Traveling with the White House has its share or perks and random occurrences. Yesterday, we spent the three hours waiting for President Obama's press conference with Russian President Medvedev, admiring the opulent gold-leaf filled rooms of the Kremlin.
This morning, as we sat waiting for the President's arrival at the New Economic School of Moscow where he was speaking, we saw former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and his entourage enjoying a cup of coffee. Gorbachev, who was there to meet with President Obama, declined our request for a quick chat, citing a sore throat.
But there's more to these trips than the perks of international travel. The days are long and sleep is limited. I started the day at 830am local time, that's just after midnight in New York. I got on a bus from our press hotel and we drove around Red Square and the Kremlin to arrive at a building called the Gostiny Dvor, which is known for its glass ceiling, the largest in Europe. I went there to hear President Obama speak at the graduation ceremony for the New Economic School, a newer western college here in Moscow. The speech was scheduled to start at 11am here in Moscow. That's 3am in New York. And 2am in St. Louis.
The President arrived about 45 minutes late and gave what the White House called a major policy address on relations between the US and Russia. After the speech, the television reporters in the press corps were escorted to a small room tucked away in the corner where the major network White House correspondents each got 8-12 minute interviews with the man himself. CBS's Chip Reid went 3rd in the rotation.
After that, Chip and I headed back to the hotel where we are staying, a quick walk past the multi-color domes of the St. Basil Cathedral and across the bridge away from Red Square. We arrived back at the hotel at 2pm local time, just after 6am in New York, leaving us enough time to write a quick script for the Early Show, on the air at 7am in New York - 3pm here in Moscow.
Now, its 12:50 in the afternoon in the East, and its 8:50 at night here. The sun is still shining so it doesn't feel as though it is that late. After the Early Show, we've watched the President's events and are right now preparing a piece for tonight's CBS Evening News, on the air at 6:30 pm on the East Coast. That is 2:30 am TOMORROW in Moscow.
After that, it gets fun. At 3am local time, 7pm EST, we board the all too familiar press busses at the hotel for a ride to the airport and quick 4 hour flight to Rome, where the President is attending the G8 Conference of the world's major industrial powers. The good news is the that Rome is two hours closer to New York, so when the evening news goes on the air back home, its only 12:30 am in Rome. That is 12:30, the next day.
These trips are always a blur, straddling countries, time zones and days. While tiring, these trips are also exhilarating, knowing that you are seeing history first hand and having the honor of being US Press on foreign soil, and covering the President of the United States for CBS News.