The First Draft: Presidential e-mail
If you just can’t get enough of the goings and doings of President Barack Obama, can’t wait for the blog posts, Twitter tweets, Washington whispers or even the newspaper and magazine stories about the U.S. chief executive, now there’s help. You can sign up for e-mails from the president. He sent his first one Wednesday. It’s hardly a window on the inner workings of the White House but it is a new way to communicate.
“My staff and I plan to use these messages as a way to directly communicate about important issues and opportunities, and today I have some encouraging updates about health care reform,” wrote in his first message, also posted here. “The Vice President and I just met with leaders from the House of Representatives and received their commitment to pass a comprehensive health care reform bill by July 31.”
He ended the note with,
and then added a postscript:
“P.S. If you’d like to get more in-depth information about health reform and how you can participate, be sure to visit http://www.HealthReform.gov”
It’s not like Obama’s been under wraps. He traveled to Tempe, Arizona, on Wednesday to deliver a commencement speech at Arizona State University. He heads for Indiana to give a graduation speech at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend on Sunday — where protests against Obama’s stance on abortion and stem cell research are expected. And today, there’s a town hall meeting at Rancho Rio High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This administration seems to communicate constantly, but presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs apparently draws the line at ringing cellphones in the White House briefing room.
When one reporter’s cell phone rang during Gibbs’ daily briefing on Wednesday, the spokesman interrupted his remarks to say, “Just put it on ‘vibrate,’ man.” When the correspondent’s phone rang again, Gibbs took direct action, taking the offending mobile phone and tossing it into the press office. Another reporter had a different response when his phone rang during the briefing. He took the call but moved quickly out of the briefing room.
On Capitol Hill today, the Senate is expected to vote on credit card legislation, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is set to unveil final details of the Democrats’ climate change bill and Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, testify on the defense budget request for fiscal 2010 before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Photo credit: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (A likeness of Barack Obama pulled from a recently published online blog posting as a part of a cinematic art installation, “We Feel Fine,” on display during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, January 15, 2009.)