Thursday, March 1, 2012

How a tweet got me to the White House (or This is What Democracy Looks Like)

This post is long overdue, but still something worth sharing.

Sometimes living in D.C. gets a little surreal. I've already covered my activities around Christmas, where I got to enjoy a couple Embassy parties and sit up near the front for the National Christmas Tree lighting. No biggie, just the norm around these parts. This past year I've also been lucky enough to eat Presidentially-Sealed cake and personally meet the Secretary of the Interior and other high level officials across the government. While there are plenty of downsides to living "inside the beltway," these brushes with importance are fun perks.

Topping off all of my brushes with power experience was a random invitation received a couple of weeks ago. After following @Whitehouse on Twitter and contributing a tweet to the President's social media blitz on the payroll tax cut debate, I was invited to the White House (well, technically the Eisenhower Executive Office Building) to attend an address by the President on the issue. Having watched every single episode of West Wing over a period of several months after arriving in D.C., hearing that announcement "Please Stand for the President of the United States of America" was pretty thrilling. The speech itself was memorable for it's strong stand for equity, but also for his opening line acknowledging the day  - "Obama offers Valentines Day Advice."

The President of the United States of America

My seat, pretty close if you ask me

The day after my visit to the White House, my parents arrived for a visit from Washington State, and as a good host/daughter I had arranged all sorts of activities for us to do while they were in town. While I decided to take that Friday off of work, Thursday I still had a lot to do, so I sent them over to do the standard White House tour, which I had done with my mom a few years prior. As I was sitting at my desk, diligently working on some memo or another while occasionally scanning my twitter feed for interesting updates (see above for why twitter is a good idea) I saw a news flash that the First Lady was surprising White House guests at that very moment. And they were live-streaming it on whitehouse.gov! So I tuned in to watch as Michelle Obama and the dog Bo greeted visitors. I wasn't sure if I had missed my family going through, but sure enough, about 8 minutes in there they were, live, meeting the first lady and the first dog! You can see the press release and whole video here - http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/02/16/first-lady-michelle-obama-surprises-white-house-visitors

Read and Mom get to meet Michelle and Bo Obama at White House. 
So it was a great week for me and my family to get up and personal with the Commander in Chief and his family!

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