TWT Scribe Misses A.M. Pool Duty

TWT’s Kara Rowland likely hearts her White House press colleagues, but missing pool duty Sunday morning wasn’t a way to show them on Valentine’s Day, making her the second Obama reporter/publication this month to go AWOL from the important communal assignment.

Maybe a big box of chocolates is in order?

When the White House put its advance weekend planner out, the pool was supposed to gather in the Brady Briefing Room at 9:30 a.m. But that changed Saturday. “UPDATED: Sunday, February 14, 2010 — 9:15AM — Pool Call Time.” But last call wound up being a bit early, as the President — who has more prerogative than a woman — decided to head out early.

Obama headed out in a rather non-romantic pursuit of male bonding.”POTUS is getting in some Valentine’s Day basketball. SUV-led motorcade left WH at 9:20am,” wrote Greg Clugston, SRN News White House correspondent.

He added an addendum at the end: “Today’s print pooler, The Washington Times, didn’t make it to the vans in time. They requested that someone file and your radio pooler obliged.”

Rowland, who asked Clugston to fill in for her, wasn’t entirely in the wrong: “I did miss the first leg of pool duty this morning,” she told FishbowlDC Sunday. “I was at the White House at 9:15 — which had been listed on the updated guidance as the call time — but the pool left early. One reporter tells me there was a 9:07 call time while another said they were out the door by 9:10. I’m told I wasn’t the only one who missed the call. I made sure someone who did make it could file a report and then took over after POTUS returned to the White House prior to his Camp David departure.

“Not exactly how I would have liked the day to unfold, but it’s water under the bridge now.”

But sources tell FBDC that the rest of the pool was in the vans and (however barely) made last call.

Rowland arrived on time for Obama’s 12:45 p.m. departure for Camp David.The alert to reporters said: “The White House announced that POTUS’ departure location has changed. He is now leaving for Camp David from the Anacostia Landing Zone, where he is scheduled to depart at 12:45 p.m. There will be pool coverage.”

Rowland took over pool duty there. “Will update when POTUS takes off. And as the previous pooler noted, your assigned print pooler missed the final gather this morning,” she wrote. “She hears the pool was out the door before the 9:15 call time but takes responsibility for not being here earlier for such a contingency. She apologizes to everyone and thanks Greg Clugston of SRN for graciously filling in.”

Special note: A Happy Valentine’s Day, indeed, with another twist of events. Obama is expected back in D.C. tonight. Tonight’s pool is set for 6:30 p.m. sharp at the “North Doors of the Palm room”. Obama was previously scheduled to return Monday.