Pres. Gets Chatty With Press

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad – President Barack Obama says he won't yet assess his foreign policy. For that, he'll turn to NBC's Chuck Todd.

As the U.S. president wrapped up his four-day trip to Mexico and the Summit of the Americas on the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, he said he would rely on the goateed White House correspondent.

"Well, you know, I will leave it up to you, Chuck, to write the definitive statement on Obamaism," the president said Sunday at his summit-ending news conference with U.S. reporters.

An amused Todd listened as Obama ticked through his goals for human rights and collaboration with other countries.


Todd wasn't the only reporter getting joshed by the president. American Urban Radio Networks' April Ryan got a friendly tease from the chief executive when he called on her at the news conference.

"Oh, you look surprised," Obama said with a chuckle. "Come on, April. I hope you've got a good question."

Ryan told her that she had, in fact, two for him.

"All right," Obama said, having fun with his traveling press corps as the sun beat down. "Well, you only get one, though."


Lost: One wallet. Found: On the president's podium.

As Obama closed his notebook and walked away from his podium, he noticed an unexpected fixture.

"By the way, whose wallet is this?" Obama said. "Is this one of my staff's here? Did you guys put this on? Is that yours, Marvin?"

From the sidelines, aide Marvin Nicholson acknowledged it was his wallet. He had put it under Obama's notebook to prop it up.

"OK, I don't want you to forget it," a chatty Obama said.

A constant fixture with Obama's traveling entourage through the campaign, Nicholson now manages the president's travel.


So much for that last photograph. The parting picture never came together.

At the Diplomatic Centre, where the 34 leaders had their final retreat, several leaders came out Sunday and took their place on the front steps.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez wore a bright pink dress and stood on top of her name. Obama followed, stood on his red-carpet placard, shook the hand of Prime Minister Patrick Manning of Trinidad and Tobago and then bolted.

Not everyone came. Bolivian President Evo Morales had apparently already left. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez was nowhere to be seen.

It was the final piece of a summit plagued by disorganization. The host country failed to provide transcripts of speeches, canceled news conferences and imposed a temporary media ban Saturday.

In closing remarks Sunday, Manning acknowledged the difficulties.

"It is not easy to put together a conference of this nature," he said. "I am sure that our arrangements have not been perfect."

As Obama prepared to leave the summit, he mentioned the Saturday melee that trapped world leaders in hallways, put government officials in screaming matches with security, and shoved reporters around. A smiling Obama called on Bloomberg's Juliana Goldman, "who, by the way, I saw getting jostled a lot during the photo sprays. Cameramen, I just want you to know."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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