Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Obama Message to Press Corps: Thou Shalt Not Grill him When he Visits.

The White House press corps got it's leash jerked today, when Obama made an impromptu visit to the press room. Evidently, he "got agitated when he was faced with a substantive question". You can hardly blame him. It must have been quite a shock. TwinCities.com:

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."
A Politico reporter who asked about Pentagon nominee William J. Lynn III didn't fare any better. But cover was provided by an ardent admirer (I think we'll be seeing alot of this):
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.' "
It wasn't a complete dearth of information, however. According to the AP:
. . . Yes, he's discovered the gym in the White House residence. No, he hasn't played basketball yet on the outdoor White House court because it's been too cold.
Well, that's good to know. The Washington Times reports that "they have installed a new backboard for ball games at the tennis court," So it's not as though the expert journalists on the press corps came up totally empty. They even managed to wrest a revelation from the reluctant Obama. TwinCities.com:
He revealed that he had already gotten in two work outs since being sworn in Tuesday.

"Turns out I have a little gym up there," he said with a smile.
According to the AP:
Obama said "We will try to have a relationship that's respectful and where you guys feel like you're actually getting answers," Obama told the media.
Well, how hard will it be for pro-Obama activists in the press corps to feel like they're actually getting answers?

They did get a pat on the head, though:
Obama said he had watched press secretary Robert Gibbs debut briefing "in anticipation of some flop sweat. ... I just want to thank you for not completely ripping up Gibbs," Obama said.
Well, it was nice of him to say it, but I don't think Gibbs will be in danger of that any time soon. Do you?

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