White House Press Pool report 6 from Thailand

Subject: Pool report 5//toast

Potus and PM Yingluck ended their news conference at about 8 p.m. local time after taking two questions apiece. It was open press. Afterward, they retired to a large dining hall in the same government house complex, where a dozen circular tables were set up with fancy silverware and china under a huge glittery chandelier. A long head table was also set up near one entrance, and the other side had a stringed band and a tradition Thai music group set up, with an elegant looking woman in a red dress holding a mic as though she might later sing.  There was a small stage or dance floor with a projected mural behind it featuring US and Thai flags. On the dining tables on one side were little namecards with table titles relevant to Potus: Honolulu, Chicago, Washington DC and New York. And on the other side the tables had names of Thai cities including Chiang Mai.
Potus and PM Yingluck and Sec State Clinton entered, along with other dignitaries. Yingluck sat in the middle of the long table, with Clinton on her left and Potus to her right. Also at the head table for the Americans were Tom Donilon, Danny Russell and Valerie Jarrett. Kurt Campbell and Jon Favreau were spotted among the Americans as the circular tables. half-filled champagne glasses were at each seat.
Yingluck gave the first toast, congratulating Potus on his election victory and saying this would be “a celebration for your second term in office. I believe your presidency will be a successful one and fruitful” for fostering Thai-US relations. After she finished everyone clinked glasses.
Then Potus gave a toast, saying: “My visit to this country is far too brief. but even in my short time I’ve seen the warmth and hospitality of the Thai people. This is the ‘Land of Smiles,’ and I’ve felt it everywhere I’ve gone. The peace and tranquility I felt at Wat Pho and viewing the reclining Buddha. The strength and wisdom of the king. … And we all feel the unique friendship of the Thai people.” He noted that he is proud of Thai Americans, incluiding his Illinois friend Ladda Tammy Duckworth, the first Thai American elected to Congress.
“In Asia, Thailand is our oldest friend,” Potus said. Everyone clinked glasses again and sipped their champagne and the pool was led out as the food began to be served. Couldn’t see what Thai food the president would be lucky enough to eat, but we all know he likes all of it.
Holding in the place where they had the press conference.
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David Nakamura
Washington Post Staff

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