Daena's departure photos

Daughter Daena is a senior presidential writer.

All White House staff get a departure photo with President Bush and are allowed to bring 4 family members. Daena's department got their photos taken October 22.

I haven't seen the originals yet, but Daena posted scanned copies on Facebook.

I don't remember much of anything; it was quite surreal. We stood in a long line in the West Wing's Roosevelt Room and were ushered in as a family for our 1 minute alone time with the President in the Oval Office. He was waiting to greet us by the couch as someone announced who Daena was. The President took an instant shine to 8-year-old grandson Gabriel. I remember he asked if Gabriel wanted to be called Gabriel or Gabe (doesn't matter), which is what you see going on here....

president bush 2.jpg

Then we had our official photo taken....

Left to right, Rich, Daena, President Bush, Gabriel, me, and son Tim. (Son Michael let Gabriel take his place.)...

president bush 1.jpg

Now I had gotten the cute idea to have the President sign a permission slip for Gabriel to miss school. I made 2 copies in case 1 got wrinkled or dirty. I didn't expect this, but the President signed both of them, adding an extra note on 1 saying "Best Wishes" and something else I can't remember. Gabriel kept that 1 and we kept the more generic one. ...

president bush 4.jpg


Then the President offered Gabriel a WH pin...

president bush 3.jpg

And that was it! We were ushered out the side door to the Rose Garden to freak out there... :)


That sounds so exciting! Congrats, Jill.

Posted by: prettyinpink at November 21, 2008 5:05 PM

Please excuse Gabriel Gene Stanek from school, because he came to visit me.

Ha! Jill, that's awesome.

Posted by: Doug at November 21, 2008 5:07 PM

Wow, I bet Gabe is going to think that is so cool once he gets a bit older and can *really* understand the significance of the moment.

Posted by: lauren at November 21, 2008 5:14 PM

After eight years of his own failed economic policies, that pen was probably all he could afford to give away.

With Obama, there will be a pen in every shirt pocket.

Posted by: The Raving Atheist at November 21, 2008 5:32 PM

Wow how exciting for you Jill.

I havent really fully appreciated all that Bush has done in defense of the unborn until recently, now that he is soon to leave office.

Cant help but contrast him to his successor who couldnt be more different in every respect, especially when it comes to abortion.

Posted by: Joanne at November 21, 2008 5:52 PM

Wow, I don't care who you are, that has got to be quite the experience!

P.S. Your grandson is really freaking cute!

Posted by: Elizabeth (Gabriella's Momma) at November 21, 2008 5:58 PM

Great stuff, Jill!

Posted by: Jerry at November 21, 2008 6:06 PM

Awesome. :)

Posted by: Kel at November 21, 2008 6:34 PM

There is very little cuter than a kid all dressed up!

Posted by: Wichita Linewoman at November 21, 2008 6:35 PM

Too cool!

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at November 21, 2008 7:27 PM


Your grandson is the cutest little boy I have ever seen. Even my own son said so! Wow! What an amazingly cool note to give his teacher!!!!!!


Posted by: J. A.N. at November 21, 2008 7:44 PM

So, perhaps this reveals my gross ignorance of, well, everything, but what does a senior presidential writer do? What does that mean?

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at November 21, 2008 7:47 PM

Now that is an excuse note that he will never get rid of! What a clever idea, Jill!!!

Posted by: Daja at November 21, 2008 8:00 PM

Wow, thats neat Jill. President Bush is a good man.

Posted by: Jasper at November 21, 2008 8:04 PM

That is great! I love President Bush.

Posted by: Eileen #2 at November 21, 2008 8:10 PM

Love the pics, thanks for sharing! Had to smile at those desk shots. Jill's the only one in the family with the nerve to put her hand on the president's desk :-)

Posted by: Fed Up With Obama at November 21, 2008 8:19 PM

I think that is so great!!

Posted by: Carla at November 21, 2008 8:58 PM

Oh cool! You should have your grandson Gabriel frame that excuse note.

Posted by: LizFromNebraska at November 21, 2008 9:45 PM

Hope you were able to encourage President Bush. I trust that history will treat him better than the present.

Sometimes circumstance conspire against us and we are forced to confront unwelcome and unpleasant tasks.

So what is the difference between the o'bama (pbuh) and Bill Clinton?

Bill Clinton only has one daughter to punish him!

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at November 21, 2008 10:04 PM

That is fantastic! What a great experience :)

Posted by: Allison at November 22, 2008 3:48 AM

These are great photos Jill. Thanks so much for sharing.


Posted by: Therese at November 22, 2008 4:13 AM

All: Thanks for kind words!

Angele, 7:44p: Thank you... :) I agree.

Bobby, 7:47p: Funny you should ask. Daena just updated her resume (she'll be out of a job come January 20) and here is how she described what she does:

Senior Presidential Writer July 2008-Present
The White House, Office of Presidential Correspondence, Washington, D.C.
• Consulting resource for team of five writers to ensure the accuracy and efficiency of Presidential proclamations, messages, policy letters, medal citations, and correspondence written on behalf of President George W. Bush
• Edit colleagues' drafts before submission to the Director of Presidential Writers and Oval Office Operations
• Train new writers and manage incoming interns
• Obtained FBI Single Scope Background Investigation. Authorized up to Top Secret level clearance

Presidential Writer July 2007-July 2008
The White House, Office of Presidential Correspondence, Washington, D.C.
• Researched and wrote policy letters and messages on various issues for public release
• Wrote more than 1,500 private letters personally signed by the President for domestic and foreign trips
• Served as correspondence liaison between the White House and United States Embassies. Drafted letters to Heads of State and foreign delegations in more than 30 countries
• Drafted proclamations declaring national awareness months and Federal holidays

Liz, 9:45p: We were paranoid about those signed permission notes! Rich immediately put them in his briefcase for safekeeping. And as soon as I got home from the airport, I mean AS SOON AS I GOT HOME, I ran to Bed, Bath & Beyond and bought 2 frames and ran back home to place the notes in them. I was even nervous yesterday taking ours out of the frame to scan for the blog.

Posted by: Jill Stanek at November 22, 2008 6:51 AM

hey, he's not the leader of my country but I love 'im anyway!
Wonderful for Gabriel! What a historic moment for your family Jill!

Posted by: Patricia at November 22, 2008 6:53 AM

We have been blessed with a fine President. America is better off because of him. Had we fought a stronger energy producing battle 3-4 years ag, we would not habe been drained by sending trillions of dollars to the Arabs. The Muslims wait anxiously for their new friend.

Posted by: xppc at November 22, 2008 7:53 AM

That is so cool. That must have been such an exciting experience for all of you! I, too, believe that history will be much kinder to President Bush than the current political climate. But even if it isn't, you get to treasure a few moments with one of the few men, in Washington today, who is unashamed of his relationship with God and has done his best to protect human life from its very beginning. May God bless and protect him as he begins a well deserved rest from public life and may he bless and protect you as we enter, what will likely be, the most intense battle, yet, for the rights of the preborn.

Posted by: DeeL at November 22, 2008 8:15 AM

Wow, thanks Jill. That's no average job!

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at November 22, 2008 9:17 AM

Jill congratulations to you and your family! I agree with DeeL at 8:15. He is a great man and I'm happy you had the opportunity to meet him.

Posted by: Kristen at November 22, 2008 9:29 AM

Jill, thank you for sharing. It's really cool that Daena has had the job, and it's something she'll remember the rest of her life, no doubt.

Posted by: Doug at November 22, 2008 12:01 PM

what a really neat oppurtunity for your grandson!

Posted by: becky at November 22, 2008 12:41 PM

That is so beautiful!

Posted by: Americaneocon at November 22, 2008 1:03 PM

What a wonderful experience for your grandson, and really for all of you. BTW, Congratulations on the award - that is totally awesome!!!

Posted by: Valerie at November 22, 2008 6:52 PM

Prediction 2008

When Obama takes office and funds the killing of unborn children, Jill will say that he's evil...even though Bush did the same thing. She'll say, "Obama funded more!"

Prediction (I wish I would have made) 2008

When pro-lifers fight the exception packed SD abortion ban, Jill will hold them responsible for killing kids, even though Bush fought the exception free SD abortion ban. Jill will say "...", oh, nothing.

If there are incrementalists and purists, that would make Bush an impurist.

Posted by: Will D at November 23, 2008 7:57 PM


Posted by: DN at November 24, 2008 11:59 AM

Beautiful post.

Posted by: DN at November 24, 2008 12:00 PM

Shameful to see certain people attacking Jill in this personal post about her family meeting the president.

Posted by: Steve Ertelt at November 24, 2008 5:43 PM

Steve, agreed 100% - sheesh.

P.S. Daena looks totally sweet and so earnest.

Posted by: Doug at November 24, 2008 8:39 PM

Steve Ertelt - Shameful to see certain people attacking Jill in this personal post about her family meeting the president.

Pro-lifers providing cover for pro-aborts is wrong Steve, including by you.

Posted by: Will D at November 25, 2008 1:23 PM


Could you please stop calling us pro-aborts, even if you do think we are morally inferior? I'm doing the best I can, as we all are. What do you call Planned Parenthood. Pro-aborts squared?

So what's going on at Denver Planned Parenthood these days? Are people praying there every day?

Isn't there a new one being built in Oregon or Washington State?

Posted by: Janet at November 25, 2008 3:25 PM

Pro-lifers providing cover for pro-aborts is wrong

Fascists pretending to be pro-lifers is what's wrong, Slick Willie.

Posted by: Charlene at November 25, 2008 3:43 PM

I think that is so cool that your son got a permission slip from the president. He must have been so excited about that.

Deana and Jill, you looked beautiful in the pictures!

Posted by: Bethany at November 25, 2008 6:02 PM

"Deana and Jill, you looked beautiful in the pictures!"

Posted by: Bethany at November 25, 2008 6:02 PM

Yes, they do!

Posted by: Janet at November 25, 2008 11:16 PM

Janet - Will,
Could you please stop calling us pro-aborts, even if you do think we are morally inferior?

I don't think you're morally inferior and I never called you a pro-abort. Steve knows exactly what I'm talking about. Bush is a pro-abort. McCain is a pro-abort. Jill and Steve both provided cover for them. If someone can't tell the difference between a pro-lifer and a pro-abort, they can't be a pro-life leader. I think that would be one of the first requirements, don't you?

Posted by: Will D at November 25, 2008 11:55 PM

Will, I think Jill is well aware of who is pro-life and who is not.

Posted by: Bethany at November 26, 2008 11:30 AM

Bethany - Will, I think Jill is well aware of who is pro-life and who is not.

I do too. I think you are aware too. It's then a matter of being honest about it. That's where you both fail. Bush is not pro-life by any definition of the term. Neither is McCain. Remember, they are not incrementalists or purists. They are impurists. They always want it to be legal to kill some babies and Bush funded the killing of countless babies through embryonic stem cell research. Hitler funded the dissection of Jewish boys and girls for medical advancements. Bush is no different.

Don't forget Bethany, Jill slammed pro-lifers for their public opposition to the SD exception packed ban, but didn't say a word about Bush's public opposition (as the President, no less) to the SD pure bill. His only reason for opposing it is that he wants babies to be killed in some circumstances because they're not really people.

Posted by: Will D at November 28, 2008 1:56 PM