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Obama's Lunch With the Anchors

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."

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 25, 2009; 11:05 AM ET
Categories:  Bubble Watch  
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Next: A Hit in the Instapolls


I once did a "Roses & Thorns" procedure for a group that conducted a protest a week or so before. We had people who had promised to be there and they were trained in conflict resolution, but they didn't show and time was a wastin'. So I got up and announced we'd all speak one after the other and the first go-round, we'd all try to say something nice. The second go-round, we'd get nasty and critical. As we started, someone came up with a "speaking stick," which we used to indicate who "had the floor." It all worked out pretty well. We started off nice and had some good feelings, then we got critical. It broke down about three-quarters of the way through the critical stage, but I think we all gained a lot through it.

Posted by: rlg3526 | February 25, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I think there's an important story here.

Obama appears to have spent a lot of time observing and listening to "common" people in everyday situations. I can see his bubble will make this nearly impossible.

When I do market research for a new invention I do the same, watching how people use products and technology. It's not the same to watch a video, or even have an invisible camera recording people because you can't quite get the same intuitive feel for the situation.

Focus groups are exactly what not to use - and that's what's driven politics for decades.

Posted by: boscobobb | February 26, 2009 2:47 AM | Report abuse

It is God's will for the rich to pay more and for redistribution of material wealth to help the poor and middle class. After all, under the capitalist system, the rich have become rich on a hierachical system that rapes the efforts of the masses for the personal gain of a few at the top. I say to Obama: "Right on, brother!"

I always found it hypocyritical that the so-called Christian conservatives always supported giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans while cutting programs for the poor and vulnerable, while claiming the mantle of Christ-like policies.

Those self-righteous bastards that call themselves conservative Republicans are being watched by the angels of heaven. I have not judged you, but you should fear that God will judge you for the policies you have supported!

Posted by: SWadvocate | February 26, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

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