The Washington Times - November 10, 2008, 09:43AM

Journos and photogs are getting ready at the White House for the arrival this afternoon of President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle.

The first couple-elect will be welcomed to the White House at 2 p.m. today by President Bush and first lady Laura Bush.


But most reporters won’t see any of it. Only a small group — a number of photographers, wire service reporters, one TV news crew, one newspaper reporter and one radio reporter — will be up close and personal with the Bushes and Obamas. That’s because both the Obama’s arrival and the meeting between Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama in the Oval Office are “pool only.”

The pool is used for events where bringing the entire press corps along would be impossible for reasons of space. That means the pool gets used a lot at the White House. The wire reporters and photographers are a permanent fixture in the pool, but reporters from newspapers, radio and TV rotate in and out of the pool.

The Obamas will drive by motorcade onto the South Lawn grounds through the southeast gate around 2 p.m. They’ll be welcomed by the president and first lady at the south portico, which is where the president emerges to walk to the helicopter when he’s coming from the residence and not the Oval Office.

The Bushes and Obamas will spend around 15 minutes together, and then Mrs. Bush will peel off with Mrs. Obama to show her the residence and Mr. Bush will take Mr. Obama to the Oval Office. The picture of the day will likely be the two leaders walking along the Colonnade, an outdoor covered walkway next to the Rose Garden, on their way to the Oval. The Colonnade will likely have nice natural light with the sun coming through pillars on the leaders’ left, and will provide photographers a nice space where they can capture the two leaders in motion.

But that’s it. No statements and no speeches are planned. So there won’t be much news beyond the fact that the president-elect will have entered his future home and office for the first time. Despite the absence of hard news, it’s still a big day for symbolic reasons.