Intense, that is, until a reporter John Gizzi's cell phone began chiming one of those vaguely familiar ring tones which have become this era's elevator music.
Spokesman Robert Gibbs looked up and said, "just put it on vibrate man. We did this before...it happened twice one day."
He resumed. Ten seconds later, Gizzi's phone went off again.
"Give me the phone," said Gibbs - and started down from the podium, hand outstretched.
Laugher all around.
Gibbs took the phone, walked to the pressroom door, and pitched it to someone inside.
Then the briefing resumed -- for thirty seconds.
That's when my phone rang - a standard ring, nothing imaginative. I answered. It was a source I'd been waiting to hear from.
"You too," asked Gibbs? "So you want to do it too? Here, come on."
"Gibbs wants to take my phone," I explained to the caller as I got up from the chair and headed outside.
"I assume it's your banker, with a suit like that?" Gibbs quipped as I walked out, in reference to my pin-striped suit. "There's cotton candy down the street. It's a circus."
I spent about five minutes on the phone and came back into the briefing.
I asked Gibbs if I'd missed anything.
He joked in response: "Will somebody brief Bill on our new Supreme Court nominee?"
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Bill Plante is a CBS News senior White House correspondent.