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A Rare, Inside Look at Covering the President

It seems there’s lots of food involved.  CNN’s Ed Henry reports:

In the spring of 2006, I was a newly minted White House correspondent heading to New Orleans for my first trip with President Bush. Sitting beside me aboard the press plane at Andrews Air Force Base was a longtime CNN producer (name deleted), who cheerfully passed along some tips to the new guy.
There was logistical stuff such as, “Try to get some sleep on the plane” because you never know how busy you will be in the city where you’re landing. And there was advice about budgeting enough time both for doing live shots and writing a script for a possible taped package about the day’s events. But then the producer looked me in the eyes and delivered his most important pronouncement of all.
“Be very careful,” he said in a grave tone. “Whenever you travel with the president, they feed you at every stop. If you’re not cautious, you can gain weight really fast.”
I assured him I had taken his advice to heart and proceeded to turn my attention to some important reading material about the president’s trip so I would be prepared, while simultaneously steeling myself to resist any and all temptation when it came to evil food.
We land in New Orleans; I start doing live shots for CNN, and all is well. But in between live shots, I keep noticing a strange phenomenon. Every time I return from the camera to my seat in the press filing center, the producer is digging in to a new course of food. And he’s saying, “Hey Ed, check out the cold cuts. Oh these rolls are great. Did you hear that dessert is coming soon?”
I’m trying to be polite and stay focused on my work, so I don’t say anything. Until finally, the producer arrives at our work space with what can only be described as a heaping pile of piping hot bread pudding. “You have to try the bread pudding,” the producer says. “The pudding is good, but then there’s this sauce. And they heat it up. You gotta try it!”
Truth be told, this producer is still a skinny guy despite all of the sampling, so I had no problem declaring, “Didn’t you warn me about overeating on these trips?”
There was a pause. And then he nearly choked on his bread pudding as we both laughed about the irony as delicious as the, well, pudding.

Imagine how bad the coverage would be if the food stunk.


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