Turns out my trip to the White House press room last week was one of the last I would be able to make, at least to the aging room with the ratty carpet.
The press room is being closed for renovations, including new wiring, less-ratty carpets, fewer rats perhaps, and maybe a couple of TV screens.
Following is a White House-supplied transcript of the brief press scrum before the James S. Brady Briefing Room was closed for a projected several months.
Interesting-to me anyway–sidenote:One of my first official acts as a new employee of B&C back in January 1981 was to go to Brady's office in the White House transition headquarters on L Street in Washington and get a picture from him for a story we were doing about him. Only weeks later, Brady was shot in the attempt on President Reagan's life.
James S. Brady Briefing Room
9:42 A.M. EDT
MR. SNOW: That's right. We think it's time to fix the heating and the air-conditioning and to remove carpet that in some cases is literally ratty or mousy or whatever, and deal with the business of refurbishing this so that you have a state-of-the-art facility that is as user-friendly as possible. Let me also say that I look forward to having you back as soon as possible because I'm going to have to schlep back and forth at least twice a day. And there are going to be many periods of inclement weather, and it's just — it's going to lead to bad hair and all sorts of other atrocities. (Laughter.) And so I want this done as quickly as possible. So, yes, you will be back and it will be better than ever.
Q How long do you think it will be?
MR. SNOW: You want me — the only thing worse than making predictions about diplomacy is construction. (Laughter.)
Q You just mentioned state-of-the-art facilities. What do you envision for just the stage up there? What do you have in mind for the state-of-the-art –
MR. SNOW: The answer is, I don't know. I know there's been some talk of plasma screens and that sort of thing. But, honestly, we've got to figure out what fits within the budget. And the one thing I expect at a bare minimum is something pretty much like this. As whatever other bells and whistles — the more important thing is getting cat 6 wiring in and making sure that we've got effective lighting and that people have the facilities they need to do their jobs. And then we'll find out if we've got enough money left to put up a couple of humble TV screens. But I — we'll let you know as it proceeds.
Q What is the budget?
MR. SNOW: I don't know. Don't know. But I'm told we're going to live within it.
Q Is it a boundless budget? (Laughter.)
MR. SNOW: Yes, just for you guys.
Q When do they start ripping out this?
MR. SNOW: I think it starts either Friday or — does it start tomorrow?
MR. DECKARD: Tomorrow night.
MR. SNOW: Tomorrow night. And if for any reason we have to come back from Crawford and — the facility there, I think, is supposed to be ready by the 11th. If it's not, we'll go to Room 450 until it's ready, for briefings. As you know, we have the luxurious pool trailers on West Exec — or trailer. Look, here's just an open request for everybody, because I know there are going to be some things that we haven't anticipated, so we're all going to have to work together to try to make this as effective as possible, both with the pool trailer and the facility over across the street. What we're doing is, we're putting together punch lists right now; if you've got concerns, send them my way, we'll try to address them.
By John Eggerton