“The End Of An Era”

With more than 50 articles bidding a fond farewell to the James S. Brady briefing room yesterday, we picked snippets from the best, rounding out the coverage with the funniest, oddest, and in some cases, just silliest eulogies to the room that has made history. Complete with pictures and transcripts!

  • SNOW: “There will be a new press room. For all of those of you who have been asking questions, there will, indeed, be a new press room. It will be right here. It is not going to be in a distant part of town. It will be right here in this very spot and the carpets will be clean, the electric — the connections will be up-to-date, and it will be a more congenial and helpful work environment for all.”

  • “Old presidents and reporters may bid farewell, and old soldiers may fade away, but it’s not every day that a smelly old room retires.” — Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune

  • “For a decade, the daily White House news briefing has been televised. Now it is becoming television.” — John D. McKinnon, Wall Street Journal

  • “President George W. Bush, spokesmen for four ex-presidents and throngs of reporters said farewell on Wednesday to the scruffy White House briefing room, scheduled for demolition after 35 years of spin and jousting.” — Steve Holland, Reuters

  • “That the White House press corps should work so close to the Oval Office is remarkable and reassuring. And one can never forget that this small, dumpy, dirty room has been a place of world consequence.” — William Neikirk, Chicago Tribune

  • “‘So, like, suede chairs? Is that what you’re looking — kind of velvet armchairs? Armchairs. Everybody wants to be able to lean back,’ he cracked. ‘It looks a little crowded in here. And so you want to double the size?’ When cries of “yes!” filled the room, Bush quipped: ‘Forget it.'” — Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Peter Wallsten, LA Times

  • “The room’s carpet is filthy, like a fraternity house after a kegger. Chairs are broken and hallways clogged with ladders, tripods and junk. Cables and wires are attached to the ceiling by patches of duct tape. Every flat surface is piled high with newspapers and coffee cups. A rat was found hiding among some debris the other day. And less than 100 feet away is the Oval Office.” — Joseph Curl, Washington Times

  • “Years of wear have left the cramped quarters with broken seats, a stained carpet and cracked walls. The work area also was found to contain asbestos. And rats. Exterminators will sweep the premises.” — Julie Mason, Houston Chronicle

  • “With its familiar blue curtains and theater-style seats, the room looks good on television. Close up, it is decrepit, to put it mildly.” — Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times

  • “Then someone offered to sing “Auld Lang Syne.” Someone else passed out. And former ABC News White House correspondent Sam Donaldson reprised his role as a relentless presidential questioner, refusing to cede his desire to find out whether Bush believes actor Mel Gibson should be forgiven for an anti-Semitic rant after a drunken driving arrest.” — Jennifer Loven, AP

  • “For the remodeled facility, White House officials are weighing the cost of installing a large video wall like the one on CNN’s daily “Situation Room” newscast. It could display video, charts and graphs to help the White House present its case. That could transform the daily briefing into more of a made-for-TV presentation that resembles a newscast, but one produced by the White House, not the independent media, said Robert Thompson, a professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University.” — William Douglas, McClatchy Newspapers

  • “It was built on top of the swimming pool where Lyndon Johnson used to routinely swim naked.” — Brian Williams, NBC News

  • “Like a run-down college bar, the White House briefing room exists somewhere between gauzy memory and harsh reality.” — Richard Keil, Bloomberg

  • BUSH: “At any rate, as you can tell, I’m thrilled to be here. (Laughter.) But we do wish you all the best. Looking forward to being here when you kick off the new room. You deserve better than this. I appreciate the relationship with the press. I know these folks enjoyed the — enjoyed dealing with you — well, another crowd of you, been dealing with you, as well. It’s an important relationship.”