Secretary Robert Gibbs offered fresh (if altogether un-newsy) comments on each: To settle a long-standing question from the AP on how POTUS knew Sotomayor would fulfill his promise to select someone who protects the right to privacy without asking her specifically about her abortion stance, RG said the judge’s interpretation of “settled law” reassured POTUS. Gibbs asked whether healthcare can be paid for while keeping campaign promises on no new taxes for those under the $250,000 line, and only Clinton-era taxes for those above that line. Gibbs joked that we shouldn’t rely on his math….

Where is the Love?: Gibbs continued his Washington outsider rhetoric with several lines chastising the order of business around town. He cited the “tendency to keep the final score at… the midpoint of every day” when reporters pressed on healthcare progress. In response to a potentially drawn-out Senate floor vote on Sotomayor, RG said “nothing ever is” short in this town. And when, on the topic of the Secretary’s wide-ranging foreign policy address to CFR today, a reporter asked about the BO-HRC relationship, Gibbs replied: “The notion that there’s some rift or disagreement are nothing more than silly Washington games.”

For the Record: The briefings have progressed decidedly more into the State Department style of addressing reporters by topic rather than pressroom hierarchy. As Gibbs was working all corners, AURN’s April Ryan stepped on what NBC’s Chuck Todd thought was his turn. “Ballots are still out,” Chuck joked, as April is running in the WHCA board elections that end tomorrow. (Though there is no WH involvement in the elections, Gibbs chuckled that he would consider endorsing candidates if a list were sent to him.)

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Sunday Show Preview

NBC’s Meet the Press: Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and a roundtable with National Review‘s Rich Lowry, NPR’s Michele Norris, WaPo‘s Eugene Robinson and NBC’s Chuck Todd

CBS’ Face the Nation: Former Secretary of State General Colin Powell and Harvard University psychiatrist Dr. Alvin Poussaint, as part of the “Children of the Recession” series

ABC’s This Week: Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen and a roundtable with Donna Brazile, NYT‘s David Brooks, WaPo‘s E.J. Dionne and ABC’s George Will

Fox News Sunday: Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Karl Rove and “Power Player” Bugles Across America founder Tom Day

CNN’s State of the Union: Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Mary Matalin and James Carville

CNN’s Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz: Bill Maher, Chicago Tribune‘s Clarence Page, Washington Examiner‘s Chris Stirewalt, Time‘s Karen Tumulty

CNN’s GPS with Fareed Zakaria: “Foreign Affairs” editor Gideon Rose, “The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global” Fawaz Gerges, WSJ‘s Bret Stephens, “The Geopolitics of Emotion” author Dominique Moisi, “Reimagining India” author Nandan Nilekani and former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni

NBC’s The Chris Matthews Show: WaPo‘s David Ignatius, BBC’s Katty Kay, Time‘s Michael Duffy and AP’s Jennifer Loven

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal: NYT‘s David Sanger, WSJ‘s Naftali Bendavid, Time‘s Karen Tumulty and NJ‘s John Maggs

Bloomberg’s Political Capital with Al Hunt: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner

Roll Call TV with Robert Traynham: Roll Call‘s Keith Koffler, David Drucker, Jackie Kucinich and Emily Heil

Will update throughout the day as we learn them.