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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tommy Christopher Drinks Salvation!

by Tommy Christopher
Wow, it's been awhile. Sorry, ISTers, it's no reflection on you. I'm a little surprised you're all still here, though, what with Bush out of office now.

To make up for my delinquency, I have an Ice Station Tango EXCLUSIVE!

Before I do that, I want to congratulate Jay on his awesome link from C&L yesterday, I'm jealous. I only ever get links from people who hate me, or from conservatives who kinda can stand me.

So, what's the big exclusive? Well, I attended my first White House press conference this week, and I've got related content that you won't find anywhere else but here! (Click here to see what the rest of the riff-raff got from me already)

First up, here's the video of me ambushing David Axelrod as he finishes his Maddow interview.

That was cool, right? I felt a little bad about poaching Rachel's guest, but not really. I was dying to get a question in after listening to some of the shit that got asked at the presser. I don't want to disparage anyone by name, but if I get drunk enough, who knows?

I'm going to tell this in confusing, stream of consciousness style because I want to. First, let me explain the headline.

After the press conference, I crossed the East Room to try and corral Rahm Emanuel, but he was too fast. Instead, I decided to take some pictures, including my patented Podium's Eye View shot. That's when I saw The Glass.

You saw The Glass, too, during the press conference. It was in the President's hand whenever some reporter asked a question long enough to afford him a sip.

So, yoink!, I snagged it, drank about half of it, and immediately felt the competing sensation of being super-awesome, and wanting to be nice to Republicans no matter how dickish they are to me.

Later, as I was about to exit the grounds, some toolbag in the guardhouse made me go put the glass back, so I went to the breakroom in the Press Briefing Room, and transferred the contents to a water bottle, where it remains, inside my freezer.

So, if anyone accuses me of being an Obama water-carrier, I can correct them. I am an Obama water drinker/storer.

After the press conference, there were 2 reporters escorting Helen Thomas out across the lawn, and others coming up to her and asking for photographs. This is what I was talking about with fucking asshole O'Reilly. Real journalists have nothing but reverance for Helen. Nobody went running up to anyone else, not even the TV guys.

Helen is very unassuming off camera. I got a picture with her beforehand, and she was really stoked that I wanted it. That amazes me.

I took 2, here's the one I didn't use at AOL. See? EXCLUSIVE!

I got to DC at about 3:15, so I wanted to shoot some video of the President's arrival on the South Lawn aboard Marine 1, but the press office blew it when they put in my credentials. They used the wrong birthdate. It took them too long to fix it, so I shot some video of the White House, with the sound of a helicopter in the background.

I didn't feel so bad when Chuck Todd came along and was DENIED! But then, he got in after a couple of minutes, and I was pissed off again.

When I finally did get in, I found the Press Briefing Room, where I took my Helen Thomas pics, shot some video, and posted a story about that porn star who's maybe running against David Vitter.

I had to leave to move my car out of the garage onto the street. That sucked, because when I got back there was a long line to get in, and I had to be cleared through security again.

On the bright side, I was on line with Ana Marie Cox, the hottest and bestest blogger in the world. I amateurishly asked her for a picture, but I think I redeemed myself a little by calling a buddy of mine in the press office to grease the wheels a little. Then, I un-redeemed myself by telling her and Helene Cooper the story of me taking a picture of a screw in front of the White House.

But then, I re-redeemed myself by helping them find their way around once we got inside.

Then, Helene un-redeemed herself by getting to ask the President a question. But she redeemed herself by not asking about A-Rod.

After the press conference, I was standing around in the East Room, talking to a couple of other journalists who I didn't recognize, and we were talking about what the lede was going to be. I wondered if this is how these narratives form, guys shooting the shit after a press conference.

For me, the story was that Obama has bent over backwards as far as he's going to, and the Republicans have to catch up or just sit in the corner. That, and Obama isn't going to want to hear shit from them about how he's fixing it. They fucked it up, not him.

Oh, and apparently, Sam Stein getting a question was a huge deal. He took a good shot at asking a tough question, but he formulated it in a way that was guaranteed to get talking points. The way to throw these guys off-message is to give them something they're willing to agree to, or have already agreed to. He asked if Obama would rule out prosecuting the Bush Administration "right now." There's no way you get a good answer to that.

I would have formulated it like this. "You've said that criminal acts from the last administration will be punished,that no-one is above the law. Does that include former President Bush?"

Then, you yell out the last part as a follow-up when he tries to do the talking point.

This is totally not a knock on Sam. Press conferences have become entirely too much like those Polaner All Fruit commercials. Not only that, if Obama had called on me, I probably would have vomited, shit my pants, then passed out, so I give Sam credit for getting his question out at all.

It was such a great night, I didn't want it to end. I was like a kid standing on 2nd base at Yankee Stadium. I knew it would never feel like this again.

I'll probably talk more about this tonight on Unusable Signal. Check us out at 11pm.

Here's some of the other video I shot that day, seen here for the first time. It's just raw, some of it corresponds with this story. (If you don't see it yet, check back. I hit "publish" by accident before I was ready.)

I also humbly apologize, again, for being absent from this awesome Station for so long. If it makes you feel better, I also haven't posted on my personal blog since July.

Thanks, and thanks to Jay for inviting me.


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