Since becoming a White House reporter, I have so far only been able to communicate with the president through his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, and his deputies. While this is certainly rewarding, the real prize for any White House scribe is a direct-to-POTUS query.

As a rookie, though, this is a pretty tall order. Questioners at news conferences are decided on in advance, and it takes a lot of nerve to just start hollering questions at him after a speech. I recently discovered, however, that late-night Marine One landings are a golden opportunity to get in a question.

Although I froze that first time, I was ready for him at his most recent red-eye landing. Check out the results after the jump.



What I said was, "Mr. President, how do you respond to all the criticism over Michelle's trip to Spain?"

Alas, thanks to the idling Marine One helicopter, what he heard was "Mr. President, walla walla rhubarb rigga-goo Michelle tryptophan?"

Maybe next time, I'll put my question on a giant cue card, although with my luck, I'll probably hold it upside-down, or the helicopter will blow it out of my hands and into a pissed-off Secret Service agent.

Still, this is progress, especially when you compare it with this photo from the President's first news conference, back in February 2009. That's me with my hand up, the only idiot there who doesn't know I'm not going to get a question in. I got a wave then, but at least this time, I got my question out.


Tommy Christopher is Asylum's White House correspondent.