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

Tag Archives: London trip 2011

White House Bats Down Cranky WH Press Corps

Sometimes, we deserve it.

The latest pool report out of London observed that “Pool is holding in a two-car garage” while waiting for Obama’s dinner for the queen at the U.S. ambassador’s residence to finish.

The pooler included the following at the end of the report:

NOTE: This pool report as above was originally sent at 8:35pm local (3:35pm Eastern). Before distributing it to the pres list, the White House emailed your pooler to say that if I was going to include that we are holding in a garage, please add this quote from deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest:

“The pool is holding in the large garage at winfield house that is furnished with: hot food, Internet connections, tables, chairs, power outlets and easy access to restrooms.  If the pool would prefer to hold in the vans during future events, we can, of course, make the necessary arrangements.”

Obama Pokes Trump, Plays Ping Pong

From the latest pool report out of London, this one by Christi Parsons of the Chicago Tribune:

At Globe Academy, a math and performing arts school with a high proportion of low-income students. Obama and PM Cameron dropped in on a classroom where two groups of kids were waiting to tell them about their projects. A group of kids (roughly 11, 12 or 13 year olds) who won a design contest with what they call “Dish Dash” — a carryout box that folds out into a bowl or plate and then back again.

“Design winners, people,” the president said, showing the boxes to the cameras.

Someone suggested that a visionary investor could pick up the design. “Donald Trump?” Obama suggested. “I have some connection with him.”

At the next table, a younger group of kids told Obama and Cameron the “my very earthy mother” mnemonic device for remembering the planets in order.

The president asked the kids their opinion of Pluto’s demotion. “Then somebody just decided it wasn’t a planet!” he told them. “It’s too small to be a planet,” a little girl said.

Afterward, Obama and Cameron took of their jackets and strolled into the gym to play table tennis.

“Who wants to take me on?” Obama said as he walked in. Obama and Cameron then played part of a game of doubles against two boys. “We may to switch it up,” said Obama. “You can’t have the old guys against the young.”

At first the leaders had some trouble getting their strategy coordinated. Both are lefties. “Are we keeping score?” Obama asked at one point. Obama had one off-the-table save which Cameron promptly blew by overshooting. Then they figured out how to hit and then get out of the other’s way, resulting in a couple of points and high-fives.

Still, the kids were clearly winning when the pool was ushered out.

We’re holding in buses and then heading back to the palace. Time now is 4:47 p.m. local.

Obamas and the Royals Exchange Gifts

No electronic gadgets this year. BTW, the White House claims the Queen requested the iPod she got from Obama in 2009.

From the White House:

The President and Mrs. Obama gave Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II a collection of rare memorabilia and photographs in a handmade leather bound album that chronologically highlights her parents’ (King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) visit to the United States in 1939.  As the 1939 visit was the first such trip to the United States by a reigning British monarch, this gift contains both historic and personal value.

For His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the President and Mrs. Obama gave a custom-made set of Fell Pony bits and shanks, as well as original horseshoes worn by recently retired champion carriage horse Jamaica.  The Duke of Edinburgh has a keen interest in equestrian sports and specifically in carriage driving.  Designed in Colorado and made in Ohio, the set includes several interchangeable bits and each shank is engraved with the Presidential Seal.  A slaughterhouse rescue horse, Jamaica rose to the top of carriage horse competition and was named the 2008 United States Equestrian Federation Horse of the Year.

For His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, the President and Mrs. Obama gave a special selection of plants, seedlings and seeds from the gardens of Mount Vernon, Monticello and the South Lawn of The White House, as well as jars of honey from The White House beehive.  This one-of-a-kind collection is presented in a specially handcrafted wooden box made from a Magnolia tree that fell on the grounds of The White House during the snowstorm of February 2009.  Magnolia trees have been a fixture on the South Lawn of The White House since the mid-nineteenth century.

From the palace staff:

The Obamas were given “a selection of letters taken from the royal Archives to and from a number of presidents to Queen Victoria commencing with a letter from John Quincy Adams writing to Princess Victoria in 1834, a final letter by William McKinley in 1897 to Queen Victoria marking her diamond Jubilee year. The volume includes letters and watercolors regarding the Prince of Wales’ trip to the U.S. in 1860 and letters in response to the death of the Prince Consort and Abraham Lincoln. The documents have been bound in book form, red leather with gold lettering and presented in a presentation box.”

“The letters are facsimiles.”

“Mrs. Obama was given an antique broach in the form of roses made of gold and red coral, presented in a red leather jewel box made in the same leather as the book. In that broach, the leaves and stems were made of gold and the roses were made of red coral.”

Some copies of the letters were on display during the Queen’s tour of her gallery, including letters between Queen Victoria and Mary Todd Lincoln on the death of Abraham Lincoln.

Obama Speaks in London About Midwest Tornadoes

President Obama continued to step up his leadership on the tornado disasters in Missouri and other parts of the Midwest, taking time out as he started his day in London to talk about the calamities and scheduling a trip to Missouri Sunday. Here’s part of what he said.

Before the day starts here in England I wanted to say a few words about the devastating storms that we’ve seen in Missouri and Minnesota and across the Midwest.

Like all Americans, we have been monitoring what’s been taking place very closely and have been heartbroken by the images that we’ve seen in Joplin, Missouri, in particular.  The devastation is comparable and may end up exceeding some of the devastation that we saw in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, just a few weeks ago.

So far we know that over 100 people lost their lives . . .

I know that a lot of people are wondering how they’ll get through the coming days or months or even years, but I want everybody in Joplin, everybody in Missouri, everybody in Minnesota, everybody across the Midwest to know that we are here for you.  The American people are by your side.  We’re going to stay there until every home is repaired, until every neighborhood is rebuilt, until every business is back on its feet.  That’s my commitment, and that’s the American people’s commitment.

Obama’s comments and actions, following on his slow or weak response to earlier disasters, shows that he and his aides have grasped the importance of a president’s involvement on behalf of the American people when such horrific natural disasters destroy lives. Since we deal with the real world around here, I’d also mention that it brings political benefits – and avoids political damage – something Team Obama surely also has come to understand.

For these good reasons, it looks like golf is canceled for Sunday.