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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Smith’

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

“Transparency”… Use it in a Sentence?: A much-delayed briefing opened with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announcing that the first-tweeted POTUS press conference will now be at 8 p.m. EST Wednesday (moved from 9 p.m.). The promise of an earlier reporter’s bedtime was greeted with sighs of relief from all corners of the room, though Helen Thomas cut into Gibbs’s notice by asking, “Is it going to be rigged?” RG promised that reporters will not be forewarned of question opportunities. CBS’s Chip Reid would ask later of Thursday’s Cleveland event, “Is this going to be a real town hall or one of these invitation-only things?” High school-like “oooohs” followed the query, and Gibbs said he’d check on the logistics.

“2, 4, 6, 8, Who Does Gibbs Appreciate?!”: In a nod to what seems to be his new favorite word, Gibbs used “appreciate” no less than four times, and always with tongue very much in cheek. It should be noted that this is usually as he’s striking down a reporter’s question, as when he told NBC’s Chuck Todd, “I appreciate the attention with which you’re paying the president’s words.”

Continued after the jump, with video of Helen Thomas and Gibb’s exchange on whether or not reporters would be given a heads up if they’d be called on at Wednesday’s presser, courtesy of Politico

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Creative Coalition Kicks Off WHCD Weekend With Small Dinner


Anne Schroeder Mullins, Christine Delargy, Kiki Ryan, Stephanie Green and Kate Michael

FBDC kicked off WHCD weekend Thursday night with a small dinner hosted by Lani Hay and Mark Smith in honor of the Creative Coalition- Connie Britton, Ellen Burstyn, Tim Daly, Dana Delany, Barry Levinson, Kerry Washington, Tichina Arnold, Matthew Settle and Rachael Leigh Cook.

We caught up with Delany- her seventh WHCD btw- and when we asked who she was most excited to see this weekend, her immediate answer was John McLaughlin. Settle showed off pics of his baby daughter and Daly teased Politico’s Anne Schroeder Mullins incessently- he’s my Hollywood boyfriend, she joked.

In attendance: Wash Examiner’s Kiki Ryan, US News’ Nikki Schwab, Janet Donovan, Bloomberg’s Tim Burger, Lee Brenner TWT’s Stephanie Green and Kate Michael.

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

BoWatch: The briefing was nearly an hour old when AP Radio’s Mark Smith pitched the first “First Dog” question. “Thanks for leaving it to me, guys,” he laughed, only to be followed by a flurry of questions surrounding the canine royalty’s official arrival at the White House tomorrow. As one reminded Press Secretary Robert Gibbs that President Bush’s pup Barney bit a reporter last fall, Gibbs joked, “I’ve been training him throughout the morning.”

Beyond the “Si Se Puede”: Gibbs enlisted the help of White House adviser Daniel Restrepo to make a bilingual announcement of the Obama team’s easing of restrictions on Cuban travel and remittances, as well as the troubled island’s telecommunications setup. CBS Radio’s Mark Knoller was tapped for his encyclopedic knowledge of briefing room history as he confirmed this was likely the first time a foreign language was spoken at the Brady podium. NBC’s Chuck Todd asked why the president was not in front of the cameras on this epic shift in U.S.-Cuba policy, to which Gibbs joked that he was “trying not to take that personally” but that this was “less about choreography” than the steps they hoped to take to increase Cuban freedoms. Senor Gibbs also noted his very limited Spanish repertoire, and that POTUS “knows a few words of Spanish.”

Calling Captain Hook: The pirate story is still making a big splash in White House news, even if Gibbs punted on providing operational details of the weekend rescue. Borrowing a popular terrorist-topic Bushism, Gibbs ensured that the president would “bring those… to justice” who engaged in piracy. (This line was accompanied by an incidental outburst of raucous merrymaking outside, where Easter Egg Roll festivities continued; the bass from the outdoor music was rattling some briefing room light panels.) As reporters pressed on whether the latest Somali pirate incident would provoke the rebel groups to take violent action against their current hostages, Gibbs countered that it showed “their actions have serious consequences” and that the rescue “could be a deterrent in the future.”

You Can Say That Again: Two pirate-related quips from the seats that illustrate sustained interest in the story: 1) AP’s Jennifer Loven, asked by Gibbs if she had another Cuba-policy question: “I’m just thinking about pirates.” 2) WaPo’s Michael Shear, switching topics: “Back to the pirates for a second…”

FishPoolDC: Take A Press Seat Inside the Briefing Room

You’ve seen Robert Gibbs‘ dodge a question on cable, or in person. You’ve read the pool reports. Now FBDC takes you to the press seats for an insider’s look at the White House daily briefing…

No complaints from the corps today about the stubborn briefing room doors. Any stragglers entering the room today just treated us to the spring-like weather we were missing on the outside. (Rose Garden briefing, anyone?)

Testing 1-2-3: The tech-savvy Obama team has been chided for its slow adaptation to the WH phones and Internet lines. While they seem to have a grip on those for now, the intercom messages continue to elicit jokes and exasperation in pre-briefing announcements. Today, it sounded like “Reception… to the briefing room 4:30,” which caused a slight panic among reporters who thought the garbled message somehow meant Gibbs had postponed the briefing long past his usual delays. The more amusing announcement came a few minutes later: “Warning… warning,” which, despite laughs, was widely interpreted as the two-minute warning.

Repeat After Me: Gibbs ran through several of his favorite phrases in a somewhat uneventful briefing, reciting three in a span of less than five minutes: “One challenge at a time,” “Let’s step back,” and “[Let's not] kick the can down the road.” He also used “we didn’t get here overnight” a few times to temper the economic whirlwinds. Gibbs used one of his all-time favorites- “don’t want to get ahead of” -in answer to a question on the stem cell bill signing. “I don’t want to get ahead of where the science is on this,” he said.

Analogy ‘o’ the Day: The fresh press secretary is always quick to a baseball analogy or other figurative language, and frequently will play the game with reporters who engage him first. Today’s was introduced by AP Radio’s Mark Smith, who in asking about the economy framed it in terms of a house fire. Gibbs ‘fired’ back, noting that one wouldn’t pick and choose a particular room to water down but instead attempt to save the entire house. One reporter followed up with, “Is there a backyard shed that can be allowed to smolder?” No definitive answer there yet.

Still Talking About Rush?: Gibbs, passing through the Lower Press doors post-briefing and in response to a shouted question as to whether he’d be willing to debate Rush Limbaugh: “I’m busy this afternoon.”

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