From the White House Pool 

Posted: 9:28 pm Sunday, December 14th, 2008

By Jamie Dupree

To me, the most interesting part of a secret overseas trip by a President is not what happens when he gets to the destination, but how the press keeps it secret in the interim.

President Bush has taken several trips to Iraq that were kept secret because of security concerns.  So, it’s always interesting to hear the Pool reports that are sent out to reporters in DC about the trip.

The pool reporter this time was Steven Lee Myers of the New York Times.  He are snippets of what he sent back during the trip to Iraq and Afghanistan.

From Pool Report #1

The pool was contacted in person on Friday and allowed to tell only a superior and a spouse. The pool arrived at an unusual gate at Andrews and taken to Air Force One’s immaculate hangar. There are 13 journalists in all.

The plane remained inside until moments before take off.

The president made a surprise visit to the press section of the plane, wearing a tan windbreaker and black slacks. “What a weak group,” he joked glancing around.“

Pool Report #5 (after the shoe incident)

The president’s appearance was interrupted by a man, apparently a journalist, who leapt to his feet and threw his shoe at the president, who ducked and thus narrowly missed being struck. Chaos ensued.”

Pool Report #7 (After landing in Afghanistan)

The president departed Baghdad at 11:28 PM and arrived five and a half hours later at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. The pool’s ground rules were not to discuss the second leg of the trip at all, with apologies to the pool’s bureau chief and spouse….”

(The President sat down with reporters and took questions on the flight to Afghanistan.)

The the president described the (shoe) incident as a “bizarre moment” and compared it to the disruption of his White House press conference with President Hu of China by a Falun Gong follower. He said it would be wrong to extrapolate from the single instance the feelings of the entire country. “I don’t think you can take one guy and say this represents a broad movement in Iraq,” he said.

One last detail about the shoe incident: Dana M. Perino suffered a bruised eye during the incident, when a microphone stand spun and struck her in the right eye during the commotion. She said she was fine.”