I’m sure that there was high turnout for President Bush’s early press conferences, but I have a hard time believing it equaled the crush of journalists at the White House this evening for President Obama’s first.
There is a line 20 deep at the White House northwest gate of journalists who don’t regularly cover the president, waiting to be cleared in by Secret Service (regular White House press have permanent passes that allow them to speed through the gate).
Inside the Brady briefing room, and back in the press working area, there is barely room to move. The Obama press office has decided to issue tickets for the more than 160 journalists lucky enough to get a seat, and so now all of those folks are lining up to get theirs. Luckily I was standing in the lower press area when they started handing out tickets and got mine right away. Everybody else is in a single file line heading into the lower press area just behind the briefing room, and it’s a pretty narrow hallway into that area.
So suffice to say, it’s chaos.
- Jon Ward, White House reporter, The Washington Times