What would you do if you got an invitation to hear The President speak about education reform? Yes, me too!
I reluctantly left the cocoon of the SF Bay Area after a two week parental visit we enjoyed beautiful weather, great food, and a relaxing time after the Yahoo! MotherBoard Summit. Needless to say, I had a little bit of trouble adjusting to the time difference. After staying up way too late on Tuesday night (3 am- hello jet lag!), the wonderful Justice Fergie DMed me the following morning to ask if I’d like to go hear The President speak on Thursday with fellow local Blogalicious women.
President Barack Obama!!! Y-E-S!!!
Of course I said yes even before I had asked Tech Savvy Daddy, inquired about the time, or secured child care. Oops. My awesome husband said yes and to go without thinking about childcare. Hooray! But being downtown by 6:45 am? Ugh. Especially when still on California time. Double ugh.
Especially when I was handed this:
This is probably one of my favorite souvenirs from an event ever! Do you see the white hexagon tag at the bottom right corner of my super large press pass? Why yes it does say White House Press Pool! I would have never ever imagined having one of these in my possession when taking journalism classes in high school and college!
Here’s another photo just in case you missed it:
Even though it says Property of U.S. Government I did not have to return it.
Right after being handed the aforementioned coveted pass, the press corp was ushered into a security line. We were instructed to drop all of our things and stand in single file line. I don’t know about you but I rarely leave my purse with my camera, netbook, phone, etc. anywhere let alone in a huge place with tons of people. But I didn’t want to argue with The Secret Service and since members of the press had much fancier equipment than me, I dropped my stuff and went.
Bypassing the huge line of people that stretched down multiple flights of stairs and around the convention center, I was ushered through a metal detector before bunching up with my press buddies for some more waiting. Then like cattle, we all bunched up and waited behind the fence (table) for further instructions as we watched bomb sniffing dogs sniff our belongings and purses opened and hand searched. Thank goodness they didn’t want my Luna Bars (aka breakfast)!
that is commonly found in the TSA lines!
Upon getting the all clear, we fled to grab our stuff and were taken to the room (aka cavernous convention hall) where The President would be speaking. It was dark, there were lots of chairs, I didn’t take a photo. Sorry.
Of course there was waiting-waiting- and-more-waiting especially since those of us in the press pool were the first ones to enter. We were confined behind a waist high red curtain and heavily guarded by Secret Service who told us that we were not allowed to leave. There was no search for caffiene IVs, group trip to the bathroom, or any chance of Lindsay of Rock and Roll Mama making her 11 am meeting.
We made the best of our time, multitasking as usual. Tweets were sent, Mac tips were shared, iGo Charge Anywheres were exchanged to power dead phones, and I rejoiced when I could connected to free wifi avoiding $16.95/hour convention center charges!
Mid-conversation with Amanda (Parenting by Dummies and Then Again Photography) there was a rumble overhead. Could it be? Marine One??? It was twenty minutes to 10 and resourceful bloggers behind me had already checked The President’s schedule on WhiteHouse.gov to confirm that his speech would begin at 10:05. Excitement grew in our part of the press corral.
Around 10 am National Urban League President Marc Morial took to the stage, giving a short speech before this…
And that’s when the early morning wakeup and the waiting became worthwhile! Forgive the shaky video. I was standing about 6 inches from the edge of the press platform!
President Obama spoke about education reform under his Race to the Top Plan. While it was inspiring to hear him speak, the plan is controversial for many reasons that I will address in my next post. As you can imagine, I have lots to say on the topic!
In the meantime, enjoy my Flickr slideshow of other images from the morning!
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Original post by Tech Savvy Mama