Can I read the daily White House pool report?
January 13, 2009 8:09 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to read the daily Obama pool report?

The White House press pool is a group of journalists, each of whom takes a turn writing a daily narrative of the president's schedule. A pool has been covering Obama as well. (Some more info here and here, and some examples here and here.) The daily pool report doesn't seem available to "regular folks" except when excerpts sneak out in dribs and drabs, but I'd love to be able to read it on a regular basis. Is there any way to do this?
posted by Tin Man to Law & Government (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
About the only way to get the pool report consistently is to get it from a reporter who is on the WH pool report distribution list. Yes, sometimes the pool report is itself newsworthy and it is circulated verbatim to a wider audience, but fundamentally it's a tool that's intended for the use of reporters who cover the White House.

So, unless you befriend someone in the national press corps or a member of the White House Press Office (which receives the pool report as a courtesy), I'm afraid you're out of luck.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:41 PM on January 13, 2009

This is a shot in the dark, but perhaps the Freedom of Information Act can help you here? The taxpayers have the right to know, and all that.
posted by jrockway at 8:44 PM on January 13, 2009

It's actually really unusual that the pool reports have surfaced publicly in recent years as much as they do. They used to be closely guarded and full of in jokes and slang. Nowadays, you often see pool reports from the WH or campaigns surface when well-connected bloggers get leaks from their buddies.
But no, there is no outside distribution. It's a press generated report circulated by the WH (or the transition office, in this case) and not available to the public.
FOIA takes months and years, even if you could FOIA them.

They are usually pretty dull, FYI. Only the fun ones leak.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:51 PM on January 13, 2009

Except the pool report isn't produced by the government, and therefore FOIA does not apply.
posted by Rangeboy at 8:51 PM on January 13, 2009

I have an RSS subscription to Mark Halperin's Time magazine blog "The Page" and I frequently see pool reports like this posted. Perhaps you can filter that feed through Yahoo Pipes to give you another RSS feed where each post has the word "pool" in it.
posted by jaimev at 11:12 PM on January 13, 2009

MLIS, that quotation says exactly nothing that should lead one to conclude that FOIA applies to the pool report. It's just an offhand remark in an editorial on another topic, so I don't put too much stock in it, even if it is in the New York Times.

Even if it did apply (as the White House distributes the repots), FOIA won't be that helpful since it will take forever to get the results.
posted by grouse at 7:20 AM on January 14, 2009

Oh, well. Thanks, all! Maybe I'll try jaimev's suggestion.
posted by Tin Man at 7:21 AM on January 14, 2009

Looks like the Obama White House may be distributing the pool reports through the official website.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:27 AM on January 20, 2009

Looks like they probably won't after all. (It's work product of reporters, not the WH, so I don't see how they can.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:43 PM on January 21, 2009

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