8 a.m. ET: What was the headline from President Obama's 100th-day press conference? Depends on whom you ask.
The news, such as it was, came from his assertion that waterboarding is "torture," his fears about Pakistan, his optimism on Chrysler, his bluntness on abortion and his repeated assurances that he wants to run neither banks nor auto companies.
"Far from electric, this was a tranquilizing performance," Politico suggests. Adam Nagourney says Obama made neither "jaw-dropping news" -- how often does that happen at a press conference? -- nor any "obvious mistakes." Tom Shales writes that Obama demonstrated he can answer any question "earnestly, disarmingly, enchantingly, even -- and most of the time convincingly."
Obama repeatedly warned viewers to wash their hands, cover their mouths when they cough, and not to leave the dinner table without being excused. (Sure, that last one has nothing to do with swine flu, but at a time of crisis we can't afford to forget our manners.) Obama's scoldings suggested to some that he was "doctor-in-chief" or even "mom." The "enchanted" question is getting its fair share of mockery this morning. Prize goes to the first blogger who successfully Photoshops Obama onto a Disney poster.
It has been noted that Fox was the only network not to get a question at the presser, and Fox (the over-the-air network, not the news channel) was also the only one not to air the event. Instead, the network aired an episode of "Lie to Me." There are too many potential easy jokes to make here, so let's just leave that one alone.
Democrats got their budget passed Wednesday, and now, as the cliche goes, the real work begins. (Arlen Specter voted no.) Though its very existence marks a victory for Obama, the budget blueprint omits many of the president's proposals to redistribute wealth. Moderate and conservative Democrats agreed to back the budget in the House after extracting promises from the leadership that future spending and tax cuts will be "paid for," but those promises will be easier to make than to keep.
Across the aisle, Republicans are launching a new group on the 101st day of the Obama administration aimed at developing policy ideas to help propel the party back into the majority. The group, dubbed the National Council for a New America, will hold a series of town-hall meetings and bring together both current and former GOP elected officials -- including John McCain and Jeb Bush -- to brainstorm. Red State opines of the effort: "What people should see is Republicans recognizing the precariousness of their position and that they are committed to doing something about it." Better late than never. And note that Eric Cantor is getting much of the credit for creating this. In case you haven't heard, he's a rising star.
April 30, 2009; 8:05 AM ET
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