Things I didn’t report but wished I could

white house dogs holiday decorations

Laura Bush had at least five interviews with television talk shows today about the White House Christmas decor. These were mostly fluffy, happy interviews and an opportunity for the administration to get some good press. Laura Bush is the most popular person in the White House by far.

She talked to interviewers about the decorations, food, and the national parks … and avoided questions about Jenna Bush’s wedding (supposedly no plans yet). The White House doggies, Barney and Miss Beazley, made an appearance in at least two of the interviews — but none quite so timely as on the CBS early show! Just as the interviewer was starting to press Mrs. Bush to comment on Hillary Clinton, the dogs magically appeared to introduce a new, more pleasant conversation topic (their furry selves) for the first lady. I can just picture an annoyed press secretary, off screen, pushing the dogs toward them as the interview turned in a direction she wanted to avoid.

(I must say this was an excellent strategy because regardless about how you feel about the Bush administration, you’ve got to give it to them for some cute pups. I mean, just look at Miss Beaz up there with her little bow on her neck! Barney makes a vid every year at Christmas — can’t wait.)

From the White House transcript:

Q There’s a lot of talk about another First Lady, someone else who had to decide Christmas themes — Hillary Clinton, who of course is running for President. And your husband recently said that he thinks she is going to get the Democratic nomination. Do you share that sentiment?
MRS. BUSH: Well, I don’t have any idea. And I really have not watched that many of the debates of the Democrats, so I just don’t have any idea what — who will get it. But we certainly know that she’s been under the pressure of living here.
Look who’s come in to the Christmas tree.
Q Oh, hi.
MRS. BUSH: It’s Miss Beazley.
Q Hi, Miss Beazley.
MRS. BUSH: Miss Beazley.
Q Are you going to smile for the camera? Wow, Miss Beazley has serious timing there.
MRS. BUSH: I know it.
Q That’s great.
MRS. BUSH: And here comes Barney. (Laughter.)
Q And here’s Barney. Can you guys get a shot, because we love this.
MRS. BUSH: Miss Beazley and Barney, and they love to —
Q Do they follow you everywhere?
MRS. BUSH: Well, no, they don’t follow me anywhere, but they do come around whenever they can. (Laughter.) They love balls, and so they’re very interested in the ornaments on the tree.
Q Well, these are very fragile, so we’ll keep them away from that. Mrs. Bush, Merry Christmas again.
MRS. BUSH: Thank you so much, Hannah.
Q And thanks for bringing us into your lovely home.


OK, for all those interested in the DC social scene, I have the scoop on the holiday food and decor at the White House. Today Laura Bush announced the White House 2007 holiday theme: “Holiday in the National Parks.”

This is what the White House has to say about it:Holiday decorations include a model of North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras Lighthouse welcoming visitors in the East Foyer; paintings depicting Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park and Utah’s Zion National Park “perfectly situated” in the niches of the Cross Hall; a reproduction of the Statue of Liberty National Memorial in the Grand Foyer; and the Gingerbread White House featuring the Bush family pets along with creatures found in our national parks. (Are the Bush family pets attacking a bear in the gingerbread scene? Or chasing some endangered butterflies?)

The official White House Christmas Tree, an 18-foot Fraser fir from Mistletoe Meadows Christmas Tree Farm in Laurel Springs, North Carolina, is adorned with ornaments representing America’s national parks.  Each ornament reflects the diversity of our national landscapes and the many wonderful and unique treasures found from sea to shining sea.



  • Large model of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina
  • Nine festive evergreen wreaths accented by gold pine cones
  • Six panels featuring photos of presidents and first families celebrating Christmas at the White House and visiting America’s national parks
  • Christmas cards from ten presidential administrations
  • Original artwork of this year’s White House Christmas card, holiday reception invitation, and holiday tour booklet



 Ground Floor Corridor:

  • Terra cotta model of Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota
  • Hand-painted model of Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site in Arizona

 Vermeil Room:

  • Mantel adorned with green garland, gold pine cones and glass birds



  • Green garland on mantel accented by gold pine cones and gold leaves
  • Miniature Christmas trees decorated with gold leaves




Cross Hall and Grand Foyer:

  • Three-foot model of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in New Jersey
  • Oil paintings by Adrian Martinez depicting Hopi Point in Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park, and a waterfall rushing into the Virgin River in Utah’s Zion National Park
  • Eight snow-covered Christmas trees dotted with gold lights, and gold birds and butterflies
  • Green garlands with gold pine cones, gold leaves, and gold lights adorn the doorways

 East Room:

  • Green garlands accented with gold lights, gold leaves, and gold pine cones grace the mantles and doorways
  • The traditional crèche, made in Italy in the 18th century, which has been displayed in the East Room since 1967
  • Two sixteen-foot Christmas trees trimmed with glass ornaments, gold globes, gold birds, gold leaves, and gold lights

 Green Room:

  • The mantle is draped in green garlands laden with gold blown-glass acorns and gold pine cones
  • Side tables arranged with small Christmas trees decorated with ornamental birds and birds’ nests


Blue Room:

  • The official White House Christmas tree is an eighteen-foot Fraser fir presented to Mrs. Bush by Joe Freeman and Linda Jones of Mistletoe Meadows Christmas Tree Farm in Laurel Springs, North Carolina
  • The tree is decorated with 347 ornaments hand-created by artists whose designs represent America’s national parks, memorials, seashores historic sites and monuments

Red Room:

  • Mantel is adorned by green garland filled with gold seashells emblematic of America’s national seashores
  • Cranberry tree, a White House tradition dating back to 1975, sits on a side table


State Dining Room:

  • Sconces adorned with mixed greenery, gold ribbons, and gold pine cones
  • Mantle framed by green garland with gold leaves, gold lights, and gold pine cones
  • Gingerbread White House
    • Based on the original blueprints created by architect James Hoban
    • 40¾  inches north to south
    • Took nearly three months to create
    • Contains a gingerbread foundation and has a white chocolate exterior
    • Created with more than 300 pounds of white chocolate and gingerbread
    • Features the Bush family pets along with creatures found in our national parks



Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) just divulged this little tidbit on the Senate floor: he prefers canned asparagus to the fresh stuff. He said he’s a bit embarrassed about it, but he didn’t get fresh vegetables growing up in Searchlight, Nev.

I think a can of asparagus might still be acceptable under the new lobbying limits. Send them to him at the U.S. Capitol.

main_image.jpgI attended a speech with President Bush this morning (see funniest anecdote, I think, below). Given the security concerns, people have to get to presidential speeches about an hour early, so everyone was just sitting there waiting for the *big moment.*
Then the very official voice comes over the loudspeaker, “Ladies and gentlemen, the President … and Chief Executive Officer of Sunny Delight Beverage Company, Billy Sear!” Those were not the words we were expecting to follow “the president…” But there he was, the King of Orange Drink, Billy Sear, standing next to George Bush. Billy introduced the Prez.

Bush said: “Billy, thank you. I asked Billy where he works. He said, well, I run Sunny Delight beverage company. I said, well, Billy, I quit drinking.”

This, I suppose, was a hilarious joke. Because then Bush did that signature “heh heh heh” thing. Then he talked about ribs, “heh heh heh,” then about Cheney being Darth Vader “heh heh heh” … it was like a Saturday Night Live sketch.

Bush eventually spoke a bit about health care. Then he told the grocery people that they need not need to worry about high corn prices because we’re investing in cellulosic ethanol and soon we’ll be making fuel from switchgrass and wood chips (his examples).

“I understand that folks out there are concerned about the price of corn,” Bush said. “I’ve heard about it from my hog-raising buddies.”

Good to know he has his top advisors on the case.



What I am about to tell you really happened. I’m not even joking.

I attended a speech President Bush gave to the Grocery Manufacturers Association this morning where he said the following about Halloween:

President Bush : “It’s always an interesting day in the nation’s capitol. I was in a meeting with the Vice President this morning, and I asked what costume he would wear. He said, ‘I’m already wearing it.’ Then he mumbled something about the dark side of the force. (laughter) He’s doing well.”

Seriously. The words of the President.

Well, there you have it.

(There were some other amusing remarks that I will post later…)