Adventures in “Zone 4”…
Consider this an open thread for all things related to the Obama visit. I have a crazy-busy day today so won’t be able to follow this “event” too closely, but will try to provide updates as time and/or interest allows.
Some resources (via National Newswatch):
• News Wire
• Wire Pics
• Watch Live Obama Visit Coverage (CPAC)
• Listen to Live Radio Coverage (CBC Radio)
7:57 — Interesting to note that Obama’s trip received absolutely ZERO coverage on the Today show on NBC other than a quick mention that the president would be in Ottawa, Canada… Correction: They just made note of it while rattling off the top news stories of the day, describing it as an attempt to “ease Canadian fears about protectionism.”
8:10 — Meeting with Governor General Michaëlle Jean running longer than scheduled. Twice the length of that accorded to Michael Ignatieff. Unprecedented! Reason ascribed to the “special connection” between the two… much talk of their “unique relationship” and so on. (i.e., They’re both “black” and have some common threads related to immigrant backgrounds, etc.)
8:25 — Meeting with the GG now over, Obama’s motorcade is headed to Parliament Hill. Pictures of his armour-plated, hermetically-sealed “beast” limo followed by numerous black SUVs driving down deserted, snow-covered roads. Could the creep-factor be any higher? I wonder how that limo got here… Minutes later, at the halfway mark and a CBC reporter standing roadside observes the motorcade speeding by, complete with police chopper overhead and decoy car (dummy version of the president included).
8:45 — After the fastest commute from the airport to Parliament Hill on record, the Eagle had
landed arrived! Phony waves and smiles to the small crowd of people gathered to catch a brief glimpse of the U.S. president. Ridiculous protocol now underway… Shaking hands and some cursory chatter with the absurdly decked-out parliamentary officials, signing of the visitors book in the rotunda, and it’s rapidly up the stairs… to the land of mystery!
9:00 — While the key figures are off-camera, it’s time for the CBC reporters to talk to the Obamamaniacs and other loons assembled in front of Parliament Hill. After that, a few hours of idle speculation and flatulent punditry filling up the coverage until the next glimpse of the leaders is provided, so I’m going to step away and run some errands. I don’t imagine that I’ll be missing anything. Oh wait… the lunch menu! Pacific coast tuna, arctic char, applewood smoked plains bison, juniper and Niagara red wine, Accadian buckwheat something or other, etc. Nice to see they’re walking the walk when it comes to belt-tightening!
10:15 — Raw video from the AP of Obama’s arrival at the “fly-by summit” (to quote Don Martin) in “Ottowa”… Way to go American media!
10:30 — Pics dribbling out now… History Made! Obama meets with “hottie” GG. Stephen Who?
11:30 — Blah, blah, blah… Filling time talking to the stragglers on Parliament Hill until the press conference due to start before noon. Oooo. Can’t you feel the palpable excitement of the platitudes of filial, cross-border solidarity to come? Not to mention the vague promises of billions of taxpayer dollars to be invested in
completely fictional cutting-edge technologies like “clean coal” and “carbon sequestration” that will revolutionize energy production in the future!
12:10 — Oh, I am so fucking prescient! (LOL)
12:40 — Fleeting press conference over. Great, we’re going to have a “clean energy dialog” now (see, I told you). Zzzzz. Excruciatingly tedious deconstruction and forensic dissection by assembled pundits doubtless to follow on. But now, departure from Parliament Hill… And “the wave” by Obama and “that other guy” (as described by someone in the crowd).
1:25 — While waiting for AF1 to be de-iced, it seems Obama decided to press the flesh at the Byward Market. An “amazing development” according to Don Newman. Some talk of “beaver tail” ensued, but sadly no footage of this momentous retail politicking was provided, so matters quickly turned to the aimlessly convoluted speculations of pundits, hacks and washed-up politicians.
And then… Obama sat down for a brief chat about the weather (and impromptu “beaver tails”) with Michael Ignatieff. Bob Rae was rumoured to be hovering in the background.
2:30 — Wheels up as Obama heads back home. So, what do you think of the visit? Despite all of the artificial time constraints, nasty media restrictions, microscopic stage management, and oppressive security measures, I’d have to say that from the superficial perspective of “relationship building” it has to be measured at least as a limited success for Team Harper.