Quote of the day

Is President Obama secretly an ancient Egyptian?

By Alex Koppelman

Published June 4, 2009 10:20PM (EDT)

Sometimes, shockingly enough, there are events involving the president where the presence of a few dozen political reporters would just not do much for the atmosphere. For those instances, there's the pool system -- various media outlets (including Salon) take turns supplying a reporter who files brief dispatches that keep the rest of the White House press corps abreast of what's going on. As you might imagine, this can get pretty boring pretty fast.

Fortunately, the Wall Street Journal's Laura Meckler, Thursday's pooler, managed to maintain her sense of humor, even despite a fairly grueling schedule on the president's trip and what has to be a raging case of jet lag. From one of her reports, this one about President Obama's post-speech trip to the Pyramids:

He spent more than an hour and a half touring the Pyramids, led by the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass. Four of his closest advisers followed closely behind the pair throughout the tour: Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett and Robert Gibbs. Almost all of the information imparted to the president was inaudible by your pool, though POTUS approached us a few times with a joke and spoke a few of his observations for our benefit.

Near the end of the tour, he said, “Hear that guys? No evidence aliens actually built this.” Not having heard what proceeded that comment, it was hard to tell why someone would think aliens had in fact built the pyramids...

POTUS then climbed down a narrow set of stairs to an underground tomb, where the walls were covered with hieroglyphics. There was not enough room there for writers as well as photos so your pooler was not in the tomb when Obama was down there. But according to the TV pool producer, Obama looked at an etching on the wall of a face with large ears and said, “Hey that looks like me. Look at those ears!” A photograph of the image indicates that the president actually does, in fact, look a lot like him.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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