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The President Reminisces, Tries to Fit into Old Frat Jersey

Dude, what are they drinking in Scotland? Maybe everyone's a little punchy with jet lag, but somehow a press briefing morphed into a Phi Delt reunion, complete with talk of a stag party and reminiscences about that time, you know, when Gregory did that thing, with the stuff, you remember? It was almost as good as that time when Compton did a keg stand! Oh, and then everyone remembers they're not 21 any more and he asks about the kids.


Just a taste:

MR. BARTLETT: Where's Gregory when you need him? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: That's right. (Laughter.) Classic moment, wasn't it?

Q Absolutely.

THE PRESIDENT: Were you there for that?

Q I was not, but I --

THE PRESIDENT: We're laughing about the fact that one of their comrades, a very important person in the White House pool went over to Paris, France, and fired off a series of questions to Jacques Chirac in French.

Q My mother emailed the corrected French. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: That's good. (Laughter.) I corrected his French, too -- (laughter) -- and didn't even know what he was saying. (Laughter.) This is all off the record, because this will hurt Gregory's feelings. Please.

More masterful press manipulation after the jump.

THE PRESIDENT: Final question, Olivier.

Q Thank you, sir. Sir, you're coming back stag from Europe --

THE PRESIDENT: Coming back?

Q Stag. Your wife is going on to Africa.

THE PRESIDENT: That's an accurate statement.

Q We understand from African sources that she's going to South Africa, Tanzania and --

THE PRESIDENT: Interesting way to put it. You could have said, you're coming back alone from Europe, or you're coming back sans --

Q Oooh! (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: But, you say, you're coming back stag.

Q If I'd known, I would have gone with the "sans." (Laughter.) You beat me to it, sir. (Laughter.)

MR. BARTLETT: Where's Gregory when you need him? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: That's right. (Laughter.) Classic moment, wasn't it?

Q Absolutely.

THE PRESIDENT: Were you there for that?

Q I was not, but I --

THE PRESIDENT: We're laughing about the fact that one of their comrades, a very important person in the White House pool went over to Paris, France, and fired off a series of questions to Jacques Chirac in French.

Q My mother emailed the corrected French. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: That's good. (Laughter.) I corrected his French, too -- (laughter) -- and didn't even know what he was saying. (Laughter.) This is all off the record, because this will hurt Gregory's feelings. Please. Holland, you're copiously taking notes. (Laughter.)

Q It's going right to him. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Good. (Laughter.)

MR. BARTLETT: He just had twins.

THE PRESIDENT: He had twins?

MR. BARTLETT: Yes, last week.

THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic. Gender?

MR. BARTLETT: A boy and a girl.

THE PRESIDENT: Weight? Health?

Q Good. Good.

THE PRESIDENT: Mother?

MR. BARTLETT: Strong. They're in the fives, I think both of them are five pounds.

THE PRESIDENT: That's good, five. How big were yours?

MR. BARTLETT: Same, mid-size.

THE PRESIDENT: We're back -- where were you?

Q Well, we heard that your wife is going --

THE PRESIDENT: I'm flying alone, yes. (Laughter.)

Q You're flying alone, sans First Lady. She's going to South Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda. My question to you is, what message is she bringing from the United States, and what can she get across that a diplomat or a rock star could not?

THE PRESIDENT: Her message is, one, the United States is committed to Africa and we've got a good record; secondly, that our commitment to Africa is aimed at helping people. She'll be talking about educating young girls, and she'll be talking about our HIV/AIDS initiative. Her presence shows commitment. This is the second time she's been to Africa since I've been sworn in as President. Plus, she's a darn good diplomat. She speaks clearly and she is a -- she's a compassionate soul when she speaks, which is -- she's a genuinely compassionate person. And people will see her compassion. And there will be no problem with her getting any news coverage -- so, in other words, she'll be seen, which makes her an effective representative.

And part of people knowing that the United States cares is for the messenger to have a platform. And so she'll have a -- she'll have the ability to talk from her heart about the specific initiatives that we're very much involved in.

All right, listen, thank you all. Looking forward to it. Klaus, see you over there? Are you going to be there?

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