Wednesday, September 08, 2004

View from the Pool

The New York Times David Sanger filed this afternoon's pool report from Florida, another great bit of writing:

We proceeded to Fort Pierce, about 10 minutes away, to Lawnwood Recreation Area, dominated by a stadium used for local games. The POTUS's motorcade pulled in to an area outside the municipal stadium, where a Dunkin Donuts truck, a truck providing iced lattes (help is on the way), and trucks full of bottled water and other supplies were lined up. "Convoy of Hope,'' a nonprofit described to us as based in Missouri -- check that before you print it -- was running a drive-thru aid operation, and cars were lined up outside the stadium to pick up emergency supplies.

By the time your pool caught up with POTUS, the Bush Brothers -- Jeb in a khaki shirt, his brother in a light blue checked shirt -- were loading water and bags of ice into cars, leaning into the passenger seats to shake hands. Most of the
conversation was out of the earshot of your poolers. But the lineup of cars looked a little like a Saturday afternoon line at Safeway to pickup groceries, with the governor of Florida and the POTUS as the bag-loaders -- only with more
smiles. As a photo-op it was perfect -- the president was signing $2 billion of aid in the morning, then delivering the goods by lunchtime. You'd never know an election was eight weeks away.

"God bless,'' we overheard him say to Vernon and Joyzell Friason, who drove away before we could get any details about their situation. A few cars down was a fellow in dreadlocks -- we never got his name in the crush -- drove up in his battered, mud-covered green Lincoln, the trunk open to receive goods. The President leaned in, shook his hand, dropped some ice in, and said to his brother: "Fine looking car. I used to have one just like it.''

The next driver had a new pickup with a nice liner in the bed -- the president dropped 32 half-liter bottles of water into the back. "Thanks for coming by,'' he said. At some moments, the governor was loading trunks while the President was tossing diapers and ice into the back seats of cars.

Their career as baggers finished, the two brothers went back to their day jobs. . . .

Not to knock Sanger or anything, but if you read him daily in the Times, would you ever have guessed he could be so light on his feet?

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