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WH Pool Report: Could They Have Replaced Laura Bush with a Robot? Edition

the_stepford_FLOTUSIn this White House pool report: bus crashes, botched kisses, needless detours and beautiful views. It's like a James Bond movie or something over there. The naughty bit:


The rest of us did manage, however, to see POTUS pull up to the gate with his traditional two limos to be greeted by Turkey's chief of protocol. FLOTUS looked resplendent in a navy blue silk skirt suit with a diamond brooch above her heart. They stopped to wave to the photographers, then Bush gave Laura a slightly off-target cheek smoosh, which caused Laura to pucker up in apparent anticipation of something more akin to a kiss. Giving up on any more PDA, they walked up a short red carpet and went through the gates.
PDA, eh? Could Laura look any more like an animatronic replica? From this pic, it seems less like Bush was going for a kiss than a full restart. Or is he just trying to hold her head on? We await further accounts.

Full report after the jump.

Subject: POOL REPORT #5, 6/28/04

Prepositioned pool #4

Arrival at cultural event, Topkapi Palace

This pool duty was not, shall we say, marked by a great degree of efficiency. Your pooler had to walk (the long way around) from the Hilton to the International Media Center, then get magged and wait 15 minutes for the NATO pool, which consisted of about 100 people. Then out the same gate and onto a bus, which took us to the wrong entrance of the Topkapi Palace, site of the cultural event. Of course, it took the NATO press folks until we had unloaded and walked past a long line of waiting VIPs before they figured out we were in the wrong place. The complete opposite side of the palace, in fact. Among the waiting VIPs was Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who kept a low profile so as not to attract the attention of your pool.

Then it was back to the buses for a drive around to the front of the palace, which became eventful when the bus driver turned a sharp corner and cut off two police cars who then collided, just like in the movies. Not waiting to discern the damage, we careened the rest of the way around the palace walls and were dumped at the gates to the front drive. We then ran up a steep hill to the palace gates, which was fronted by a curved, cobblestone drive and shadowed by linden trees.

Thanks to NATO press officials, we had missed the first half of the arrivals, prompting a number of European correspondents to take off in a huff. The rest of us did manage, however, to see POTUS pull up to the gate with his traditional two limos to be greeted by Turkey's chief of protocol. FLOTUS looked resplendent in a navy blue silk skirt suit with a diamond brooch above her heart. They stopped to wave to the photographers, then Bush gave Laura a slightly off-target cheek smoosh, which caused Laura to pucker up in apparent anticipation of something more akin to a kiss. Giving up on any more PDA, they walked up a short red carpet and went through the gates.

The only moment of interest followed when Turkish officials balked at letting in the large American contingent that followed the president, including NSA Condoleezza Rice and Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin. After a minute or two of intense discussion, the Turkish officials relented and the rest of the U.S. delegation managed to enter.

After watching a few more arrivals, your pool decided to wait out the rest of the motorcade choreography with the Travel Pool, already enjoying perhaps the most picturesque pool hold in history - on an outdoor patio overlooking the Bosporus, with a hot buffet and bar stocked with wine. We didn't feel sorry for them.

Then your poor prepositioned pooler endured another hike to the palace gates, then a bus ride to the International Media Center, then a second shuttle bus back to the Conrad.

Four hours, four bus rides, one wave and a botched kiss later, I remain,

Your devoted pooler,

Maura Reynolds

Los Angeles Times

[AFP/File/Patrick Kovarik]

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