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Bush And Obama: What Really Happened at the White House

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President-elect Barack Obama made his first visit to the White House at the invitation of George Bush. Although reporters were kept away from the meeting, and the two offered no remarks after the visit, your intrepid reporter has sources deep inside the presidential mansion and has learned much of what transpired between the two former adversaries.

In addition, one can learn much from the media stories flooding the already saturated public brain sewers.

One news report noted that “Bush and Obama strolled down the White House colonnade side by side, chatting amiably.”

The walk was not as innocent as it might have seemed, a fact not lost to the nation’s media. “A few minutes after the couples entered the White House together, Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama reemerged and strolled along the colonnade past the Rose Garden to the outer entrance to the Oval Office. Mr. Obama walked just at Mr. Bush’s shoulder and appeared to be speaking animatedly, gesturing with both hands. Each of the men waved several times to reporters and others off camera.”

As followers of the series, “West Wing,” will already know, that outside area is where presidents sneak out for a smoke or a quick hit off a flask.

“So, Barack, can I call you Barack?” asked the president. Barack nodded and smiled, and George continued. “This here area is the most important part of the part of the White House you’re going to have, you know? Like, when you want to cadge a butt from one of your aides, this is the place to go.”

Bush looked around to make sure his wife, Laura, wasn’t within ear shot. “She’s got ears like a fox,” he said.

“All wives do,” agreed the newcomer to world dominance. “If I even think about a smoke, Michelle starts hollering.”

“Well, this is the place,” Bush said before they went into the oval office. “By presidential decree, women aren’t allowed here.”

“What about blacks?” Obama asked.

“Old Harry Truman integrated the colonnade walk,” he said, “back in ’46, I believe.”

“Good man,” Obama said.

“For a Democrat, you betcha.”

After carefully examining this sanctuary, Obama said he was ready for the big moment: The Oval Office. Perhaps most significant, “Bush allowed Obama to enter the historic office first.”

“Someday, Barack, all this will be yours,” Bush said, “so you might as well get a good look without me being there, you know, doing a standing in your way thing or a quick Texas two-step.”

Josh Bolten, Bush’s chief of staff, let slip that, "I know the president will want to convey to President-elect Obama his sense of how to deal with some of the most important issues of the day."

For example, it is well known that first time visitors to the Oval Office often stand dumbstruck in awe of the history that pervades that hallowed space. “Unlike the incoming president, Bush knew his way around the Oval Office by the time he was elected in 2000 — his father had been president.”

Sources tell this reporter that President Bush carefully pointed out the areas of the office that had no angles. “When you’re bouncing off the walls,” the president told the president elect, “be careful where you’re aiming. If you hit this curvy-type wall at the wrong angle, you can wind up bouncing off at the wrong angle, kind of like a billiard ball thing.”

Obama carefully examined the walls, nodding. He thanked the president and took a couple of trial runs at the walls to get a sense of where he’d wind up.

The president then showed his replacement the executive wash room, the chief of staff’s office, and his secretaries’ room.

“These secretaries are pretty liberationated, you know,” said the president. “I got into a mess of trouble in the beginning—I mean, trying to learn the names of all these people. Heck, it was hard enough learning the names of all those foreign-type people. What’s with the lack of vowels in some of those names? And so long! Bush, Obama, Brown—those are easy names.

“Anyway, so I just started giving the girls nicknames—you know, blondie, boobs, big hair, stuff like that. Jeeze, you’d think I’d declared war on…well, never mind about that.’

Obama asked if the secretaries would wear name tags. He was disappointed when told that would be a bad thing.

And so the first meeting between these two titans ended happily, both feeling that it was a good start. As your intrepid reporter learns, you will be the first to know.


In Jameson Veritas

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About Mark Schannon

Retired crisis & risk manager/communications expert; extensive public relations experience in most areas over 30 years. Still available for extraordinary opportunities of mind-numbing complexity. Life-long liberal agnostic...or is that agnostic liberal.
  • S. Lee

    If you can’t do better than this happy garbage, give it up.

  • Mildly amusing. Thankfully devoid of too much partisan venom. Good work.

  • Sheesh, it wasn’t that bad. Plus, I can totally imagine Barack saying “If I even think about a smoke, Michelle starts hollering.”

    btw S. Lee, who tinkled in your Cheerios? Lighten up Francis.

  • Seriously amuzing! It was a wonderful blend of information and entertainment! To be a fly on that Oval wall would have been a trip. You seemed to come very close though!

  • I liked it, but it might be more truth than satire.


  • Mark,

    I know you felt you were under the gun on this article time-wise. But IMHO you should have set it aside for one day to let it mature in your mind. I sensed half-baked pancakes here, and half-baked pancakes don’t generally taste good, in spite of the good intentions of the baker.

    I’m not telling you this because I’m such a great satirist (or even satyrist) but because I realize just how hard good satire can be.

    I stay away from it for that reason.

  • Well, Twain was wrong. You can fool all of the people all of the time. Only Dave was closest to the truth.

    You’ll note that I didn’t put Satire in the title…because I do have sources inside the WH, and this really is a news article. More important, it’s all true.

    (Ruvy, between us & don’t tell anyone, I wondered about it, so I showed it to my bride who loved it. I didn’t feel so much under the gun as I’m forcing myself to write even though it still doesn’t come as naturally as it once did. And, if everyone loves a satirical work, it didn’t work…which is a really neat way of saying you can’t fail at satire, ROFL.)

    In Jameson Veritas

  • BTW, try this one. It’d been rattling around in my brain for a while. Sorry, don’t know how to put code in these comments…or if I did, I forgot.

  • Mark – good article…the camaraderie is probably closer to the truth than most would admit.

    ‘In Jameson Veritas’ – is that “J. Jonah Jameson”?

  • It WAS J. Jonah! (just saw the ‘Daily Bugle’ front page at your link….)

  • Mark, I fixed up your comment and, for future reference, this is how to format a link. It’s easy!!

  • bliffle

    Maybe Bush told Obama about the $2trillion of welfare distributed SECRETLY to major US corps the last couple of years without oversight!

    Over and above the current $700billion handouts to welfare corps.

    Apparently, Bloomberg dug this out. they used about 11 existing government programs, 8 of which were created in the past 15 months, to avoid detection.

    I guess the looting of the USA continues on unabated. Looting by the business community, not the commies, not the liberals, not welfare queens, but the most respected companies in the land.

    Is this the moment that Dave, Al, Doug, Archie, etc., are waiting for? So they can break out their shotguns, commandeer heavier weapons from the NG Armory, etc., to overthrow a malevolent invader?

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    I like this little secret.

  • The BBC had a good photo yesterday of Geordie and Bazza shaking hands. Unfortunately they’d cropped it, so I couldn’t tell if either of them were crossing their fingers behind their backs.

  • bliffle

    Oh, here’s the citation: Bloomberg

    Let’s see, Daveco were making brave statements about radical action for when Obama reveals his secret socialist plan to usurp power, what are they going to do now?

    I suspect that they’ll knuckle under. They’ll even find alibis and excuses for this glorious administration, which even in it’s last dying days seeks to deliver a Parthian shot to the USA and it’s forlorn citizens.


  • Christopher, thanks. I wrote it down (which I’ll no doubt lose) & will try to do better in the future, LOL…or just avoid links altogether.

    Glen…just a coincidence. Jonah Jameson would never drink Jameson Irish! He’s more of a beer guy…no disrespect intended to beer people out there.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Caranza

    Why is there a problem with US government helping out US business. They need to do it because other countries do it on a massive scale every day, to the point where businesses have become like another arm of those governments. If the US doesn’t do it, how do we remain competitive and keep businesses active here? These are the businesses that hire most of us and keep the economy going.


  • Lisa Solod Warren

    I don’t have a problem with helping out the Big Three, but in a creative way. Give them incentive to build a better mousetrap (Ie., get rid of the gaz guzzlers, Hummers, HUGE trucks except where needed and other idiot cars and come up with what they shoudl have come up with 30 years ago: fuel efficient cars that run on alternative fuels). The car companies have been lazy and greedy and stupid. I don’t want to see another 2.3 million jobs lost and small town decimated by all the other businesses that would suffer when those people lost their jobs…. BUT you can’t just hand the Big Three cash and walk away. There needs to be some responsbility here. They have been incredibly dumb in producing big, fat fancy cars while Korea and Japan and others have stolen the market. That should tell all of us something.

  • Clavos

    They didn’t just build the wrong kind of cars; they have built crappy ones for decades.

    Given the choice between similar cars, one american and one Japanese, most savvy consumers will pick the Asian car – even if the american one is cheaper.

    And with good reason.

  • Mark –

    Ah. Why did I not make the leap from vino to Jameson’s? I must be getting waaaay slow.

    But that was a pretty good coincidence – but always I thought he was the type for single-malts….

  • Clavos, amen to that. The big 3 were so insulated, isolated, and arrogant (hmmm, sounds like a soon-to-be-former president) that they couldn’t see their foundation crumbling underneath them.

    However, as much as I hate to see $ being tossed at their incompetent asses, I fear the consequences of letting any of them fail. Lisa’s right that it has to be a smart investment on the part of the government, although what constitutes smart is tough given the stories about Fannie Mae today & how the gov’t bailout may actually be hindering them from doing their primary job.


    In Jameson Veritas

  • Glenn…we’ll that makes two of us who are slow.

    Huh????? I don’t get you comment. I’m melting, I’m melting, who would have thought that a little girl could destroy all my evil…ahhhhhhhhhhh

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Yeh, Clav, But that COULD have been different IF the Big Three had gotten off their lazy complascent asses 30 years ago… and not let the Japanese run rings around them for years.

  • Clavos

    Agreed, Lisa.

    But they didn’t.

    If the goal is to help out the workers, spend the money paying them a living wage directly while they take obligatory retraining (also paid for) for different careers. When they’re fully trained for new jobs, help them find them and make relocation mandatory if the new jobs require it.

    Close the car companies – they’re dinosaurs.

    I say a little economic Darwinism is in order here.

    Otherwise, we’ll be throwing good money after bad.

  • Overgeneralize much?

    They have come up with a few good cars in the last few years…the Ford Focus, Ford Escape Hybrid, the Chevy Malibu. Perhaps too little too late. And they produced the gas guzzlers because they were popular and profitable, not because the auto makers were too stupid to make other kinds of cars. And Ford’s and Chevy’s pick-up trucks remain the best-selling vehicles in the US, quarter after quarter.

    Some of the financial problems are about huge pension and healthcare obligations that carry over from the dear old days of corporate paternalism, right?

    So it’s a little more complicated than that Honda and Toyota are smarter and nimbler [although they are]. Their sales are tanking too, but the companies aren’t in danger of going under.

  • Clavos

    the Ford Focus, Ford Escape Hybrid, the Chevy Malibu

    Good concepts, sure. but they’re still american-made, and american-made cars in general are crap.

    And they produced the gas guzzlers because they were popular and profitable…

    Absolutely right; they were meeting demand, and building those vehicles was actually one of the few smart things american auto execs have done in the last several decades.

    Some of the financial problems are about huge pension and healthcare obligations that carry over from the dear old days of corporate paternalism, right?

    Corporate paternalism, no; they’re a carryover from the days the auto execs were too afraid of the unions, caving at almost every negotiation; they didn’t grant those benefits out of the goodness of their hearts, they were outfought (or maybe bought off) by the union execs.

    So it’s a little more complicated than that Honda and Toyota are smarter and nimbler [although they are]. Their sales are tanking too, but the companies aren’t in danger of going under.

    True. They’re tanking far less, and that gets back to the fact that for decades they have built better cars, and now, they’re even doing it in america, with american workers.

    If the government gives bailout funds to the american car manufacturers without first getting rid of all senior management in all three manufacturers, the money will be pissed away, and they’ll go broke anyway; it’ll just take a little longer.

  • Clavos

    Oh, and BTW: since the jap companies woke up and began to build full size pickups, they’ve been steadily eroding american-built pickup market share.

  • Handy hits at the nubbing of the problem. It’s the unions and the huge obligations they bullied the car companies into. We need to bust the autoworkers unions, bring wages in that industry down to within the range of similar jobs in other parts of the country. That’s the help the big three need.

    Average salary and benefits for an autoworker in Detroit totals over $70 an hour. In right to work states similar jobs like sheet metal fabrication are paid the equivalent of $35 an hour including benefits. That tells the whole story.


  • Oversimplification alert! Oversimplification alert

    Come on, Dave, it’s o.k. for the execs to make millions, live in huge houses, get all the perks, and the workers to get the leftovers?

    Unions gained strength because of corporate greed, stupidity, and arrogance…and a complete disregard for safety or health. I was a corporate tool for 30+ years, and I don’t like how unions got bloated & stupid…but they were only following the lead of their corporate masters.

    It’s a lot more complicated than that. And the lack of innovation and market savvy among the big three is a large part of the problem.

    And that’s the truth.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Right on, Mark.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    And this meeting demand stuff is also an oversimplification…..
    They KNEW they had to make better, more efficient cars. Are you saying we couldn’t do it better than the Japanese? I don’t believe that. We could have and should have. We just didn’t because management was lazy and arrogant and out for a profit. If we had retooled and been creative we could have beaten them. I think it’s management’s fault for being shortsighted (like our government) and looking for the quick profit and the next big thing instead of strategizing and seeing the big picture and the long road. American business needs to get with the program.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    This is the right idea.

  • Clavos

    And this meeting demand stuff is also an oversimplification…..
    They KNEW they had to make better, more efficient cars. Are you saying we couldn’t do it better than the Japanese?

    No, Lisa, I’m saying that, until very recently (and briefly, back in the seventies) the market demanded the guzzlers. Hell just look at how many are on the road, even today. And also notice how many of them are japanese these days. My brother drives an infiniti qx56 — the thing’s a tank, with mileage to match. The american companies didn’t lose their market share for that reason, they lost it on the quality issue; as far back as the sixties, american cars were crap.

    The japs broke into the us market first on price, until the early buyers of toyotas and hondas realized (and so did everyone else) that these cars were way superior in quality to the american tin. Then, once they had a good solid market share, they began raising the prices (but keeping the quality) until now, the americans are actually starting to be cheaper (but still not as good quality).

    The americans lost it on quality, not fuel efficiency. The public didn’t care about fuel efficiency until very recently.

  • bliffle

    For at least twenty years GM has been managed to produce large unwarranted dividnds for shareholders. Why? Because that way the officers own options and shares increased in value.

    It’s the direct effect of the boardroom takeover by operating officers.

  • Clavos

    Good point, bliffle. And a bigger point than just GM. I have personally benefited from that kind of management at a number of companies for years.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Beside the point, Clav. American companies could have competed had they wanted to, had they been less lazy, less greedy and more competitive.

  • Clavos

    Beside the point, Clav. American companies could have competed had they wanted to, had they been less lazy, less greedy and more competitive.

    Um, Lisa. That IS my point. The american car companies have been poorly managed for 40 years (or longer). Bailing them out at this point without getting rid of all the deadwood in their various executive suites will simply be throwing good money after bad.

    It wasn’t laziness, or greed; they wanted to compete, but forgot how. It was sheer incompetence.

    Ironically, it was an american, W. Edwards Deming, who taught the japanese how to eat our lunch.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    So we don’t disagree, then.

  • Clavos
  • Clavos

    And here’s another (from your favorite, the NYT, no less!), which says, in part:

    But if we are going to use taxpayer money to rescue Detroit, then it should be done along the lines proposed in The Wall Street Journal on Monday by Paul Ingrassia, a former Detroit bureau chief for that paper.

    “In return for any direct government aid,” he wrote, “the board and the management [of G.M.] should go. Shareholders should lose their paltry remaining equity. And a government-appointed receiver — someone hard-nosed and nonpolitical — should have broad power to revamp G.M. with a viable business plan and return it to a private operation as soon as possible. That will mean tearing up existing contracts with unions, dealers and suppliers, closing some operations and selling others and downsizing the company … Giving G.M. a blank check — which the company and the United Auto Workers union badly want, and which Washington will be tempted to grant — would be an enormous mistake.”

    Which is exactly what I said above.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    You silly Clav. I ALREADY linked to that NYT piece. (#32) Proves you don’t read me before you argue with me:)

  • bliffle

    The reason the big 3 have huge pension libilities now is because when unions/workers demanded better wages during boom times, the management offered DEFERRED benefits in the form of pensions. But they didn’t put the cash away for the future.

    Basically, they just kicked the problem down the road

  • Lisa, we both agree with Clavos. The underlying issue was quality…both on the guzzler and cheapo cars. Quality in terms of safety, maintenance, driving, style…etc. Detroit failed on all counts, relying on a few big sellers that generated outrageous profit & the brand loyalty that many Americans had.

    It’s all come home to roost.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    I know, Bliffle and it’s awful….

    And yes Mark, it has indeed.

  • Woah, here folks. I agree that the GM board should probably be disciplined in some way, but shareholders shouldn’t lose their equity. That’s harsh on real people and the economy.

    GM ought to be given a chance to turn around the way that Chrysler was back in the ’80s. Kick out the board, bring in someone truly competent and see if the assets and resources they have, plus some government loans can put the company back on track.

    Obviously that would mean concentrating on hybrids, electric and alternative fuel vehicles, an area where their past R&D is very strong, but which their idiot managers have failed to capitalize on profitably.


  • bliffle

    You guys don’t get it: GM is failing because the BoD , under Operating Officer control, rigged the economics for their own personal benefits, and then they pursued a plan to liquidate the company to realize those personal benefits.

    Basically, they stole company assets and put them in their own pockets.

    But it’s all legal according to current corporate rules.

    And it will happen more with other corps unless we change the rules and laws.

  • Clavos

    Basically, they just kicked the problem down the road

    True. And they left the road unpaved.

  • bliffle

    The underlying problem is the lax rules of incorporation that we indulge in the USA.

    Basically, everything is permitted. There are few boundaries to corporate behaviour. they are accorded the Freedoms of individuals (they can ‘say’ anything under free speech, even if that means suborning officials), but don’t have the limits and consequences of people. For example, if the corp floods a river with poisons and people die, the corp will not be confined to a cell until it is executed. In fact, it will not be executed at all.

    Thus, people are set free to commit crimes with a corp proxy that they cannot commit on their own.

    Plus, the Board Of Directors represents a narrow band of interests: the officers of the company. All the other stakeholders in the company are neglected. Even shareholders, in the modern corp.

    Abuse is inevitable. And so we have it.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Right Bliffle. And now those abusers want more money… and we are supposed to give it to them without any strings? I don’t think so.

  • bliffle

    The abuse is abetted by enablers, especially those with fixed ideological notions.

    One of those is the “Free Markets” or Chicago group who will go to any lengths to prop up failing pieces of their sham economics. Of course their ideas are based on a basic deceit: they have no intention of leaving markets free, but rather in the hands of the monopolies that sponsor them.