On the Prowl
With the triumphant declaration, "The bear is loose," President Obama recently has twice escaped the White House bubble and strolled off campus. First, it was a leisurely walk along the Ellipse to the Interior Department on May 21. This week, it was Monday's hike up Pennsylvania Avenue to a Starbucks. But on both occasions, the liberated president made it clear he wants some people to stay in their cage — the reporters who cover him. Both times, Obama showed clear pique that those pesky reporters were ruining his jaunts. All recent presidents have allowed at least one print reporter close enough to monitor their interactions. But this president doesn't like that precedent. "C'mon, guys," he complained to reporters en route to Interior. "You're not going to follow me the whole way?" Only the official White House photographer and a government videographer stayed close. On Monday, the White House broke from the long-accepted norm and did not alert the protective press pool in time for reporters to accompany the president. When they caught up, Obama complained to his aides, ordering them to herd the press away. The White House Correspondents' Association has since protested. But insiders are decidedly bearish about the chances of restoring the traditional coverage rules.
George E. Condon Jr.
An Unfamiliar Spot
The Jeb Bush 2016 boomlet suddenly has taken a new twist — Jeb for veep. The former Florida governor has kept rigorously quiet about his options. Even brother George remains in the dark about his sibling's leanings. But the big-time opposition of Jeb's wife, Columba, to a presidential run leads many Republican elders to assume he won't be a candidate. That's why some of these same GOP leaders have begun touting Jeb as the natural choice for the second spot. "He's the perfect No. 2 for any Republican ticket," a top GOP consultant told National Journal. "It makes a world of sense." Bush is an unabashed conservative, the theory goes, but a kinder, gentler version who can appeal to mainstream Republicans, conservative Democrats, and independents. He would even pass muster with conservative red-hots who think he's too establishment, especially because he speaks fluent Spanish and is popular with Hispanic voters otherwise turned off by the GOP's hard line on immigration reform. And if Jeb has to campaign for only three months as a VP nominee, instead of more than two years as a presidential candidate, a senior Bush family source predicts his wife would sign off.