Monday, October 22, 2012

Behind The Scenes: Camp David Debate Prep

Ahead of his final showdown, President Obama spends the weekend in seclusion at the woodsy Maryland retreat...
President Obama traveled to Camp David on Friday and remained in seclusion with top advisors through the weekend, preparing for the third and final Presidential Debate on Monday night.  The White House late on Sunday released two behind-the-scenes photos of the President at work in the woodsy compound located in northern Maryland's Catoctin Mountain Park. The caption for the photo above read "President Barack Obama reads briefing material while meeting with advisors inside his cabin at Camp David."

Advisors who traveled to the rustic presidential retreat on Friday included David Axelrod, David Plouffe, and chief speechwriter Jon Favreau, as well as the President's Chicago friend Martin Nesbitt. The Camp David compound includes cabin residences and meeting areas named for trees--the Laural Cabin, the Evergreen Chapel--decked out with the finest amenities and digital devices. There is a tennis/basketball court, a swimming pool, and hiking trails, all surrounded by top-level security. It is known formally as Naval Support Facility Thurmont, and used by Presidents for privacy and special meetings, such as the Camp David Accords. President Obama earlier this year hosted the G8 summit at Camp David.

President Obama prepped for his first two debates at resort hotels in Nevada and Virginia, and both times took breaks to visit campaign field offices.  He did not leave the solitude of Camp David this weekend.

On Sunday, the White House released statements from the President about the death of former Senator George McGovern, and a shooting spree at a Wisconsin mall that killed four people.  The President also, according to this photo, had a conference call with advisors. The caption with the photo above read "President Barack Obama convenes a conference call at Camp David with Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Chief of Staff Jack Lew to discuss the shooting at a Wisconsin shopping mall."

The President departs for Florida at 11:50 AM on Monday.  After the debate at Lynn University, he will remain overnight in Boca Raton with First Lady Michelle Obama, and campaign in the battleground state on Tuesday before traveling to Ohio for more campaigning.  The schedule.

The President returns to Washington, DC, on Tuesday evening.

*Photos by Pete Souza/White House