Tone of the Briefing

Chief White House correspondent Martha Raddatz blogs:

I have a new cell phone. The thin kind that women can easily slip in their bags and men can slip in their pockets. But it had a problem. Even at their loudest, the standard ring tones the phone came with weren’t loud enough. I was missing all kinds of calls. So I turned to my 15-year-old son Jake for some help.

He grabbed it and in no time I had a new, very loud ring tone. “Ridin’ Dirty� -- that’s all I could catch from the lyrics -- and I wasn’t really listening very carefully anyway. And quite honestly, I liked it! Of course I should have been clued in when Jake couldn’t stop smiling as he handed it back and said, “Yeah, mom, this one’s perfect.�

But it was perfect. It was loud and that’s what I needed. And mothers have a hard enough time convincing their kids they weren’t born in the stone age, so I certainly wasn’t going to say “You call that music!!???� I was also careful to put it on vibrate whenever I was in White House briefings or out in public. Until today.

Right in the middle of the briefing, with my phone in my bag (Helen Thomas was not there today so I had my bag on her empty seat), I got a call. A loud one. It seemed like forever before I finally fumbled through my bag and figured out how to shut it off. (Where was Jake when I needed him?) But Tony Snow was quick with the comeback:

MR. SNOW: As I said, Sheryl, it's one of these things that the President has made it clear that he's going to have exchanges of views, but I'm not taking you in the room with them.

(Cell phone rings.) (Laughter.) Does Martha have a hip-hop ring tone? (Laughter.) Play that funky music, white girl. (Laughter.)

[Click here to watch video of their exchange]

And now, thanks to that exchange, I know the song (Ridin') and the artist (Chamillionaire featuring Krayzie Bone). [Click here for the music video on YouTube] Great huh?

But as my colleague at CBS radio pointed out: “It is the first time in the history of White House briefings that the phrase, ‘Play some funky music, white girl’ has been uttered.�

Of course that wasn’t exactly the history I was going for today.

Oh, and Jake? He got a huge laugh out of this whole thing. And lucky for him, he was in school when the phone rang, so I know it wasn’t him. At least I think it wasn’t him. Is there a way to tell?

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