Tales from the Trail

After the big speech, pyramids!

June 5, 2009

CAIRO – After the pressure of his big speech to the Islamic world had ended on Thursday, President Barack Obama got down to the serious business of all Egyptian travelers — visiting pyramids.
 
OBAMA/EGYPTSwapping his speech suit for beige chinos and a navy blue polo shirt, Obama helicoptered to the hot and dusty site of the Khufu pyramid with advisers David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and body man Reggie Love.
 
“This thing is huge,” he said standing at the base of the pyramid and urging Love to come for a closer look.
 
The pyramid is estimated to weigh 6 million tons and originally stood about 480 feet high.
 
“Hear that guys?” Obama shouted to reporters. “No evidence aliens actually built this.” 
 
The president avoided the temptation of riding a camel but watched as Emanuel, Jarrett and Love mounted the seated beasts and were  then lifted high in the air as the animals stood.
 
“I just want you guys to know,” he told accompanying reporters, “if you weren’t here, I’d get on a camel. I don’t want to give you guys the satisfaction.”
 
Obama toured the nearby sphinx with Dr. Zahi Hawass, secretOBAMA/EGYPTary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and pronounced it as awe inspiring.
 
And he visited the Solar Boat, a 130-foot vessel found buried near the pyramids.
 
At one point the president entered a subterranean tomb and called attention to one of the hieroglyphs with a round face and big ears.
 
“Hey, that looks like me,” a member of the group quoted him as saying. “Look at those ears.”

Who decided which Chrysler dealers to close?

May 28, 2009

Washington is always full of conspiracy theories –  one of the latest surrounds the decision to close hundreds of Chrysler dealerships following the automaker’s slide into bankruptcy.

The First Draft: Presidential e-mail

May 14, 2009

SUNDANCE/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.

First Draft: royal iPod

April 2, 2009

President Barack Obama gave the Queen an iPod filled with show tunes and pictures from her visit to America. Now watch for those tell-tale ear buds under Her Majesty’s crown.

The house on fire method of crises handling

March 9, 2009

Put on that fire gear, there are crises to extinguish.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, who has compared policy to a multi-legged stool, on Monday offered a lesson in how to douse the flames of the many crises facing the Obama administration.USA-OBAMA/

The waste not, want not, method of crisis handling

March 9, 2009

So, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton created a stir last week by telling Europeans “never waste a good crisis” … which apparently reached the ears of everyone but the White House.

The First Draft: Obama heads for the Hill

February 24, 2009

It’s not an official State of the Union speech, but President Barack Obama’s Tuesday night address to Congress is showing all the signs of a major event. The pre-game show started late Monday, with an extraordinary free-wheeling question-and-answer session at the White House with U.S. senators and members of the House of Representatives. It continued on morning television, where Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs managed to hit ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN.

White House lashes Santelli for CNBC “rant”

February 20, 2009

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Friday that CNBC’s reporter Rick Santelli may not have taken a responsible view with his rant against President Barack Obama’s housing plan.

First draft: Spin after the news conference

February 10, 2009

OBAMA/White House press secretary Robert Gibbs made the rounds of the morning television talk shows today to reiterate what his boss said last night in his first presidential news conference: Congress must pass an economic stimulus package to help avoid dire consequences.

Thinking about the U.S. economy? It helps to be a stool maker

January 29, 2009

WASHINGTON – Trying to figure out where the Obama team is going on the economy? It probably helps to be a stool maker.
 
The $825 billion stimulus bill moving through Congress “is just one leg in a multi-legged stool,” the president said during a visit to Congress this week.
 USA/
Reporters have been trying ever since to figure out exactly how many legs are on the economic recovery stool.
 
“Is it a three-legged or a four-legged stool?” one reporter asked White House spokesman Robert Gibbs during a briefing Thursday. And, “What are those legs specifically?”
 
“I think roughly you have, whether you’re talking about stools or pillars or what have you, three main areas,” Gibbs said. “You have a Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, which is moving through Congress. You have a financial stability package. And you have financial re-regulation.”
 
“I don’t know that it’s tremendously pertinent to get caught up in whether there are three stools, three legs on this stool or four, or rungs, or what have you,” he said.
 
“I think the American people understand that we have to deal with … each of these in order to move the economy forward.”
 
Then Gibbs added a complication: ”I’m not sure … which leg housing is.”
 
But he sought to reassure the American people.
 
“You may not understand which leg of the stool you’re on, but you understand it’s a problem that has to be dealt with.”
 
What about the “international leg of the stool that was discussed by the G20 here … people say that it’s not moving anywhere,” asked a reporter, referring to a group of industrialized and major developing nations.
 
Gibbs said more detail on the international leg would be forthcoming as the G20 meeting in London in April draws near.
 
Reporters were not entirely satisfied with the level of detail coming from the White House spokesman.
 
“I’m wondering,” said one, “when you’re going to show us a little more leg.”
 
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