Behind the Oval
©Kevin Lamarque for Reuters
The first time you enter the Oval Office, you can barely breathe, but eventually you learn to focus on the job at hand. These guys from different press outlets have been covering the White House for decades, so I guess they were a little too focused on getting good audio to worry about Vice President Biden, who was attacked by these boom mics during a bilateral meeting with Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. In this picture, I'm worried about what I always worried about at the end of a pool spray: Is a member of the press going to yell out a question, and will I hear it over the clicks of the several dozen camera shutters?
© Saul Loeb with AFP
Asia swings are notoriously exhausting, but President Obama is never too tired to learn or see something new, which is why we spent an afternoon flying to Luang Prabang while we were on his historic visit to Laos. POTUS met with young monks at Wat Xieng Thong, one of Laos's oldest Buddhist temples, before we flew back to Vientiane. After seeing the temples and watching POTUS interact with the monks, I was no longer exhausted. I was excited. The President taught me so many lessons, not least of which was how important it was to get outside your comfort zone, and to learn about different cultures not only with your head, but also your heart.
© Chuck Kennedy
During the Obama administration, there were five official White House photographers. Needless to say, they are beyond talented, and I was beyond grateful when Chuck Kennedy surprised me with this candid as an early Christmas gift. This is From the Corner of the Roosevelt Room during an interview. While covering President Obama was always an honor, I particularly enjoyed listening to his interviews, when he would invariably use a word I didn't know and would later look up. I miss having a leader with a vocabulary more extensive than mine.
© Jason Reed
This photograph is hard proof that pictures may say a thousand words, but that doesn't mean they're accurate depictions of reality. I've got to hand it to Jason Reed for making me look glamorous, even if I was fighting a cold, sleep-deprived, and fighting with my boyfriend as we landed in Seattle. If you're scrolling through Instagram and it looks like everyone is having more fun than you, don't believe it! Think of this photo! I was miserable but man, I am working it!
The night before I took this photograph, I was crouched in the corner of the very tiny restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam, where President Obama dined with Anthony Bourdain. On this day, the two men were supposed to stroll through the street market, but torrential downpours made such filming rather untenable. Nevertheless, everyone tried to make it work. And while Secret Service secured the street and the advance team improvised a ropeline, I looked up, in awe, as always. Don't you love that little girl sticking her palm out to catch raindrops?
© Carolyn Kaster, AP
I have an incredibly supportive mother, but she has despised this "tacky" plastic Santa Claus lawn ornament ever since I bought him for $5 at a supermarket during a Christmas in July sale when I was in middle school. I brought him with me on my first trip to Hawaii because it would also be my first Christmas away from my family. Although I was on-call the whole time I was in Hawaii (or any Obama vacation, for that matter), my one planned responsibility during the trip was to provide a transcript of Mrs. Obama's phone calls with children on Christmas Eve as she tracked Santa Claus and his reindeer with the help of NORAD. Needless to say, my own Santa kept me company as I typed.
© Chuck Kennedy
An OTR is an Off-The-Record event, meaning we'd just sort of show up somewhere. On a bus tour through upstate New York, we stopped at a soccer field where a girls high school team was hosting preseason tryouts. As a former soccer player and coach, I still go weak in the knees when I smell fresh-cut grass. There was no need to run -- I knew POTUS wasn't going to make formal remarks -- but the fact that our President had stopped the bus to encourage young women to play their hearts out was so thrilling I didn't know what to do with myself. So I ran. I ran out of joy, out of pride, out of habit -- because who walks across perfect grass on a beautiful summer morning when given the opportunity to run?