Manna from heaven (well, Hanks) for White House press

April 20, 2010


The actor Tom Hanks reinforced his standing as the caffeine guardian angel of the White House press corps on Tuesday by sending a second high-end espresso maker to the denizens of the West Wing briefing room.

“In that you get out so rarely, here is another machine to supply you with the Manna of Heaven, the Boost of Bolt, the Cuppa Java that may help you get through the day,” Hanks wrote in a note accompanying the shiny new  “Made in Italy” Pasquini espresso maker, which came complete with a jug for steaming milk and a set of espresso cups.

The actor — accompanied by director Steven Spielberg,  paid a surprise visit to the press corps last month after being hosted by President Barack Obama at a White House preview of HBO’s new World War Two series “The Pacific.” Hanks said he wanted to check the status of the first espresso maker he had sent, a “Pony Express” model much-loved and well-used by reporters cooped up in the press center.

During that visit, Hanks chided the reporters that they had not been cleaning the machine after every use, and promised to send a second.  The letter sent with the new machine reminded the journalists to clean the steam spout more frequently.

The machine’s arrival – it was borne from the gate in an official minivan – was a welcome distraction on a spring afternoon for reporters more accustomed to sparring with White House staff over the nuances of topics like Obama’s upcoming Supreme Court pick or push for financial regulatory reform.

” At least someone likes us,” one correspondent commented, as the machine was uncrated.

And Hanks was showing the love. The last machine he sent retails for $1,550. The new one is priced at up to $1700.

And the cups alone add a tone of class to the windowless press galley, bearing the motto: “For music, Puccini, for art, Bernini, for Espresso, Pasquini.”

Picture credit: Tom Hanks, gives a thumbs up to a World War II veteran after taking his picture with his cell phone during a tribute to veterans at the World War II Memorial on the Washington Mall, March 11, 2010. Hanks and Steven Spielberg (L) were joined by 250 World War II veterans in a tribute to those who served in the Pacific theater of World War II, before the March 14 premiere of the 10-part HBO miniseries “The Pacific”. REUTERS/Jason Reed

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