FishbowlNY TVNewser TVSpy LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser GalleyCat SocialTimes

Posts Tagged ‘Sheryl Stolberg’

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

Politics Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry: The Outburst Heard ‘Round the CSPAN Dials got a little more attention today at the WH briefing, where Press Secretary Robert Gibbs channeled No Drama Obama and accepted, again, Congressman Joe Wilson‘s apology for yelling “You Lie!” as his chamber hosted POTUS last night. (Creative editing of the classic reaction freeze-frame here: http://twitpic.com/h6x9r) “If you talk to the press secretary of that congressman today, I would not think he’s gone unpunished,” RG said.

But Really, About Those Illegal Immigrants…: Reporters pressed on the crux of Wilson’s grievances — how illegal immigrants will or won’t receive health care — and Gibbs maintained that last night was not the first occasion for POTUS to declare his plan does not include coverage for that crowd. He pledged more than once to check with the WH health care team on whether the proposed legislation would affect the 1986 immigration law that prevented emergency rooms from turning away patients — despite citizenship or inability to pay. NYT’s Sheryl Stolberg pointed out that POTUS used “more than 30 million American citizens” as a figure in his speech, which seemed to be a deliberate distinction to calm the Wilsonian crowd. (Funny how that worked.)

To the Calculators!: Since it’s Back-to-School week, and in honor of a First Day of School POTUS admission that math was not his high school strong suit…. Acknowledging he’s no mathematician, RG estimated that 10-11 million or so illegal immigrants, subtracted from the 46.3 million uninsured Americans, would leave about 35 million or so to be covered under the new legislation, creating what RG figured would be a “2/3 to 3/4″ improvement. The WH might be happy to learn that American citizens make up about 78 percent of the total uninsured. So under the rough figures discussed today, new legislation would actually take care of a larger segment of the current uninsured than our dear press secretary originally assumed.

Sweet 2016: A scheduling clarification by WaPo’s Scott Wilson triggered a number of follow-ups from the “Gentlelady from Chicago,” Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times. Wilson (not of the “You Lie” family) asked whether POTUS would attend an IOC meeting Oct. 2 in Copenhagen, joining the leaders of the other three finalists for the 2016 Olympic Games. “Thank you for bringing it up,” Sweet applauded Wilson, who replied, “No — please.” Sweet took over the questioning but with little response, as RG pledged to verify the potential trip and all but dodged judging prospects for the Chi-town bid. “You don’t just hop over to Copenhagen,” a skeptical Chuck Todd added. When Congress Daily’s George Condon later asked about a POTUS remark about “going to the moon” for health care, RG promised to check on that trip’s scheduling, too.

CBO — As Frustrating as BO?: Gibbs had an interesting response to Jon Decker of Reuters, who asked what organization — CBO, OMB, or other — would be the final arbiter of “deficit-neutral” health care legislation, since Obama has veto-threatened that he won’t add to the country’s tab. “That would certainly be a large part of this,” RG said of CBO, which has ruffled feathers at the WH for less cheery estimates of OMB deficit projections. Following on whether the CBO’s analysis would be “binding,” RG replied: “I didn’t say binding… but it goes a big, big way.”

Mediabistro Course

Freelancing 101

Freelancing 101Starting December 1, learn how to manage a top-notch freelancing career! In this online boot camp, you'll hear from freelancing experts on the best practices for a solid freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your schedule and managing clients. Register now!

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

Baby You Should Drive My Car: In answer to whether the president believes American automakers are producing cars that are worth buying, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs noted that the Driver-in-Chief actually owns one — “a Ford Escape Hybrid, like his press secretary.” (Twinsies!) Gibbs added that while his gray model was parked on West Exec, the president’s is back in Chicago. No DC joy rides for POTUS.

“I Have One Question, And Nine Follow-Ups”: Unlike the lame-duck Bush administration briefings, reporters have taken every opportunity to ask follow-up after follow-up in the daily Gibbs showdowns. When Press “Dean” Helen Thomas followed suit today, Gibbs joked she was imitating the style of one Major Garrett of Fox News, especially in her lining up two questions of different topics. “Well, you seemed so generous!” she ceded.

As Seen on TV: The liveliest banter in today’s briefing, coming close to the normally overblown Aaron Sorkin renderings (and almost as energized as last fall’s Secretary Paulson presser at the height of the economy’s downfall), centered on the fascination du jour: Obama’s response to virtual town hall queries on the legalization of marijuana. “I’ve lost control,” Gibbs said amid the excitement. Gibbs maintained that the president does not believe legalizing the drug would be “good economic strategy” but gave little ground on whether the administration sees any value in permitting medical marijuana. When he observed that marijuana questions were filed in several categories on the White House web site in advance of the town hall, ABC Radio’s Ann Compton quipped: “Green Jobs.”

We are the Askers, You the Askee: NYT’s Sheryl Stolberg has kept the heat on in challenging the administration’s “new tone” pledge. Today she pressed Gibbs on whether his crack about the GOP being the “Party of No New Ideas” (artists formerly known as the “Party of No”) was an example of the kind of change of tone you can believe in. “Yeah,” Gibbs said confidently, rehashing his complaints about the Republican budget released today that allegedly contains no numbers. Gibbs tried a little role reversal in asking Stolberg a somewhat rhetorical question, and the savvy Stolberg pointed out who is actually supposed to be answering the questions around here. Major Garrett backed her up with, “Why don’t you answer it, then ask it and answer it.”

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

If your name’s not Rush or Rick…: There’s no love lost between the Obama team and NYT’s Paul Krugman, who has used his clout as a Nobel laureate to voice consistent criticism of the administration’s economic policies. But rather than engage in another one-on-one with a critic, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs replied to a question about Krugman’s latest condemning column with the opening line “Without responding directly to that…”

Get Out Those Beads!: NYT’s Sheryl Stolberg questioned the silence on Mikhail Gorbachev’s visit to the White House Friday, and Gibbs clarified that while the meeting was only on the vice president’s schedule, Obama “tends to roam around the larger house, and sometimes walks into meetings that weren’t previously on his schedule.” Reporters suggested he roam into the briefing room. “I think we did that once,” Gibbs said, in reference to the president’s impromptu evening visit to the press bullpen. “And it seemed like Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday.” (For those keeping score on the serious matters: Gibbs noted that the two discussed reduction of nuclear arsenals and nuclear proliferation, as well as energy and “a whole host of ideas” of mutual concern.)

Under Pressure: When AURN’s April Ryan asked a follow-up about the president’s plans for tomorrow night’s news conference, Gibbs dodged a little, saying that whether the president made news would depend on “the many important and impressive reporters assembled,” to which the intrepid reporter chastised, “You know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about an opening statement. Stop being flip.” No punches thrown; both had a good laugh and Gibbs admitted to not yet having read the full opening statement for tomorrow’s presidential showdown with the press. Phew.

Read more

This Week In Pool Reports

This week in the adventures of the pool, POTUS pulls the quintessential presidential move. He kisses babies!

More after the jump…

Read more

This Week In Pool Reports

Don’t call Bush a lame duck. Call him “first among equals”. More of the week’s adventures in the West Wing after the jump…

Read more

This Week In Pool Reports

Happy Birthday POTUS! Nothing says 62 like a wooden box. How so?

Join us after the jump…

Read more

This Week In Pool Reports

Does The White House need some new joke writers? What will they do when the pending nuptials are over?

  • “No news, some color in transcripts for those who care for such trifles. The president’s first stop of the evening was the NRCC fundraising dinner at the Washington Hilton. About 2,000 loyal Republicans were present in business attire. The NRCC reported raising $8.6 million at their ‘Earning Back the Majority’ event. The president started speaking during the salad course. He said the first lady was busy with wedding planning and as such, he appreciated the NRCC invite. He said next year the group’s keynote would be ‘President McCain,’ and that he, Bush, would be ‘watching it all on TV in Crawford.’ For himself, the president said, ‘I intend to finish strong, with my head held high.’ (pooler: just like Amy Winehouse!)” — Julie Mason, Houston Chronicle

  • Next stop: Kuwait-America Foundation’s Stand for Africa gala dinner, at the residence of the ambassador of Kuwait. Pool was hustled to a holding room upstairs to watch the president’s remarks on what we assume was closed-circuit TV. He apologized for being late — explaining that Mrs. Bush was making him watch ‘Father of the Bride.’ He made very brief remarks on Africa and malaria, then said he wanted to get back home and finish the movie. Unclear if he meant the original version with Spencer Tracy, or the more contemporary, and to your pooler’s thinking, inferior version with Steve Martin.” — Mason

  • Quick motorcade to Reagan building for the president’s speech to the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It should be noted there were quite a few empty seats. Preliminaries: He rolled his Rs, he threw out some Spanish — then said some say he needs to practice his English. He introduced a retinue of Cabinet members and said, ‘This is not a Cabinet meeting.’ There was a joke about the wedding — ‘la boda.’ … Why am I telling you this if the event was open press? Because your pool took attendance. How much things have changed.” — Mason

  • “Not one iota of news. A teensy bit of color.” — Sheryl Stolberg, New York Times

  • “The president’s reaction to Spitzer, according to Perino: ‘a sad situation.’ She said Bush would have no further comment on the case.” — Jim Gerstenzang, Los Angeles Times

  • “You have the transcript of VPOTUS remarks. Hard to believe, I know, but he used the almost joke again. Never saw that one coming. There was also a Saxby Chambliss hunting line.” — John D. McKinnon, The Wall Street Journal

  • This Week In Pool Reports

    Washington Times’ Jon Ward paints a chilling picture of the tornado destruction and Scott Stanzel clears up a CPAC mix-up.

  • “Everything we saw on the ground was intact, until about 9:35. The terrain became more hilly, more rural, and more forested, and then there was a black barn with parts of the roof and side torn off, and a few trees strewn about (the word ‘strewn’ quickly became overworn). Then, on closer inspection, a little ways further, there were the outlines on the ground of what used to be houses. Then the terrain became almost mountainous, with lots of trees. Most of the houses were at the bases of the large hills, or in valleys between them. We saw utility trucks propping up powerlines, and then we saw whole stretches of smashed structures thrown across hillsides. On many of the hillsides, half the trees were standing and half were prostrated, all in one direction.” — Jon Ward, Washington Times

  • “A plant of some sort was half-destroyed, looking something like a partly eaten piece of cake. Most striking was the randomness of the destruction. A few hundred feet from houses that were totally destroyed stood structures that were fully intact. As we flew along a ridge line, it appeared that the tornadoes had danced upon the hillsides and then down into the valleys, winding their way. In one small valley open space, the trees on the hillside were almost all smashed and there was a small structure blown to bits. But 20 yards away was a fully intact large house.” — Ward

  • The ridgeline ended, and the terrain became flat again. More random destruction, and now it was total. Carnage. This is where the hammer came down. In spots, it looked as if a giant had trudged through the landscape, smashing certain places with a club and moving past others.” — Ward

  • “‘Everybody in this area is good — shook up but good,’ Paulette said moments before POTUS arrived. When he got there, she said, “He’s my hero; I knew he would come.” They produced a photo of POTUS. Bush motioned to Jared and asked if he had a pen. Jared handed over a Sharpie, and POTUS signed. ‘Man’s name is GW,’ POTUs said. ‘Nothing wrong with that.’ Your pool was escorted away, while the group had some private time.” — Sheryl Stolberg, New York Times

  • Stanzel gaggled on board, saying that the president’s comments at CPAC were NOT an implicit endorsement or backing of McCain for president. Transcript coming. Stanzel said Romney’s suspension of his campaign is ‘a step towards having a Republican nominee’ but to read POTUS speech as a call for coalescing around McCain ‘would be wrong.’” — Ward

  • “POTUS stood in the Oval between 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson and Chandra, wife of the race driver. The president held a shiny racing helmet that the White House says is a gift from Johnson to President Bush. The president lauded Johnson and other NASCAR drivers for being not just great athletes but also ‘socially minded folks.’” — Jonathan Riskind, Columbus Dispatch

  • This Week In Pool Reports

    The holidays and the primaries have given us a backlog of pool reports, but there are some gems in here, including holiday plans, the royal treatment of the presidential pups, and the “biggest bling” the Secret Service has ever seen.

  • “President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice lighted candles and stood silently in the grotto, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, down steep stone steps beneath the altar of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. A guide named below explained the setting but neither Bush nor Rice said anything there audible to your pool.” — Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune

  • Peres made some highly complimentary comments to POTUS, saying that POTUS has ‘introduced character into politics,’ and then discussed the peace process. Transcript coming. POTUS joked back to Mr. Peres that he was ‘following your example,’ prompting Mr. Peres to remark, ‘Be careful.’ POTUS then said, ‘I come as an optimistic person and as a realistic person. I come with high hopes.’” — Jon Ward, Washington Times

  • “No news, except this bipartisan shocker: Rahm Emanuel will be with POTUS all day today. (No, he didn’t fly in on the plane.) Your pool will refrain from smart aleck remarks.” — Sheryl Stolberg, New York Times

  • “Your bleary eyed pool reported at 7:15 a.m. for a Saturday morning of vicarious exercise. We loaded into the 13-vehicle motorcade at 7:25 for some quality van time. POTUS, wearing a bright blue biking jacket, climbed into his SUV at 8:23. Two bicycles, emblazoned with ‘United States of America,’ were mounted on a backup vehicle. The trip to the Secret Service training facility in Beltsville was uneventful. The exerciser in chief and his entourage entered the Beltsville complex at 8:48 while his journalistic camp followers trooped into the visitor’s center and sampled its culinary delights.” — Dave Cook, The Christian Science Monitor

  • “At Camp David with the president and first lady, according to the White House, are their twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna; the first lady’s mother, Jenna Welch; the president’s sister, Doro Bush Koch, and her family; and the
    president’s brother, Marvin, and his family. ‘Like most Americans,’ Perino said, the president was ‘enjoying time with his family.’” — Bob Hillman, Politico

  • “Earlier, your pool arrived on the plane to find the presidential pooches, Barney and Miss Beazley, scampering about the press cabin. The door to the guest cabin was open and, in a new spirit for the new year, White House staff accomodated your pool’s request for a tour. The president’s housekeeper sat the dogs in the comfy cabin chairs: Beazley
    scampered onto the table to sniff the array of candies and M and Ms.
    Those dogs ride in style.” — Stolberg

  • “Ed spent the weekend at the ranch and was initiated in the protocol of presidential brush-clearing to make a path for the biker-in-chief. ‘I did not get to use the chain saw,’ says the counselor. ‘I was relegated to the raking. New guy.’ The Bushes spent New Year’s eve with two other couples, friends from Texas. The girls and Jenna Welch had already gone. They did not stay up to watch the motorcycle dude fly across the football field, as did your pooler (and as did Gillespie himself, in the staff trailer on the ranch, after grilling some steaks with other staffers.)” — Stolberg

  • “Some color now on the enormous bling given to POTUS at the palace, after the receiving line and before the meeting. It is a large encrusted necklace with a medallion at the bottom — the medallion was handcrafted by skilled artisans with 18K gold, and it has a handpainted enamel American flag. The necklace is set with hundreds of natural, precious rubies, emeralds and diamonds. Secret Service called it the biggest bling they’ve ever seen–photogs came up with official bling of the highest order.” — Ward

  • “At 7:33 POTUS came through a door across the room from us, and an officer said, ‘Attention on deck.’ All the sailors stood, and the officer said, ‘At ease.’ The sailors broke into loud and enthusiastic applause as POTUS walked into the room and waved to them. POTUS then walked to the chow line and joined in with a few sailors — he grabbed a plate and deposited pancakes and bacon on the plate, adding a generous dose of syrup to the flapjacks. He stood in chow line next to Seaman Kevin Key, an intel specialist from Wisconsin, and said, ‘Smile, your mother may be watching,’ prompting laughter from press and some sailors who heard. POTUS also joked with photographer Pablo Monsivais of the AP, seeing him and saying, ‘Pablooo.’ He also spoke to Matt Spetalnick of Reuters, saying ‘thank you for all the suggestions, I can figure out what to eat,’ after Matt and another reporter suggested he scoop up some eggs or fruit.
    POTUS then sat down at a table in the middle of the room, and the pool was ushered out.” — Ward

  • “Having just experienced the joys myself of a dry state in Kuwait, I was also interested to learn that in Bahrain, Wednesday night is when things go wild. That’s because many Saudis drive across the causeway connecting the two countries to escape their countries’ alcohol ban.” — Ward

  • “After touching down at the Al Asyl Landing Zone, our caravan wends down a straight but hilly road thru desert, a few camels on the right, another incomg helo about to land. Tufts of grass among the sand. A group of four horses further along on the other side. Vast areas of nothing and noone except three riders on horseback along other side of fence-fences lining parts of roadway. The road changes from paved and becomes all wet sand. Rain is now dripping all over the van windshield, yet there is a hazy backlight illuminating the clouds.” — Jane Aaron, Chicago Jewish News

  • “The Crown Prince shows POTUS aprx six falcons which are perched on stands about a foot off the ground in the left center area. The Crown Prince picks one up and pets it and POTUS also admires and strokes the bird. The men spend time enjoying the creatures and then turn to a small tent perpindicular to the first one.” — Aaron

  • This Week In Pool Reports

    Some leftover Aussie details, POTUS makes a new friend and say cheese!

  • “POTUS and the other leaders emerged from the Sydney Opera House at about 1:15 p.m. in brown Drizabone (it’s a trade name — www.drizabone.com.au) coats, just above the knee, with different colored collars: pink, blue, green and yellow. POTUS had blue. The coats had APEC Austalia 2007, with the APEC star logo embroidered on the left side, near the lapel.” — Sheryl Stolberg, New York Times

  • “After a bit more rustling, a voice from the back of the press corps, which numbered about 200: ‘Okay, Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m Matt, the house photographer. Let’s see a big smile.’ At which point POTUS smiled, but not a hearty smile, more a forced one. Someone shouted out and asked the leaders to wave, and they all did — all using their right hands, excpet for POTUS, who used his left. It was kind of a lame wave, about halfway up his body. One leader wore a matching hat: Stephen Harper of Canada. POTUS apparently knew better.” — Stolberg

  • “Just a photo op. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was already in the room admiring the view with Australian PM John Howard when POTUS arrived. Howard let out a robust, ‘Morning, George,’ to which Bush replied, ‘How are you?’ Howard then asked, ‘Did you sleep well?’ but your pool could not hear the president reply.” — Maura Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

  • “The rooftop executive lounge had a stunning view of Sydney harbor, with the bridge to the left and a more or less top-down view of the roof of the Opera House. A table was set up in the glassed-in corner with fruit plates already laid. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab entered after Bush to accompany him at the breakfast.” — Reynolds

  • “It took a South Korean president to make POTUS and Putin look best friends again. Lots of warm words, jokes and consensual language in brief press remarks after their meeting. POTUS looked relieved.” — Andrew Ward, The Financial Times

  • Condoleezza Rice was caught in the press scrum leaving the room, commenting to no-one in particular that she was hurrying to catch a ride. But she was stopped in her tracks by Putin, who was lingering outside the room. ‘Condi! Condi!’ he called after her as she strode away. Rice turned back and the pair embraced warmly before going their separate ways.” — Ward

  • “US officials in the meeting: Rice, Jeffrey, Schwab, Price, Perino. Short, uneventful motorcades to and from the Marriot. We now have a lid, with POTUS back at the InterCon.” — Ward

  • NEXT PAGE >>