RANCHO MIRAGE – A historical meeting took place at the Annenburg Estate on Sunnylands when presidents from two superpowers, China and the United States, convened here last weekend to discuss pertinent social, political and trade issues.
A gaggle of reporters and photographers gathered on the tarmac outside the Palm Springs International Airport on Friday, June 7, sweating in 114 degree heat while waiting for the arrival of Air Force One and U.S. President Barack Obama. One female Chinese reporter succumbed to heat stroke and had to be taken to an area hospital for treatment. However, one smart reporter, Karen Devine, kept her cool by dipping a towel into a large bucket of ice water and wrapping it around her neck before doing a live shot for KESQ-TV local Channel 3 news.
Reporters from China, Mexico, Central America, Los Angeles, San Diego and Palm Springs all scurried for the best position on the outdoor metal stage set up by the City of Palm Springs. Secret Service agents checked IDs while a bomb -sniffing German Shepherd dog and his heavily-armed handler inspected all the photographic gear and bags.
When Air Force One made its final approach, photographers focused their long, telephoto zoom lenses at the jet as the plane landed and taxied down the runway. When the door of Air Force One finally opened, President Obama bolted quickly down the steps to meet California Governor Jerry Brown, Congressman Raul Ruiz, Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet and Tribal Chair Jeff Grubbe of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.
Reporters did not get to ask the president any questions and only got a quick wave and smile of acknowledgement from him. He climbed inside the official presidential limousine, called the Beast, and was driven by motorcade to the Annenburg Estate at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage.
Many local residents lined the chained link fence along Ramon Road and El Cielo to catch a glimpse of Air Force One and the president.