— The only reason, really, that I signed up for this media event was to see if I’d get through the Secret Service background check. Honestly, I was a little disappointed that I did. But when I walked up to the Nasher this morning at 8, I nearly got shot (exaggeration) when I walked past the media entrance at the side and tried to go through the front door. Those guys don’t play around.
— Before Laura Bush arrived, the press corps — about a dozen strong, mostly TV camerapersons — had to line up against a wall and get wanded by a metal detector. I told the Secret Service agent wielding the wand: “I really hoped you’d frisk me.” No such luck.
— One of the TV cameramen made jokes about “shooting” Laura Bush and how he was going out to his car to get his “shotgun” mic. Hysterical stuff. One of the Secret Service guys was nice enough to laugh and say, “Hey, I’m a nice guy.” To which the cameraman replied, “Sure, you’re nice. It’s the gun that hurts.” I’m pretty sure this cameraman will be watched closely for the next couple days.
— The Nasher folks (Hi, Kristen!) were nice enough to serve us coffee, pastries, and fresh fruit while we waited for Laura Bush to arrive. Here’s a tip if you ever cover such an event: don’t drink too much coffee. Because then, when you try to go to the bathroom, several gentlemen wearing suits and earpieces will stop you and say, “Sorry, no bathrooms. They’ve already been swept.” (Laura Bush to advance team: “When I get there, those damn bathroom floors had better be immaculate!”)
— Sometime D contributor Nan Coulter was there with her cameras. You wanna know how cool she is? She didn’t have to wait with the rest of us press dorks. She didn’t have to get wanded. She didn’t even have to stand behind the roped-off area like the rest of us. She just showed up and took pictures like she owned the place. My guess is, she has top-secret security clearance.
— Laura Bush herself? She comes across like any other woman you’d see in church. Does that make sense? If she weren’t the First Lady, you wouldn’t give her a second look. I wonder if she’s ever uttered a curse word in her life.
— Oh, and one more thing: a very dapper Jed Morse was in attendance today, walking around with Laura Bush and listening as Nancy Nasher talked about her parents’ art collection. When can we take the word “acting” off of his Acting Chief Curator title? Listen, I don’t know what I’m talking about, but the guy has been doing the job now for more than a year, right? And he’s been there since the place opened. I’d say he’s familiar with the collection. He dresses well. Just give the kid a 25-percent raise, promote him, and call it a day already.