White House Cameras Go Where Press Is Denied Access

Aug 20, 2010 2:29pm

ABC News' Ann Compton reports:

Every week, the New Media team in the Obama White House produces its own five minute newscast which gets something the mainstream media does not: access.

A recent edition posted on www.whitehouse.gov takes a camera into a staff office in the Old Executive Office Building next door to the White House. Staffer Jordan Whichand cheerfully welcomes viewers.  

“We are in the White House scheduling and advance office,” he announces, “where we keep the president’s passport in the safe here. I’ll just open it up and show you the pesident’s passport.”

Whichand is seen unlocking the safe, and then holding the open passport to the camera for an extreme close up. ”So, here is the cover page. His signature is on it." And his birthdate, and smiling photo, and birthplace listed as “Hawaii.” The actual passport number is blurred and cannot be read.

Other weekly reports show President Obama in private moments behind the scenes. Last week, he was alone in the Oval Office with Elena Kagan as he signed the official parchment making her a Supreme Court justice.

“Let’s see. Hmmmm … I just want to make sure it reads correctly. Did we spell your name properly?” the President muses as he leans over the Oval Office desk. Kagan gamely leans forward to look and replies,  "Yes, I believe you did.”

And then with a wry smile, she adds, “That would be embarrassing, wouldn’t it?”

The West Wing Week newscast ends with the President sheepishly agreeing, “Right.” – Ann Compton

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