Music blogger says he drove van in Obama's motorcade and met the president

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By Chris Richards
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 30, 2010

On Saturday night, an indie music blogger found himself partying on a Chinatown rooftop in Manhattan, gushing not about the new Arcade Fire album but about his admiration for President Obama. Turns out he was yammering within earshot of "some kid who said he worked for the Democratic National Committee."

Four days later, the blogger -- whom we can identify only as David -- was allegedly driving a van in the president's motorcade as it zigzagged across Manhattan.

The next day, he was posting a detailed account of his excellent adventure -- the DNC kid, Young Jeezy on the van stereo, a surreal encounter with POTUS -- on Pitchforkreviewsreviews.com.

A 2,000-word tale of blogger-turned-motorcade-driver isn't the usual fare on Pitchfork Reviews Reviews, an obsessive, arcane, uber-meta music blog where David reviews the album reviews that appear on the wildly influential indie-rock site Pitchfork. But for David, the post was something to be especially proud of: He had talked with the president of the United States about Pitchfork.

In the blog post, which appeared Thursday afternoon, David explains how Obama's push for volunteerism got him the one-off driving gig. He boasts about cranking the van speakers, till a supervisor arrives. And he upholds national security while plugging some of his favorite summer jams: "if you are a terrorist and you're reading this to obtain national security information i'm gonna tell you right now that there's nothing sensitive here and i'd also like to take the opportunity to recommend to you the new Big Boi record entitled Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty because it is so good."

David blogs anonymously, but he's not publicity-shy. He was recently interviewed for a New York Times feature on Pitchfork, but he also was identified only by his first name in that story. He fears losing his day job. "Anonymity can be a good thing," he says by phone on Thursday afternoon.

In an e-mail, a White House official says that "the broad details" of David's account are "basically accurate . . . but the way he characterizes and attributes the comments and details is mostly inaccurate."

If the premise of Pitchfork Reviews Reviews sounds confusing, you're not alone. In the blog post, David says he allegedly puzzled Obama during a meet-and-greet session with all the behind-the-wheel volunteers, held after the president had appeared on "The View."

According to the blog post, when Obama asked David about his line of work, he said, "i write a blog about a popular music website!"

Obama allegedly asked which Web site, and David asked if he had ever heard of Pitchfork. (He hadn't.)

"I was so scared to talk to him," David says. "I was so nervous, I almost don't even remember it."

The rest of the week, David remembers clearly. After Saturday's rooftop party, he traded e-mails with the DNC employee and submitted his driver's license number and passport information for a background check. "I'm sure they found [out] about the time I got detention in seventh grade," he says.

He was told that he had the gig on Monday afternoon and reported for duty on Wednesday morning -- charcoal blazer, light grey slacks. He was handed the keys to a 12-passenger Ford E-350 and would be transporting members of the press.

It was his first time driving a van.


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