Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama and the Press

Yesterday as I was listening to Robert Gibbs (White House press secretary) feel his way through his first meeting with the White House press corps, I was thinking about Obama's campaign and how easy the press was on him.

The questions yesterday were tougher than any the new President had faced on the campaign trail...but he still wasn't facing them--Robert Gibbs was.

Then I was wondering if Obama even realized how easy the press (and all media outlets in general) had been on him. If he appreciated the fact that he floated through an entire presidential campaign with nary a tough question (aside from the O'Reilly interview). That's huge! But does HE realize that's huge?

The answer is no. I realized that this morning when I read this:

"...President Obama made a surprise visit to the White House press corps Thursday night, but got agitated when he was faced with a substantive question.

Asked how he could reconcile a strict ban on lobbyists in his administration with a Deputy Defense Secretary nominee who lobbied for Raytheon, Obama interrupted with a knowing smile on his face.

"Ahh, see," he said, "I came down here to visit. See this is what happens. I can't end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I'm going to get grilled every time I come down here."

Pressed further by the Politico reporter about his Pentagon nominee, William J. Lynn III, Obama turned more serious, putting his hand on the reporter's shoulder and staring him in the eye.

"Alright, come on" he said, with obvious irritation in his voice. "We will be having a press conference at which time you can feel free to [ask] questions. Right now, I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself to you guys - that's all I was trying to do."

The president was quickly saved by a cameraman in the room who called out: “I’d like to say it one more time: ‘Mr. President.’ ” (source)

That's still not a hard hitting question and he immediately turns into President Pissy Pants? What will he do when they are burning him inn effigy in front of his young daughters...?

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