The title of this blogpost means exaclty what it says. I was the local TV Pool Photographer selected to travel with the President's motorcade to all of his stops as he visited Greensboro and Randolph County today.
My day started just about 45 minutes before the gigantic 747 named Air Force One arrived with President George W. Bush onboard.
I went through all of the security checks with the rest of the media, bomb sniffing dogs, metal dectectors, and a thourough hand inspection fo all our gadgets.
As the plane taxied up to the staging area and parked the local media pool was joined with the national pool as they came off the plane.
President Bush didn't waste any time getting out either and we were quickly off to 4 stops in the next 7 hours.
There were 6 of us with the local media pool.
I was there to provide video, photographer Joe Rodriguez and reporter Morgan Josey with the News and Record, photographer Paul Church and a reporter with the Asheboro Courier-Tribune, and Ria Matthews with WSJS Radio.
We were assigned to a white rental van called press 2 and were were given strict directions to not to fall behind when the group was leaving, to run to the van if we had to or we would be left. Once the motorcade was rolling the driver was not allowed to stop and pick up stragglers.
Our first stop after leaving the airport was listed on the press advisory as a "lunch with community leaders". The lunch stop was at Stamey's BBQ resturant on High Point Road across from the Greensboro Colliseum.
We were allowed about 5 minutes inside the restaurant as the President surprised the patrons with his presence, stopping to shake hands and talk to the people, even talking to one guys wife on the other end of a cell phone call.
Soon we rejoined our van driver, also a local, Kernersville resident Darrell Davis. Davis is a friend of Jake Cashion who helps arrange the local help for the stops.
Darrell kept the conversation going and was just as excited as us to be able to follow the President so closely. He especially like being able to just drive right through all those red lights.
It was almost time to leave Stamey's and White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was looking busy on the phone.
From Central Greensboro the motorcade made its way to the East side of the city to Waldo C. Falkener Elmentary School. The President visited with 2 classes wowing the kids with his presence.
The students were able to show him how what they were learning about and told him they had spent the week learning about the office of the President.
In another part of the school the media and school and local dignitaries filled an auditorium to listen to the President talk about the No Child Left Behind Legislation that he would like to see continiued.
He talked about the virtues of No Child Left Behind and touted this schools extreme success using Federal money from the program.
As the local TV Pool Photographer I had a front row speeh to the 40 minute speech.
And since all of the other media were privy to this scene I had plenty of time to watch, listen, and pop off a bunch of pictures.
I didnt' quite nail the self portrait.
My cohorts of the newsroom were stuck at the back of the room but were no less intent on catching every syllable.
Eric White seemed to be hanging on every word while taking notes carefully.
Fellow Photojournalist Matt Jensen holds his position on the risers.
Remember that I wrote that once the motorcade was moving it wouldn't stop for stragglers?
One of our group was left behind after the stop at Falkener School.
Ria Matthews with WSJS Radio dropped her recorder under the media riser and was delayed while retrieving it. She never made it to the next stop. She ended up back at the airport where she retrieved her bag from the van.
Meanwhile the rest of us were with the President on to the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Level Cross.
The President met NASCAR King Richard Petty and drivers Kyle Petty, Michael Waltrip and Jimmie Johnson were also on hand to greet the President and show off the Victory Junction Gang Camp.
ABC's George Stephanopoulos got some exclusive private time with the President while the rest of the media waited, sequestered in a building where we could only peep out while they walked the grounds.
After the ABC Crew went inside to do the sit down portion of their work the rest of us had some play time.
The mostly non-NASCAR educated group wanted to call this CARJACKING. While correct as a joining of two words, it was funny to think about it as a CARJACKING.
Above, one of the NBC staffers trying her hand at jacking a race car.
NBC Audio Engineer Joe Shalhoup (above) could pass as a pro!
White House Press handler Mary Tifany (above) had a stylish way of handling the pit jack.
Some of the Secret Service and other media in suits also gave the pitjack a look...some trying it, others not.
The President also tried his hand at a pit crew job. He used an electric lug wrench to remove the lug nuts from a race wheel setup.
After the stop at Victory Junction we road back up Highway 220 to the Irving Park Community of Greesboro where the President held a $1000 dollar per plate fundraiser at the largest home in Greensboro. While that was closed to the press we were takedn to the Greensboro Country Club and treated to a BBQ dinner and desert.
Around 8 we jumped back in the van and it was back to the airport, the 747 and as quickly as Air Force One landed it was in the air again.
My sister noticed a cutway of me in a story on WRAL...toward the end of the story...I'm in the middle. (My sister's YOUTUBE pirate of the same story)
And the footage from my day of Rolling with the President can be seen on my station website.
News 14 even had a bunch of the Pool Footage in their coverage.
What a week.