WASHINGTON (CNN) – When the waiter reached for the plate, President Obama shook his head and smiled as he asked for a few more minutes. He had been talking to his guests, and had barely taken a bite of his lunch.
The new president was keeping with a longstanding tradition on days when the commander in chief delivers an address to a joint session of Congress: Around the table Tuesday sat television anchors and the Sunday morning interview program hosts and two senior aides. The location was the dining room in the White House residence.
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.
In Washington journalism parlance, this is called "background" - what we heard was attributable to "senior administration officials." Or, the ground rules allow such constructions as, "The president is known to believe ..." or "The way the White House sees this is ..."
Some things we learned were policy-related, some more personal. Some highlights:
bj, Cindy...this lunch before a speech to congress is a tradition, whether the president is Democrat or Republican.
Rave, no need to insult Governor Jindal. Remember Obama's line about disagreeing without being disagreeable?
@steve(the real one) Whats the matter Steve,couldnt you make the football team?Sounds the the green eyed monster got you son.
CNN you have a typo.
According to other articles yesterday... President Obama reads 10 letters per DAY from the public. I think you have a typo up above in the article because John King typed ' per week ' instead of ' per day '.
Obama reads 10 per day Monday thru Friday.
@Real Steve.Your wisdom is so impressive,you should work for Faux News or Rush Limbaugh.
Let them eat cake!
I watched Alan Keyes say on TV that Obama must be stopped or America will cease to exist. He is saying Obama should be eliminated to save America. There must be a law against this kind of utterance. Alan Keyes belongs in a nut house for much needed psychiatric treatment.