How fitting that my first week and last week as a political reporting intern at Newsday took me to one of the centers of national politics – the White House. Monday marked my third and final gig as a press pool reporter.
A short recap – my first time in the pool included a trip in the presidential motorcade to Gettysburg with Bush and friends. The next month, I watched Bush speak at the Chamber of Commerce and in the Rose Garden. This week, I covered Bush’s remarks at a Menorah lighting ceremony in the White House Grand Foyer.
I arrived early Monday to watch Marine 1 – carrying Bush home from his trip to Iraq and Afghanistan Monday – land in the South Lawn.
Waiting on the South Lawn driveway for the chopper to arrive. A nice woman with Entertainment Tonight snapped this for me. She was at the White House with a big ET crew for an interview with Laura Bush earlier that day.
Marine 1 approaching the White House South Lawn accompanied by a companion helicopter. Two helicopters actually traveled with Marine 1 that day, but the other had already flown away at this point. Marine 1 never travels alone.
Turning around for the landing.
Safe and sound.
President Bush waves to the crowd of onlookers.
Crowd claps for Bush as he walks to the White House. For the most part, the people you see clapping are guests - maybe some staffers. With the exception of a few photographers, most of the White House press is behind me waiting for Press Secretary Dana Perino to leave the helicopter and walk past them on her way to the West Wing. Everyone wanted to see how bad her eye injury looked - a lighting device hit her during the scuffle when an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at President Bush over the weekend. I wasn't positioned well enough to get a picture of her.
Watching the helicopter land was just for fun. I headed back to the press area to get ready for a pool event - covering the annual Menorah lighting ceremony in the White House.
First time walking through the actual front doors of the White House.
Christmas trees in the Grand Foyer on both sides of the front door.
Sen. Joe Lieberman mingling with other guests.
Guests waiting for President Bush and the first lady.
Bush spoke about the tradition of Hanukkah and the relationship between Israel and the United States. That Menorah was actually a gift from Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to President Harry Truman in 1951. Grandsons of the two mean lit the Menorah at the ceremony.
Jewish a cappella group Kol Zimra performed a medley of songs - complete with beat boxing and hand clapping - after the lighting of the Menorah.
Bush poses with the group.
President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush leaving the ceremony.