As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Tag Archives: White House campus

White House Briefing Room Evacuated

Missed this. I was in town but having lunch with a friend. Could have had some fun video for you. I have this though, which gives you a pretty good idea of what went on.

I like Mark Knoller of CBS, the big guy in the white shirt, who chronicles the White House via Twitter. Looks he’s taking his time getting out while working on some tweets.

It appears a bomb threat targeting the briefing room had been phoned in to the Washington police. The all-clear was given about 20 minutes later and reporters filed back in.


Oh God. Get some people in the White House press office with at least a rudimentary understanding of English grammar.

The White House has now, at least three times that I’ve seen, sent out this announcement about President Obama’s event today at Georgetown University:

On Tuesday, May 12, President Obama will participate in a discussion with Robert Putnam, professor of public policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, at the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty at Georgetown University.

I live in the DC area. I guarantee you folks, THERE IS NO POVERTY AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY. Quite the contrary.

You like that? Here’s another one I saw recently:

First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver remarks at a White House convening on Creating Opportunity for Native Youth in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

I’ve covered the White House for many years. I’ve been in that building, which is part of the White House campus, countless times. I can assure you, there are very few opportunities for young Native Americans in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Okay, yeah, I know, I make grammatical mistakes too. But I work alone. I’m the writer, and the editor, a dangerous combination for the well-being of the English language. And many of you are helpful enough to correct my mistakes. I mean that seriously.

And this is “White House Dossier.” Not “White House.” I’m not responsible for the nation’s nuclear stockpile. You’d expect those who are to at least be able to construct a sentence in their native language.

The White House Briefing Room Seating Chart

Here it is, the newly approved official 2015 White House briefing room seating chart!!

WH briefing room seating

But, unless it’s a briefing room presidential press conference, in which case every rump will be in its official seat, don’t use this as a cheat sheet.

During the daily briefings, only the first two or three rows are filled with people in their proper places. Beyond that, it varies, especially as you get toward the back.

Even when I worked for a company that had a seat – alas, ICYMI, White House Dossier does not – I would try to move up to the second or third row, as I do today. The rule is, if you’re not in your seat, anyone else can have it, except for the first row, where bohemians and gypsies must never wander.

Of course, this being Washington, the seating arrangement in the briefing room is a vicious turf war, connoting status. Probably a quarter the organizations with seats never use them and couldn’t Google Map their way to the White House. Another quarter are rarely seen. But oh boy, just try and take their seats away or move them back a row . . .

Note this statement given to Politico by Jeff Mason of the White House Correspondents’ Association, the Reuters reporter who ran the latest seating assignment review, which resulted in a few minor changes:

The review took months to complete and was approved unanimously by the WHCA board after careful consultation with and input from all of the affected organizations. We’re confident that we’ve made gentle adjustments that give designated spots to the reporters who use them most.

My God. Talk about walking on eggshells. You’d think they were negotiating to strip CBS of its nuclear weapons.

One of the great battles over the years involved Fox News vs. CNN. For ages, the Fox seat was behind CNN’s. Then, uh oh, a little thing happened with the ratings, and Fox could not be denied. Now, as you can see, Fox’s seat is just slightly better than CNN’s. It even eclipses NBC. MSNBC is a few rows back only because the NBC correspondent does double duty on the sister network.

UPI used to have a seat front and center – long after it had lost its war with the Associated Press and no one subscribed anymore – out of deference to Helen Thomas. When she left UPI, it became the Helen Thomas seat. And when she wasn’t present, nobody would sit there, until the guy who took over for UPI started doing it, making everyone cringe. I thought it was pretty funny.

Drone Lands at the White House

A drone landed within the gates of the White House this morning, making its way into a tree at around 3 am, according to reports.

The White House sought to portray the incident as no big deal, saying what they termed “a device” did not pose a threat. Nevertheless, here’s a look at the response:


Someone was up to something. I mean, I’d like to know who was flying a drone at 3 am around the White House.

The president and Mrs. Obama are traveling in India. Not clear if the Obama daughters were home or not.

Lights Briefly Out at the White House

Updated Tuesday, December 16, 7:12 pm ET

The lights went out for a few seconds at the White House this morning, according to reporters on the scene who tweeted about the incident.

Yahoo News White House reporter Olivier Knox tweeted that @DCPoliceDept tweeted and then deleted “Something about police at 1900 E St Office of Personnel Management for blown transformer.”

Not sure I’ve ever heard of the lights going out in the West Wing, though I couldn’t rule it out. I’ll give you an update if I hear more. No comment from the White House yet.

UPDATE: According to reports, a power line was served by a work crew nearby.

White House Decides to Build a Bigger Fence

Now we’re making sense. The White House has settled on the most obvious solution to its security problem: Make it more difficult for people to jump over the barrier between the public and the president.

On September 23, I wrote, as some of our fellow citizens were leaping over the fence and storming into the East Room, that the issue was not as complicated as people were making it:

You don’t always need high technology or a study from the RAND Corporation to solve a problem.

So amid all the agonizing about what to do about White House fence jumpers who might again make it into the building, I have a solution.

Here it is.

Are you ready?

Build a bigger fence.

That’s right. Employing the time-tested theory, Good fences make good neighbors, I have determined that the solution to the president’s problem is to increase the size of the current fence, which stands at seven and a half feet.

I wasn’t being tongue-in-cheek. I thought it was a good idea. And today at the White House, I noticed this and snapped a photo.

White House fence

The original White House fence on Pennsylvania Avenue is to the right. You can see that a portion of it has been removed and the new fence, which looks two or three feet higher than the old one, is being placed another ten feet or so further out into the sidewalk. I assume the rest will be removed and backed up as work continues.

Notice they are constructing a little area between the grass and the new fence and the grass. Now, me, I’d put a moat there and populate it with man-eating alligators in the summer – believe me, alligators would love the Washington summer – and great white sharks in the winter. Or I’d cement rows of upturned serrated steak knives into the pavement. But that’s just me.

Probably what they’ll do is stock it with some prickly bushes designed to ensnare or slow an intruder, but which will probably do nothing against your average lunatic high on adrenaline or PCP.

But at least they’re taking a reasonable step. Maniacs demanding breakfast in the State Dining Room is not a welcome prospect, even if we call it “the people’s house.”

Video || Behind the Scenes with Obama in Asia

Okay, yeah, this is White House-produced propaganda. But I thought you might enjoy sharing some of the access given White House videographers and get a look at some intimate shots not afforded the press. Note, unfortunately, the nauseatingly fast cuts from scene to scene. This is of course consistent with the style expected of music videos… Continue Reading