Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Obama and Father’s Day

June 19, 2009

President Barack Obama will take time out on Friday from unrest in Iran and a suddenly endangered healthcare overhaul on Capitol Hill to focus on fathering.

The First Draft: Reviews flood in after Obama’s Cairo speech

June 4, 2009

OBAMA-EGYPT/He’s been preparing for this moment since long before he came to the White House, so President Barack Obama might wonder how his Cairo speech to the Muslim world went over. He wouldn’t have to wait long — within minutes after he ended his address, the reviews started flooding in.

Ben Stiller is in the (White) House

May 14, 2009

Actors Ben Stiller, his wife Christine Taylor and Ricky Gervais took advantage of President Barack Obama being out of town on Thursday to tour the White House. 

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.

The First Draft: White House wooing comes in waves

May 13, 2009

OBAMA/It’s a busy day at the White House, with waves of lawmakers moving in for talks with President Barack Obama, in between a press statement and before a commencement address.

Obama holds first Rose Garden event

April 29, 2009

President Barack Obama held his first ceremonial event in the Rose Garden Tuesday, using the scenic lawn outside the Oval Office to honor some of the country’s finest teachers.
 
“This is our first official Rose Garden ceremony — a place where so many,” the president started before being interrupted by a smattering of applause. “Yes, that’s worth applause, sure, why not,” he added to laughter.
 
USA-OBAMA/“This is a place where so many presidents have honored so many citizens who’ve made extraordinary contributions to the life of our nation,” Obama said.
 
The Rose Garden was one of President George W. Bush’s favorite ceremonial venues. The day after November’s election, he spoke in the Rose Garden when he congratulated Obama and said his victory represented a “triumph of the American story” that made every American proud.
 
The people being honored Tuesday were educators who had been named national and state teachers of the year.
 
“Our teachers are the key to our nation’s success, to whether America will lead the world in the discoveries and innovations and economic prosperity of this new century,” Obama told the audience.
 
The president presented the national teacher of the year award to Tony Mullen, a former New York City police officer who worked his way up to the rank of captain while studying to become a teacher.
 
Mullen, who now teaches at the ARCH School in Greenwich, Connecticut, works with youths who have behavioral and emotional problems.
 
“I teach and mentor at-risk teenagers, because too many of the pages of their stories are filled with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, academic failure and despair,” Mullen told the crowd. 
 
“I teach these young adults because they are among the most complex population to educate, and therefore challenge my ability as an educator,” he said. “And I teach them because they provide me plenty of opportunity to help rewrite their stories, to help them compose a happy ending.”

First Draft: It’s Take-Your-Kids-To-The-White-House Day!

April 23, 2009

MASTERCARD/AMERICANEXPRESSJust as the cherry tree blossoms pass their peak and not long after the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn, there’s another hallowed Washington spring tradition: Take Your Child To Work Day. That’s when Type A parents with Type A jobs bring their kids to the office to give them some idea of what Mom and Dad do for a living — and that includes people who work at the White House, the State Department and on Capitol Hill.

Is “shirtless cover” okay?

April 22, 2009

obamaparkWashingtonian is making the most of the buzz on its May issue with a shirtless President Obama on the cover.

First Draft: From No. 54,000 to No. 2 — after a handshake

April 20, 2009

SUMMIT-AMERICAS/The handshake that set Washington buzzing — that awkward grip-and-grin between President Barack Obama and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez at a weekend summit in Trinidad — seems to be great for book sales. Specifically, the tome Chavez passed to Obama, “Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of Pillage of a Continent” leaped from Number 54,000 on Amazon.com to Number 2, almost overnight.

Just say “Bo” – Obama White House unveils first dog

April 12, 2009

USA/The Obama White House on Sunday unveiled the first family’s new pet, a 6-month-old male Portuguese Water Dog named Bo.
    
The black-and-white, curly-haired Bo was a gift to Obama daughters Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, from Senator Ted Kennedy and will take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave on Tuesday.
    
President Barack Obama had promised his daughters a new puppy during his campaign for the White House. In January, he told reporters the front-runner breeds were a Portuguese Water Dog and a Labradoodle.
    
The Web site of Dog Breed Info Center describes the Portuguese Water Dog as a hardy, muscular, medium-sized dog that grows to about 20-22 inches (51-56 cm) tall and is “lively but sensible, and loyal.”
    
“Bear in mind that this extremely intelligent dog will take liberties if it feels it is stronger-minded than its owners,” the center said. “This breed may out-think its owner!”
    
Online advertisements by U.S. and Canadian breeders quote prices for Portuguese Water Dogs at between $2000 and $2900.
    
The water-loving breed gets its name from its long history of helping Portuguese fisherman herd and catch fish, retrieve tackle, and carry messages between ships.