Obama Staffers Smoke up the Press Room (Literally)

Jan 23, 2009 6:16pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller Reports:

Some beginnings are easier than others — for the Obama team, getting in is half the battle…

Shortly after 4 p.m., the stench of smoke began filtering back to the press booths in the White House.

Reporters ran out of their booths to see small clouds of smoke puffing from the top of the James S. Brady briefing room door leading to the White House lawn.

The culprit?

None other than Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton who — on his third day in the White House — was still having a little trouble working the door.

Trying to get into the briefing room from the outside, Burton inadvertently short circuited the electronic door opener, causing small plumes of smoke to fill into the inside of the briefing room.

Eye witness reports –- from reporters who looked on laughing at the mishap of the new deputy press secretary –- said that Burton tried the electronic button which opens the door a few too many times. The door began to make a loud jamming noise the more Burton tried to force the door open.

A security officer was sent right over to check out the situation. White House electricians quickly followed.

β€œHe fried it,” an electrician said as he took off the panel over the doorway to reveal wires that were still smoking.

No evacuation was necessary… it was after all just a small plume of smoke… but one can imagine a big bite out of the pride out of the new spokesman.

– Sunlen Miller

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