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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Staffers visit, White House remains mum

NASHUA – A group of students got a chance to chat with a White House official Monday about the planning that goes into a presidential visit.

It was an opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the logistics of pulling off an event of such magnitude.

So who was the official and what did he say to the students during the 30-minute Q&A? Well, that’s off the record.

The White House deemed it unfit for publication.

In fact, even the White House directive from a communications director saying the meeting was off limits, was itself off the record, and has since been removed from this story at the White House’s request.

The unidentified official in charge of advance planning for Obama’s forum took questions from a group of about 45 Advanced Placement government and U.S. history students. Another official who is in charge of handling the press corps met with journalism students earlier in the day.

Despite taking place during school hours, neither officials’ name could be used, according to White House staff.

Likewise, their responses were not to be published in the newspaper, even though the discussion was light in nature. Photos were banned as well, and a Telegraph photographer was asked to put his camera away.

Students asked the officials questions like why they chose their jobs and if they ever get to hang out with Obama.

As the official in charge of planning spoke with students Monday afternoon in the gym, people were working to set up the chairs and stage where the forum would take place. A giant American flag had been raised behind the stage, where Obama will stand and take questions today.

Michael Brindley can be reached at 594-6426 or mbrindley@nashuatelegraph.com.