Thursday, February 11, 2016

Obama Abroad

Looks like there's a little tension between the White House pool and the White House.

Obama Abroad


(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: You been watching the Obama trip?

BE: I've been working, putting out a newspaper full of bad news about schools, tornados, crime in the streets, tension over lack of state funding for Philly.

JB: Well, there appears to be some tension between the White House press pool covering the president's trip and the White House press office.

BE: That's probably a good thing. The press and the pols are supposed to have an adversarial relationship.

JB: Actually, it's sorta silly. I mean being part of a select group of national press traveling for a week with the President and First Lady in Ireland, England, France and Poland would seem to be a plum assignment.

BE: Agreed.

JB: Well, I've been reading White House press pool reports, and one about a black-tie dinner at the U.S. Embassy in London that the Obamas hosted for the Queen to reciprocate for a white-tie dinner the Queen hosted at the palace the night before caught my eye.

BE: Because it was so lavish?

JB: It was. The embassy guest list included Tom Hanks, David Beckam, Colin Firth, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, entertainment by Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth and, of course, a banquet. But that's not what made me say hmmmm.

BE: What did then?

JB: The pool report from the Wall Street Journal's Carol Lee said that after White House reporters watched the Queen arrive in the "state Bentley," the press pool was "holding in a two-car garage."

BE: With the Bentley? Did they take turns sitting behind the wheel?

JB: Unclear. But for the first time in my memory, the White House insisted the report include a note from the White House press office. It said that before the report was sent to folks like me on the press list, it should also mention that the garage was "furnished with hot food, Internet connections, tables, chairs, power outlets and easy access to restrooms."

BE: Always take care of those who are writing about you.

JB: Yeah, but then the note got snippy. It said, "If the pool would prefer to hold in the vans during future events, we can, of course, make the necessary arrangements."

BE: Badda-bing! If you whiners want to go from "roughing it" in a food-stocked embassy garage to cooling heels in a Chevy van, we can make that happen.

JB: A little reminder about whose traveling show this is and whose along for the ride.




Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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