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A burgundy-coloured SUV prompted cheers from the crowd as it drove past the line. A man inside was laughing as he waved through the open window on the driver's side. "Wrong guy!" someone joked as he drove through the gate.
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon was at the steps of Air Force One and greeted the President in English and French, saying, "Bienvenue au Canada M. Le Président, au nom du gouvernement. Welcome to Canada Mr. President, on behalf of our Government." Cannon later said he was delighted to have welcomed Barack Obama for the start of his "historic day." "The President thanked me. He said he was pleased to be here and thanked everyone for the warm welcome and reception," Cannon said in a statement. "Today's meeting is about establishing a relationship between Prime Minister Harper and President Obama - a chance for the two leaders to get to know each other on a personal level," Cannon said. "I look forward to working on our common agenda today and in the months ahead." -- Bruce Campion-Smith
This is a shot of the media working room in the Railway Room of Centre Block. It's become the hottest ticket in town -- the pool pass that allows journalists access to the President's photo opportunities and his news conference. And with hundreds of reporters and camera people in town for the visit, there aren't enough of them to go around, sparking some tension as journalists hope to get a chance to spot Barack Obama. The access is determined by passes, each with a magic number or letter. With the President on the ground at the airport, photographers were mustered into position for the photo op in anticipation of his arrival in the rotunda of Parliament Hill. -- Bruce Campion-Smith
Touchdown -- welcome to Ottawa, Mr President. Below, we're forwarding to readers the pool report just filed by the pool reporter aboard Air Force One -- doesn't say much, but gives you an idea of the minute detail with which POTUS is followed. -- Mitch Potter
-----Original Message----- From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: Potter, Mitch Sent: Thu Feb 19 10:23:49 2009 Subject: Fw: Pool Report #1
----- Original Message ----- From: Weisman, Jonathan To: Finkenbinder, Benjamin N.; Hogan, Katherine J. Sent: Thu Feb 19 09:24:02 2009 Subject: Pool Report #1
At 10:15, amid a steady rain and whipping, cold wind, Marine 1 arrived at Andrews. POTUS emerged and jogged up the stairs to Air Force 1 without a coat or umbrella. Robert Gibbs lagged behind at Marine 1, fumbling with his oversized umbrella.
Wheels up 9:22 a.m.
Jonathan Weisman -------------------------- Sent using BlackBerry
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It's the norm in visits such as these to keep the Ottawa and Washington media packs separated, though the two will collide later today when Obama and Harper take a paltry few questions after their working lunch. In the meantime, the Washington-based hacks now are parked in a White House-only press filing facility at the the Ottawa Convention Centre. The talking heads are talking, the bloggers are blogging, everyone else is loading up on coffee. On the bus from the airport, much oohing and ahhing from the U.S.-based media as they got their first glimpse of the Rideau Canal, on which some late-skaters could still be seen blading their way to work. "People here skate to work? Is that ever cool!" gushed one. This prompted Major Garrett, Senior White House Correspondent for Fox News, to wax breathlessly to the Toronto Star about what a huge Washington Capitals fan he has become. "You know, until last year hockey just didn't capture anyone's imagination," Garrett told The Star. "But we get it now. Washington has an incredible team and the city is getting behind it like never before." -- Mitch Potter
Wee bit of uncertainty among the big-name U.S. media stars that just landed here in Ottawa about the natural headline that might emerge from today's Obama-Harper encounter.
Is it trade and economy? Environment and energy? Afghanistan? Renewed friendship? All of the above?
One American reporter poring over the numbers providied by ther U.S. State Department just did the math and shouted out loud -- "Get this: Canada's entire annual GDP is about the same as this year's U.S. deficit!"
-- Mitch Potter