As far as the podium: Josh, that was sheer genius of you to float the idea of cutting back on on-camera briefings. Obviously, we can't do that, because it would make the White House look like it was going backwards instead of forwards, and like we had something to hide, when in fact I wish we could open all the doors and windows and have every good American just walk on through. But now when we spell out our policy on briefings, it'll look like we took the press's side.
There are two tweaks I'd make to the briefings, though. One, we need to reengage the press by really making some news from the podium. We need to have people literally running out of the briefing room to file bulletins or do a quick hit from the lawn. Muscles atrophy if you don't use them and the podium is a powerful platform that we should be using the heck out of. I'm amazed at how empty the briefing room sometimes is when it is shown on the cut-away shots. We need to remind this press corps that with this reenergized White House, if you snooze, you lose. Second, let's take a page from the Pentagon and the mega-churches and include some electronic and graphic elements in our presentations. We don't want to be predictable, and a clip that provides a preview of the next day's event might give us two pops where we would have gotten only one.
A quick housekeeping matter: We need to assure the young people in the Press Office right away that we need them and are going to keep them and if anything are going to expand their responsibilities. They're understandably worried about change, and they shouldn't be. I understand I'm not an expert on operations, and I value their expertise and will defer to them. The Press Office wouldn't run without your Nathan Carletons and Carlton Carrolls and John Robertses. And we can only dream of having the approval rating of Josh Deckard. Let's make sure the Press Office knows we're still a team and that I think they're all starters.
Thank you for letting me vent. I'm thrilled by this opportunity, and look forward to the day, not far down the road, when all of America sees this President as we do.
And by the way: Let's have a little fun!
Your friend, colleague, and servant, Tony
Blissfully unaware of this security violation, President Bush made remarks in the East Room on this National Day of Prayer at 9:15 am ET.
Also on the President's schedule today: a 10:20 am ET Oval Office meeting with the President of Uruguay, Cinco de Mayo (on Quatro de Mayo) remarks at 1:45 pm ET, and 7:00 pm ET remarks to the American Jewish Committee's "Centennial Dinner" at the National Building Museum.
The Senate is expected to vote on final passage of the emergency supplemental bill today which it seems will need to look dramatically (read: approximately $15 billion less expensive) different than it does when it emerges from conference if it is to get the President's signature. The AP has the latest on what's currently in the Senate version of the bill and what is likely to go. LINK
Gov./Interior Secretary nominee Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID) appears before the Senate Natural Resources Committee at 10:00 am ET for his confirmation hearings to be chaired by Sen. Domenici (R-NM).
House Majority Leader Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi hold competing on-camera press conferences at 10:45 am ET.