How to Photograph a White House Chief of Staff

Richard A. Bloom
Add to Briefcase
Richard A. Bloom
Dec. 11, 2015, 5 a.m.

It was 1987, and former Sen­at­or Howard Baker had re­cently been named Pres­id­ent Re­agan’s chief of staff, re­pla­cing Don­ald Regan. Stor­ies like these were Na­tion­al Journ­al’s meat and pota­toes, and I was told to get a photo for the next week’s cov­er story on how Baker’s ap­point­ment would af­fect the White House staff.

A few years earli­er, I had pho­to­graphed Baker in his role as sen­ate ma­jor­ity lead­er, which is when I also met Tommy Griscom, Baker’s press sec­ret­ary. Like most Hill staffers, Tommy was pro­tect­ive of his boss’s time, al­low­ing me only five minutes to take my pho­tos and dis­ap­pear. I ac­cep­ted his con­di­tions, entered Baker’s of­fice with Tommy, and began tak­ing pic­tures. After about four minutes, I thanked the sen­at­or for his time, packed up my gear, and headed to­ward the door. Baker, a renowned photo buff, put his hand on my shoulder and star­ted talk­ing cam­er­as. I looked at Tommy and shrugged. After a few minutes, ob­vi­ously miffed, Tommy turned on his heel and walked out of the of­fice. The sen­at­or and I con­tin­ued to dis­cuss lenses and cam­er­as.

Fast for­ward to 1987. Tommy Griscom was now White House com­mu­nic­a­tions dir­ect­or, and I had to go through him to get my cov­er photo of Baker. When I fi­nally got him on the phone, his an­swer was set in stone: No way could he let me take pic­tures of Howard Baker, who was far too busy to take the time. After much plead­ing, he al­lowed that al­though he couldn’t de­liv­er Baker, he could get me in with the pres­id­ent in­stead. That didn’t help me with the prob­lem at hand, but you don’t turn down a one-on-one with the lead­er of the free world.

A few days later, I ar­rived at the White House Press Of­fice and was es­cor­ted by an aide to the Oval Of­fice wait­ing area. After a few minutes, I was brought in to meet Pres­id­ent Re­agan. I star­ted click­ing away, mov­ing out­side near the Rose Garden for a bet­ter back­ground. Re­agan was ex­ceed­ingly gra­cious and co­oper­at­ive. When I had all the pho­tos I needed, I thanked him and shook his hand. He then asked me if there was any­thing else he could do for me.

“Mr. Pres­id­ent,” I said, “I really need to take a pic­ture of Howard Baker.” With­in two minutes, I was tak­ing pic­tures of Baker, both with and without the pres­id­ent.

What We're Following See More »
WEDNESDAY?
Judiciary Committee Counteroffers on Ford Appearance
2 hours ago
THE LATEST
INSPECTOR GENERAL WILL REVIEW FIRST
Trump Backtracks on Document Dump
4 hours ago
THE LATEST
THIS WILL NOT HELP
Trump Says Ford Should Have Filed Charges 36 Years Ago
5 hours ago
THE LATEST
DOESN'T WANT TO BE NEAR KAVANAUGH
Ford Would Like to Testify on Thursday
17 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault in the 1980s, is reportedly willing to publicly testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee next Thursday. Lawyers for Ford told committee staffers during a call Thursday evening to negotiate details of a potential hearing that she wanted Kavanaugh to testify before her and she does not want to be in the same room as him, according to multiple reports."

Source:
PER LETTER TO JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
Kavanaugh WIll Testify Monday
20 hours ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login