The most interesting souvenir from Dr. Jill Biden’s recent SoCo sojourn was the official “White House Press Pool” pass issued by the Secret Service.
The fact that they were left blank, unfettered by some wine country journo’s smudgy byline, only raises their resale value. That said, I’m keeping mine as a memento of the hours spent waiting in an airline lounge for FLOTUS. Here’s a factoid courtesy of Nexis: “The abbreviation FLOTUS (pronounced /ˈfləʊtɪs/) was first used in 1983 by Donnie Radcliffe, writing in The Washington Post.”
When doing a presser, waiting for a politico is like waiting for Godot but longer. I’ve done it before. Sometime near the Jurassic period of my career, I covered 2000’s Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, where nothing notable happened apart from Rage Against the Machine’s frontperson’s Zack de la Rocha rock-splaining to a concert crowd across the street that “our democracy has been hijacked,” obviously before we knew how good we had it.
Nearly a quarter-century later, the vibe is about the same. Dr. Jill Biden was in town to participate in an event at Healdsburg’s Puma Springs Vineyards for the Biden Victory Fund. Local journos were invited to Sonoma County Airport to cover her deplaning. And clearly, we had nothing better to do. The event was exactly like going to pick someone up at the airport, only to have them whisked away in a shiny, black Suburban.
No questions, no waves. Just a bunch of educated and trained professionals corralled behind an orange traffic barricade humming Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?”
The usual suspects were there, including nearly half a dozen reporters from the Oakleaf, courtesy of the junior college. Our Man Kallen from the Healdsburg Tribune was present; ditto the editor of Made Local Magazine, who arrived with me, seeing as we’re married. Our gang raised the median age of the operation by a few decades and was evidently at the shallow end of the press pool since the Press Democrat’s guy got to be the official “pool reporter.”
My detail was drinking the complimentary coffee and helping the sharpshooters focus their sights. KRON’s camera-op theoretically got some footage, and Northern California Public Media’s Noah Abrams quipped that his hearing will never be the same whilst recording audio of Biden’s idling jet (up to about 140 dB, FYI).
The day’s highlight was Jimmy the Bomb dog, a golden English labrador with whom Supervisor James Gore was chuffed to share a nickname.