Fw: VPOTUS pool report #4

From: Lee, Carol
Sent: Friday, January 22, 2016 7:44 PM
To: Goodman, Meghan K. EOP/OVP
Subject: VPOTUS pool report #4

Vice President Biden's motorcade pulled away from the Blue Mosque at 5:15pm, just as the call to prayer started (Mr. Biden had to be out of the mosque before the call).

Mr. Biden, Dr. Biden and Naomi Biden went shopping at Arasta Bazaar behind the Blue Mosque. They strolled through the bazaar with a large entourage of Secret Service agents, staff and other government officials. It was snowing, at some points steadily with thick flakes, which made for a pretty picturesque stroll. There were some people sitting in a caf? in the middle of the market but otherwise it seemed fairly empty.

When pool caught up with VPOTUS he was in a jewelry store with his wife.

He later told pool he bought her a necklace and confessed he is a terrible bargainer. The necklace was $350 and he was ready to pay it, he said, but his wife wanted to negotiate. Mr. Biden credited his wife and the large Secret Service agent standing a few feet away with getting the store owner to come down to $100.

Turns out the owner of the store didn't know who his customer was - although he clearly knew his customer was important, given the security entourage. The store owner later showed pool pictures of him with Mr. Biden on phone, pointed to him and asked who he was. He wanted to know his name. We told him it was Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States. He asked if we would write his name down on a piece of paper. Washington Post's Karen DeYoung wrote 'USA vice president Joe Biden on a piece of paper from her notebook.' The shop owner pulled up the photo of him, with Mr. Biden and Dr. Biden, pointed to Dr. Biden and asked her name. Ms. DeYoung wrote 'Jill Biden' on the same paper. He thanked pool.

Mr. Biden and family spent about an hour at the bazaar.  Secret Service agents were all around them and stood outside any store VPOTUS entered. They walked in and out of shops. Sometimes together, sometimes they went their own ways. They went into another jewelry store. Mr. Biden went with Dr. Biden into a store that sold blankets, towels and robes. But he quickly left and did some window shopping on his own. Some men running a spice market across from the linens store asked him to take a photo with them. Mr. Biden seemed to be ready to take a pass. But one of the men said it would make him very happy if he took a photo with them. VPOTUS walked over to the spice store and posed for a photo. While inside he sampled something, but your pooler couldn't see what. The men were trying to sell him on some of their products, but he told them he was good.

VPOTUS strolled through the bazaar while his family shopped. At one point he saw your pooler and asked why she was there (your pooler's 6am flight from Istanbul to DC to get back to her toddler ahead of the snowstorm was canceled). Mr. Biden expressed concern about who was watching your pooler's son. He also asked about the forecast. Pool told him they're expecting 2 feet and no flights to DC until Monday. He joked that AF2 should divert to St. Croix if the weather won't permit the plane to land Saturday night as scheduled.

This is when VPOTUS told pool about his poor haggling skills.  He said his granddaughter had bought some "evil eye" bracelets.

Motorcade left the bazaar, and after an uneventful ride arrived back at the Conrad.

Carol Lee
The Wall Street Journal

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