Russia = Not Fun

We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that most reporters did not enjoy following the president to Russia.

Some pool report excerpts from the weekend:

  • Houston Chronicle’s Julie Mason: “Pool sat in vans outside the dinner at Peterhof for more than four hours. No sign of Bush. Entire movement, during which nothing was seen nor said, and bathrooms and sustenance were unavailable, was more than six hours.”

  • WSJ’s Yochi Dreazen: “No news, a smidge of color, and proof that when it rains, it – literally – pours…There were no White House press or advance people on the premises, so operation of the pool was entrusted to the Russians. The Russians, in turn, appeared to think that an effective way of marshalling reporters was to yell in Russian, gesture wildly towards the guest house, and then shove us out into the rain…We were hustled out of the meeting after 3 minutes or so by broad-shouldered, unsmiling Russian security personnel, who again mustered us towards the door. By this time it was storming, and despite your pooler’s best efforts to raise his way across the street dryly, he was soaked. Your pooler is composing this on his Blackberry, since his laptop crashed this morning. Between the dead laptop and the soaked suit, this would have been a good day, your pooler thinks, to stay in bed.”

  • NYT Jim Rutenberg: “Forgive your pooler’s tardiness but the travel pool hell continues, as, while waiting for big g8 group photo, we were shuttled into a media center tent for rain, told to set up there for indoor photo op, then hurried in a chaotic scrum back for buses taking us back to palace grounds, where we now again await the greatly anticipated photo op of the happy G 8 family. We seem to have lost our White House staffers in the process.”

  • WP’s Peter Baker: “For those cock-eyed optimists who opened this pool report in the vain and desperate hope for actual news, stop reading now.”

  • Chicago Tribune’s Mark Silva: “Not a whiff of news here in today’s assembly of the G-8 leaders and leaders aspiring to G-hood in the palace, not even a public word uttered by said leaders.”

  • Wash. Times’ Joe Curl: “The day dawned dark and dismal, cold and rainy. There was a palpable sense of foreboding. In Russia, that sense is always fulfilled. Always. No news, little color…As the pool milled about smartly in the driveway, waiting for the next bilat, the rain began to fall harder. Poolers took cover in the five golf carts parked in the driveway…The pool took cover in the golf carts again because the U.S. vans weren’t there, then rushed to pile into another empty van. The pool left the compound and returned to the international filing center, ready to eat some coldcuts for breakfast.”

  • Copley’s Finlay Lewis: “No news. Marginal color. It must have been the gift bag from heaven. Like a flock of blue birds, all wearing Russian-sent slickers (well, everyone but your pooler who was too stupid to unpack his rain-gear from checked luggage), the sprawling, bawling pool clambered aboard the ubiquitous vans for the short ride to the palace. Looked like a bunch of assistant football coaches on a road trip…As the pool waited a cameraman muttered unkind words about some “hemmahroid camerman. Asked for a definition, he first demurred and then explained that he had spotted a point-and-shoot camera: and “any XXXhole can use one.”

    Get some rest guys…