I guess my CNN report caught someone's attention. Words can't describe my shock and honor at being invited to do my next report live from our Nation's Capital at no less prestigious location than the White House.Unfortunately everything that could go wrong for my camera elves did. We still got some good material but there will be a lot of outtakes on my personal blog this time.
Air Force One was down for repairs but I was met at Reagan National by the Presidential helicopter. I figured I needed to dress a little more formally for this report than the last one, so I went with silk gloves and stockings. No one complained. I promise you the Marines were saluting with more than just their right hands.
I'm not sure how well known it is but there are actually three identical choppers. All three fly at the same time for security, since no one can know for sure which one the President is on. We grabbed this quick shot while waiting for our Secret Service Escort. The fellow on the left there was my personal Secret Service Agent for the day, Steve. Keep an eye on him, you'll be seeing a lot of him in this report. Steve spent the entire day keeping an eye on me. I even handed him the camera for the last shot.
After disembarking I was whisked to the security station for a mandatory once over. Since there weren't many places to hide anything, I got through with a quick grope. . .er. . .pat down from the female agent seen here. I think her name was Stephanie. She was very professional. . .on camera, but I'm looking forward to a quiet drink with her the next time I'm in DC.
My next stop was the President's office. The President has a lot of offices. This isn't the Oval Office but one near the press room. I was happily filling out all the bureaucratic forms that Steve needed to clear me for all access when Barrack "Barry" Obama himself dropped by! He couldn't stay for long and I wasn't in a hurry to get him into a scandal of Clintonian proportions but we had a chance to shake hands before Steve rushed me off. . .
. . . to the press room! This may have been the ultimate honor of the entire trip. Imagine, a junior reporter like me delivering an official press briefing for the White House! I'll spare you most of the gory details, or at least save them for the next section. Suffice it to say the press was much easier on me than they usually are on the White House Press Secretary. Oh, and that's Steve again on the far right.
Outside I got to give basically the same speech to the general public on the White House lawn. As you can see in the background, they wanted me to promote the Bush/Clinton Haiti relief fund. So I am. Go by the White House or Google it. Haiti's always been notorious for corrupt government, rampant violence and one of the worst economies in the world. This disaster has ironically given them a new chance. To rebuild the country, the government is actually going to have to stand and deliver. A Haiti that works sounds as impossible as the fall of the Iron Curtain used to. 'nuff said.
After a long day of briefing the press, Steve took me around to see the other sites. This is where my camera gnomes really fell asleep. Not pictured here are the famous ballroom, the under repair Air Force One, the limo fleet and a few other things. On the other hand, I did get to sit in THE Chair. The Oval Office, this desk, this chair are arguably the seat of power for both America and the world. Ok. . .I'd argue not the world but I wanted to make sure I didn't give the Fox News fans anything to crucify me for.
Plus the obligatory close-up.
Of course no tour of the White House is complete without a stop at the Lincoln Bedroom. Sure, Lincoln never slept here but I just had to have a look at an 8'x6' white blanketed bed. By now my photography gnomes were already in the wlefare line, so I handed off the camera to Steve. As you can see, the Victorian furnishings reaaly are all they're cracked up to be. Personally, though, I needed a closer look.
What a way to end my day. Live from the White House, this is Professor Outlandish, thinking of you.