Obama's Lunch With the Anchors

By Dan Froomkin
11:05 AM ET, 02/25/2009

In what's become a White House tradition, the president had lunch with television anchors on the day of his annual address to Congress.

Steve Krakauer reports for TV Newser that the guest list "consisted of ABC's Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, CBS' Katie Couric and Bob Schieffer, NBC's Brian Williams and David Gregory, CNN's Wolf Blitzer and John King and FNC's Bret Baier and Chris Wallace."

Only some details emerged.

King reported for CNN: "Over lunch of lobster bisque and striped bass, it was a chance for the president to share his thoughts on the goals of Tuesday night's big speech and the challenges ahead. There were ground rules for the discussion: We are not allowed to quote the president or his senior aides directly."

King did note, however: "The first movie Obama viewed in the White House theater was 'Slumdog Millionaire.' He loved it, and parts of the movie reminded him of his childhood days in Jakarta, Indonesia."

Stephanopoulos blogged: "We learned at the White House lunch today that the Obama's have a family tradition that I want to adopt at our house.

"At dinner, they play a game called 'Roses and Thorns.' Everyone takes a turn describing a good thing that happened that day (rose) and a low moment or tough problem they had to deal with (thorn).

"When the President finished his turn after a particularly challenging day at the White House (we didn't learn which one), Malia told her Dad: 'You have a really thorny job.'"

In a video, Gibson chatted with Stephanopoulos, saying of Obama: "He says he likes the hard problems, he likes the job, he likes doing the job. Interesting to hear him say, though, that the one thing that's difficult to deal with is the bubble, that you are isolated from people in a way that puts you apart from people, being able to go to a coffee shop and sit down and just with your antenna sort of be able to feel what's going on in the room."

Katie Couric also blogged about the bubble: "[T]he President can't go to the corner drugstore, run on the National Mall, or sit in a diner and soak in the mood or overhear conversations.

"He said he wishes he could do the job anonymously. At that point, his senior adviser said: 'Then you'd be Dick Cheney.' That got a big laugh."

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