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Posts Tagged ‘Ken Herman’

Behind The Scenes At The White House

This is a bit dated, but to quote the old NBC summer reruns slogan, “If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you.”

Cox Newspaper’s Ken Herman whips out his video camera to show you what it’s really like to cover all those fancy White House events that look oh-so-pretty on the evening news.

Journos Head To The Movies With President Bush

From Cox Newspaper’s Ken Herman:

    White House reporters sometimes are invited to what are couched as “social events” in the building. There are informal receptions, there are lavish state dinners with foreign dignitaries and there are luncheons.

    And there is movie night in the Family Theater crafted out of what was an East Wing cloakroom before it became the White House movie house in 1942.

    Last Sunday, I attended my first movie night, invited, as best I can tell, because of the subject matter of the film being screened. “The Kite Runner” is based on the very successful and moving novel about two childhood friends in war-torn Afghanistan.

    My connection to the tale is professional — I traveled with Laura Bush to cover her 2005 trip to Afghanistan. And I was aboard Air Force One when President Bush made a surprise visit to Kabul. So that’s probably why I was invited to the film.

    Social events at the White House events can be a problem for reporters: On the record or off the record? Nobody said anything about off the record, except, of course, the president during pre-movie conversation with him.

    The bottom line is a conundrum about what’s fair to report from social events at the White House.

    So let’s try it this way and see if anybody yanks my White House press pass: Here’s what it might have been like if you had been invited to movie night.</UL.

    Oh the suspense. Read the rest here.

Cheney Learns His Lesson…?

(earlier, earlier, earlier, earlier)

From Ken Herman:

    Vice President Cheney, mindful of his last ill-fated effort to talk to reporters as a “senior administration official,” offered this today – on the record – on Air Force Two en route from the Middle East to the US of A.

    “The last time we did one of these, I tried to do it on background but I took a lot of crap for it, frankly,” Cheney said. “So we’ll do this one on the record. That will necessarily involve some limitations in terms of what I can say.”

New White House Press Briefing Room Update

From Ken Herman:

    Eight months or so ended a month or so ago. New target date for move in by the White House press corps (now temporarily and comfortably housed in a nearby conference center) is June 25 or so.

    That was the word today when officials of the White House Correspondents Association were given a tour (sorry, no photos allowed) of the ongoing construction, properly characterized by the tour guide as “basically sheet rock and studs.”

    Massive work has been done. A good deal remains. The delay is due, in part, to issues that arose with asbestos, structural steel and electrical supply. Those have been addressed.

Reporters Have An Influence!

More from Ken Herman:

    Here’s how the most important new government job created in a long time got its name changed before it was announced.

    The short version: Reporters chortled at the original choice.

Find out more here.

Good News From Snow

From Ken Herman:

    Positive news today on the progress of White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, who again is battling cancer.

    On May 12, Snow will be the commencement speaker at Catholic University of America.

    The Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, president of the Washington D.C. school, said he is a longtime admire of Snow’s “objectivity and integrity as a journalist.”

    “His current position as White House press secretary has provided him with an incomparable stage upon which to bring those qualities to bear in the work that he does. Sitting next to him at a White House dinner last summer, I was impressed with his sincere manner, good humor and the ease with which he spoke of the role faith has played in his life,” O’Connell said. “I am sure than in recent days his faith has been both tested and strengthened. His acceptance of my invitation to CUA, as he continues to battle cancer, demonstrates that faith and strength. We are proud to welcome him to campus.”

    Snow’s commencement speech topic: “Reason, Faith, Vocation.”

Say Hello To Ken Herman’s Long Lost Twin


Above: Herman’s doppelganger.

Below: The real Herman:


A White House reporter travelling with the president through Latin America passes on this gem.

On Saturday, as the pool waited in Uruguay for the press avail between Bush and President Tabare Vazquez, Newsweek photographer Khue Bui noticed a guy who looked just like Cox Newspaper’s Ken Herman. Reporters couldn’t get his name but were told that he was a press secretary for Vazquez. Reporters even tried to get the White House to permit him to sit with the press corps just to see if Bush would actually call on him (thinking him to be Herman). The White House giggled, but declined.

Reporters themselves are giggling about their new discovery: “The Uruguayan Ken Herman.”

Says our source: “The guy was a really great sport–or as much as you can be when you see 20 people staring, pointing and laughing at you. He thought we were making fun of him at first, but after a translator explained why we were all staring, the guy totally mugged for photos. Pretty funny…”

And the irony is that, while Herman isn’t on the trip, he wrote the advance report on this trip for the WHCA.

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