CNN must have jinxed the briefing start today when they announced at 2:05 that it would start “shortly.” The 2:30 start was pushed back a half hour at 2:15, leaving several reporters outside the briefing room to sigh, “too late to go back” to their offices before the actual event…
School’s (Not?) Out for Summer: In answer to Lynn Sweet’s query about the president’s suggestion during education remarks this morning that he would advocate for a longer school day or school year, WH Press Secretary Robert Gibbs noted that this is a proposal that has been discussed in the education community for the last decade, though he did “hope that my son didn’t hear that portion of today’s speech.”
Summer Reading?: Gibbs was asked to compare POTUS and VPOTUS remarks on opening talks with elements of the Taliban. When he suggested that all reporters take a look at the transcript, he was challenged on whose he was referencing. “I’d certainly read both,” he said to much laughter. “That’d be awkward, wouldn’t it?” he added, and then promptly retracted from the potential for some obvious Biden-verbosity jokes.
Name that Tune: He had almost made it through the briefing, but Fox’s Wendell Goler couldn’t reach the trigger quickly enough to silence his ringing cell phone. “Busted!” he joked. Though the entire room was amused by the ring tone, this reporter among others was sad to admit that we are obviously not hip enough to recognize the tune. Wendell wouldn’t tell. The incident led some to amusingly recall when ABC’s Martha Raddatz accidentally played a little “Ridin’ Dirty” during a Tony Snow briefing in the Bush Administration.
“Happy Day 50!”: The corps has joked before about the n-th day of the administration (one of the many statistics that is tallied reliably by the legendary Mark Knoller of CBS Radio), and today it was ABC Radio’s Ann Compton who referenced the “50th day” as she asked whether the president was irritated by the constant criticisms that he might be trying to tackle too much at once. Gibbs chuckled that he’d have to reference his chart on presidential happiness back at his office. “Can you release that?” Knoller asked. “We’re not that transparent,” Gibbs quipped.
Another Day, Another Helen Thomas Interview: Today’s front-row interrogator of the Dean of the White House Press Corps was German television station N-TV, striking the same pose used by the Daily Show’s John Oliver for last week’s White House press corps segment. One reporter compared the flurry of these reporter-on-reporter interviews to what the press resorts to on slow news days while on Olympic coverage duty.