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White House Press Pool Gets a Shock

A funny thing happened on the way from the debate . . .

Pool Report #11

Motorcade is rolling from the debate venue at 8.39 pm.

In an amusing moment, poolers were sitting in the Press One van outside the debate hall and the driver said “I think that Romney did real good.” There was a moment of baffled silence, before our steno , Bec, put two and two together and said “guys we are in the Romney van.” Blind panic then ensued as we piled out the van and sprinted towards the correct motorcade, which was parked right in front of Romney’s. Disaster was narrowly averted.

Stephen Collinson
AFP White House Correspondent,

So President Obama had such a bad night that even his press pool abandoned him.

Press Goes for Wild Ride Pursuing Obama

The White House press pool was engaged in a high speed chase today – with the president of the United States.

This afternoon in San Antonio, the press pool, which generally rides in a couple of vans toward the rear of the motorcade, was separated from the forward part of the procession, which includes the president.

This resulted in a madcap race in which the pool careened perilously through the city trying to chase down President Obama.

From the pool report:

Travel pool was separated for about 20 minutes from the motorcade en route to the next stop at a private residence. This separation resulted in a high speed, wild goose chase weaving through the streets of San Antonio. Led by a police escort, your pool was led up wrong way streets, driving on the shoulder of highways, and so on. Finally, after cars were literally pushed off the highway by the police escort and the three White House pool vans, we had interstate 10 ourselves at a speed of about 85 miles per hour. (Needless to add, it was a crazy ride.)

But the pool was finally able to catch up with the motorcade about 20 minutes into the ride.

While it’s important for the press to be near the president when he’s en route somewhwere – mainly in case something unexpected happens – I’m not so sure it’s so important as to engage in a chase that may have risked the lives of local drivers and pedestrians.

It’s possible, though, that there were vehicles behind the press pool in the motorcade that had a more vital interest in being near the president.

White House May Limit Despised Paper’s Access

The openness administration says it has the right to limit the access of the Boston Herald to the press pool covering President Obama’s trip to the city today because it regards its reporting as unfair, the Herald writes.

From today’s Herald piece:

“I tend to consider the degree to which papers have demonstrated to covering the White House regularly and fairly in determining local pool reporters,” White House spokesman Matt Lehrich wrote in response to a Herald request for full access to the presidential visit.

“My point about the op-ed was not that you ran it but that it was the full front page, which excluded any coverage of the visit of a sitting US President to Boston. I think that raises a fair question about whether the paper is unbiased in its coverage of the President’s visits,” Lehrich wrote.

But Lehrich said the Herald wasn’t purposefully barred from the press pool, saying local pool duty by the Boston Globe was arranged earlier with the White House Correspondents Association. And Lehrich insisted the Herald may yet be allowed into Obama events.

“As we have in the past — including the multiple occasions on which the Herald has supplied local pool reporters — we will continue to consider the Herald for local pool duty for future visits,” Lehrich wrote.

I can tell you, I’ve covered the White House for many years and I’ve never heard of a publication being excluded from pool duty owing to its politics.

The in-town pool in Washington, which follows the president around and is allowed into small scale events at the White House so they can report back to the rest of the press corps, features many publications that lean right or left, including the Huffington Post, the Washington Times, the Daily Caller, Talking Points Memo, and the Washington Examiner, to name a few.

Mr. Lehrich has no basis to use access to the president to try to control coverage. In China, yes. Not here.

This all comes on the heels of a report the White House banned a San Francisco Chronicle reporter from the press pool for using a camera to record a protest at one of his fundraisers.

H/T to one of our readers, Granny Jan, who blogs at Granny Jan and Jihad Kitty for letting us know about this.

White House Press Pool Standoff With Farrakhan Agents

UPDATE: Standoff between Farrakhan’s goons and White House Press Pool in Chicago ends as “Fruit of Islam” members back away. Here’s the final pool report.

There is an interesting little scene playing out near the Chicago residence of Marty Nesbitt, a presidential pal whom the Obama’s are visiting tonight. It appears the press pool that follows Obama in the motorcade has had its black vans parked at the foot of the home of none other than one Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan of course has his very own security detail who have not taken a liking to the black vans and are muttering something about the “CIA” having arrived.

According to pool reports filed by New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes, the Secret Service agent babysitting the press pool refused a demand that the vans leave and then introduced himself as a member of the Secret Service.

The Farrakhan agents then began filming the press van and the reporters and glaring at them. One approached the van and stood mute until finally being told to move away by the Secret Service agent. He did.  Three agents then came up as reinforcements, talked to the now nearly two dozen Nation of Islam types hanging around, but then left.

The standoff continues. Updates coming.