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Obama Prime Time Presser: First Thoughts



President Obama delivered opening remarks and then took questions from reporters for about 45 minutes at his first prime time press conference. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama spent an hour pitching his economic stimulus package and answering reporters' questions on a variety of topics ranging from Iran and Afghanistan to the controversy surrounding Yankees star Alex Rodriguez's admission today that he used performance enhancing drugs.

We twittered the proceedings at "TheHyperFix." Our first thoughts on the proceedings are below -- we reserve the right to revise and extend them once we've had a night to process all that we saw.

Have thoughts of your own on the president's first prime-time press conference? The comments section awaits.

An Aggressive Obama: The president clearly has lost patience with congressional Republicans who have spent the last week questioning the spending increases in the bill. He repeatedly flashed frustration and even a bit of ire when talking about critics of the legislation, noting that Republicans were the ones who had overseen a doubling of the national debt over the past eight years. It remains to be seen whether Obama's tone will be portrayed as forceful or angry.

The Best of a Bad Situation: Obama repeatedly referenced the fact that he has "inherited" the economic morass in which the country currently finds itself. In the first few weeks of his administration, Obama seemed reluctant to lay the economic problems at the feet of former president George W. Bush and congressional Republicans, but as the debate on Capitol Hill has gotten more partisan, the president has appeared more and more willing to put the blame on the GOP. The goal of this sort of rhetoric is simple: Obama is trying to make lemonade out of lemons. But the lemons were bought by George W. Bush. (Bad metaphor alert!)

Tax Troubles Have Passed: Of the 13 questions asked by the national press, not one made reference to the tax troubles of several of Obama's Cabinet nominees. And, the president, smartly, didn't bring it up himself. That likely means that the mini-controversy over former senator Tom Daschle and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has passed unless further revelations come to light. Obama may have short-circuited this line of questioning by giving a series of television interviews last week -- a tactic that now allows him to say that he has already addressed the controversy and that it is old news.

New (Media) World Order: Obama largely stuck to the script when it came to choosing the reporters who got to ask questions. He led off with the wires (Associated Press, Reuters), moved into the networks (CBS, NBC, ABC) and hit the big national newspapers (New York Times and Post). But, then, on the twelfth question of the night, Obama broke with tradition by giving Huffington Post's Sam Stein a chance to play on the big stage. It's a symbolic acknowledgment by the president (and his advisers) of the power of HuffPo and of the Internet-based media more generally.

Survive and Move Forward: A prime time press conference is a high wire act for any politician. Without controlling what is being asked, there is always the possibility of a catastrophic answer that derails an entire day (or week) of message planning. Obama made no such mistake. On to Fort Myers, Fla. tomorrow and the Senate floor vote.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 9, 2009; 9:21 PM ET
Categories:  White House  
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Next: White House Cheat Sheet: The Hard Math of the Senate Vote

Comments

With all the hoopla surrounding Sam Stein (read his resume) get a question, has everybody forgotten Jeff Gannon?

Of course the Cabinet taxes issues past. Remember how everyday he was asked about the Clinton foundation donations? Then tapes of Rod Blagojevich? Then Roland Burris appointment? Then whatever other story of that day was happening that "all of sudden" meant the honeymoon (hate that term) was over. None of these stories had any sticking power despite all the hype that week.

Posted by: Corey_NY | February 11, 2009 3:40 AM | Report abuse

Covertly slipped into GL Obama’s faux “stimulus bill” last weekend—by leftist Democrats—was the Socialist Universal Healthcare program. Contained within the bill is the provision that doctors will now be forced to report any and all of their patient treatments to the federal government for approval to treat. Also contained within this portion of Obama’s non-stimulus bill is the rationing of healthcare services to senior US citizens and the withholding of potentially life-saving measures. As Democrat Tom Daschle wrote in his book “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis” senior citizens “should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age.” Daschle does not appear to believe that senior citizens (apparently the government’s definition of “senior citizen” is not defined) that seniors should accept their inevitable deaths without complaining. That is, senior citizens who are not members of the elite ruling class. Daschle’s medical conditions, of course, would not be applicable to these provisions.

Note: Edward G. Robinson’s death scene in the movie ‘Soylent Green’ comes immediately to mind.

Posted by: leapin | February 10, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

rmorris391 –

“He sold his economic stimulus plan to everyone watching the prime-time broadcast.”

Of course this is a pure figment of your imagination. I won’t call it a lie I don’t want to shatter your self-esteem from your lib education. But there is at least 1 person in this once great nation that is not buying.

Posted by: leapin | February 10, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I say bravo to President Obama's first press briefing. He answered all questions put to him by the press agents. He sold his economic stimulus plan to everyone watching the prime-time broadcast. Mission Accomplished!

Posted by: rmorris391 | February 10, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Thatsnuts –

While BHO wows you with his rhetoric and gives you a tingle to clean up I look at his actions as a neo-Marxist in recent days like the census power grab, more piecemeal attempts to nationalize healthcare thru the stimu"less" package, funding for ACORN a wholly owned subsidiary of BHO, Inc., etc.

Posted by: leapin | February 10, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"“Let's get Mitch McConnel and John Beohner to stand up in front of the American people, take straight up questions and give straight up answers. This will never happen as both these gentlemen know suicide is painful.”
Let’s get BHO up there without cards with pre-picked names and questions. The only question that he was answered firmly was about baseball stimulants.
Posted by: leapin "

Let me quote from St. Ronald of Reagan, "There you go again" Just can't answer without a buzz word. First anyone you didn't like was an elitist. Now, if it involves the President its Marxist or Scoialist.

Anything but put your guys up in front of the cameras and let the reporters ask tough questions.

Posted by: Thatsnuts | February 10, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

To RobT1:

I think it would be instructive for Republicans to review the election returns, and perhaps get a clue as to who won by a majority of the popular vote and wide margin in the electoral college, and also who added numerous seats in both the House and Senate. Perhaps they would get a clue as to who has a mandate in this situation and figure out that it is not them. Further, perhaps they can give some thought as to what their fate might be if they are seen to be obstructing a president who is indeed dealing with a mess that he inherited. Try as Republicans may, there is no way around that conclusion. They screwed it up. It's up to Obama and Congressional Democrats to fix it.

Jon in Cleveland

Posted by: jothomp | February 10, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

It was great to listen to a president who can string two sentences together that make sense. Note to leapin: I would love to know the logic behind your denial of the prez's statement that he inherited the financial situation. So it came from where? Re your fear that the admin is cooking up some diabolical scheme to provide health insurance coverage to those not fortunate enough to work for the government or big business--What is your alternative on that one.

To get everything in on one posting: Shame on that 'reporter' from the Post(?) who asked the dumb question about baseball.

Posted by: rawreid | February 10, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Man Chris, I'm not sure who has a stronger case of Obama Man Love you or EJ Dionne. The only ones who think Obama's ethical problems have "passed" are members of the press like yourself who've been in the Obama cheerleading squad since the beginning. I'll bet you wouldn't have written a puff piece like this if it was a Republican giving a press conference and I'll bet if it was a Republican president having his cabinet nominees resigning because they were tax cheats it wouldn't have "passed" so quickly. To Obama bipartisan means vote my way since I won.

Posted by: RobT1 | February 10, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

LABC-

Nobody cares is you are tired of debate.
Barry likes useful tools that avoid the issue.

Posted by: leapin | February 10, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama held his first press conference as President tonight. With the "stimulus" plans on the table at the House and Senate, the press had an opportunity to show that it no longer was slobbering over Obama. The press failed. Not a single reporter challenged Obama on the specifics of the stimulus plans, which (contrary to Obama's statements) are loaded with pork barrel spending (as Sen. Claire McCaskill admitted this weekend) and surreptitious attempts to restructure the health care system. Almost every stimulus-related question accepted at face value Obama's assertion that Republicans were to blame both for the economic mess and the lack of bipartisanship.

The good news? At least the president didn't slip on the media drool.

Posted by: leapin | February 10, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

loved how BHO answered the hard hitting question about the census power grab. He satisfied his neo-Marxist base while reassuring his adversaries that he “won”.

Posted by: leapin
*******************

Blah, blah...do any of you dittoheads even make sense anymore?

After 8 years of "A'm the decider" and other such nonsense, it is refreshing to have a leader with a grasp of facts and a willingness to explain the situation in a manner that assumes he is dealing with intelligent people.

The pundits, as usual, are a predictable lot - complaining about big words and complete sentences and how boring all this economic talk is - whaaaa!!

Posted by: LABC | February 10, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

In socialist takeover terms the stock market has responded well to the press conference. Can you point me to Chairman barry's soup line

Posted by: leapin | February 10, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I loved how BHO answered the hard hitting question about the census power grab. He satisfied his neo-Marxist base while reassuring his adversaries that he “won”.

Posted by: leapin | February 10, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

He came off as ready to take on the obstructing Republication - Thank You President Obama.

The tax problems are not an issue. He admitted a mistake and the country is ready to move on.

I'm so tired of conservative commentators/reporters, etc. acting as if calling on certain reports is new. Last Ari Fleischer told Bill O'Rielly that Bush had a cheat sheet and was told who to call on - strange that no one seemed to know that.

President Obama is trying to do help the American people and no amount of spin will convince us otherwise.

Posted by: rlj1 | February 10, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

“Let's get Mitch McConnel and John Beohner to stand up in front of the American people, take straight up questions and give straight up answers. This will never happen as both these gentlemen know suicide is painful.”
Let’s get BHO up there without cards with pre-picked names and questions. The only question that he was answered firmly was about baseball stimulants.

Posted by: leapin | February 10, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I believe BHO has vindicated Bush administration spending policies. I think BHO is indicating that Bush was basically going in the right direction he just didn't spend enough.

Posted by: leapin | February 10, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"Chris, better stop your moronic depiction of "events", especially in describing HuffPost, an unofficial organ of the Obama Campaign as "internet media"."

Just so you know, the "clinging to guns and religion" quote was first published in HuffPo.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 10, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Chris, better stop your moronic depiction of "events", especially in describing HuffPost, an unofficial organ of the Obama Campaign as "internet media".

There are no internet media that are objective, and this to a somewhat lesser degree also applies to so-called "mainstream media" as portrayed by your Obamafication of "events" in your posts for the last few months.

Surely, Chris, you should realize that people have lost confidence in the mainstream media and simply rely on hackjob "Internet Media" like HuffPost or MyDD to get their own very personal, biased and thoroughly subjective "feel-good" version of the "news" of the day!

Whether it was deifying and worshipping the idiotic Bushian Term of Catastrophes Unlimited, hiding the facts of the "erroneous war" and the ensuing economic damage, or the worshipping of the inept American Idol Presidency, you Obamyopic guys and gals of the "media" have failed your audience and are party to blame for the economic mess the world is in now.

So, Chris, you, as a media co-conspiror, will have a lot to answer--one day, when the ineffectual obamyopic presidency is kaput and long after the catastrophic Bushian Disaster....Shame on you!

Posted by: MSakel | February 10, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I was glad President Obama took it to the Republicans in a serious way. All of that pontificating about fiscal conservatism when the national debt doubled under them was a point well made.

I like the fact that President Obama was aggressive but tempered. His pragmatism clearly guides him, but he made it clear that he was not the one who would be bullied. He put that pulpit to use last night, and I for one was happy to see it!

Posted by: DinahS | February 10, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

You have got to love the new guy -- I just wonder if his team has any idea what they are doing. I think this blame game is not going to work for very long as most of us know that there are no clean hands on either side of the aisle.

Posted by: newbeeboy | February 10, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

One way to determine just how well the President did with his first press conference is to look at the comments of his detractors. There isn't any substance to the critiques, only subjective pablum. Well, when you speak publicly you can use whatever style you like.

I did appreciate the thoughtful multipart answers. This man has a mind and uses it. This is such a sharp contrast to his predecessor that it is almost overkill. The other contrast is the press wasn't handpicked to provide the designated softball tosser.

Let's get Mitch McConnel and John Beohner to stand up in front of the American people, take straight up questions and give straight up answers. This will never happen as both these gentlemen know suicide is painful.

Posted by: Thatsnuts | February 10, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: kylewu86 | February 10, 2009 4:03 AM | Report abuse

"Obama responded to a question about an admission earlier yesterday by the New York Yankees all-star Alex Rodriguez that he had used performance-enhancing drugs, calling it "depressing news." And he backed up an eyebrow-raising assertion by Vice President Biden that some of his work as president may have a 30 percent chance of failure, saying that Biden was simply describing the "magnitude of the challenges that we have.""

From that same article.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 10, 2009 2:26 AM | Report abuse

"Did the question about A-Roid really come from a wapo reporter???? I thought Obama said he was Washington Times but the banner said Washington Post."

Yup. Here's his article.
"The president fielded 13 questions from reporters in his first wide-ranging session since he took office, touching briefly on foreign policy, his long-range agenda and sports."

We know where the sports question came from.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 10, 2009 2:25 AM | Report abuse

It is frightening to see so many comments by people who obviously never read the Washington Post, but sent to do mischief by Hannity, O'Reilly and Beck.

President Obama IS the change he told us we were waiting for. His understanding and grasp of the issues down to the smallest details were a message that we really have a president after the office was largely vacant for eight terrible years.

If at times President Obama was halting while reaching for an encyclopedia's worth of knowledge that needed to be condensed, he offered us a president who was real and not rehearsed and regurgitating talking points.

As for the questions he didn't answer, he was refreshingly honest that after only three weeks, not all the answers for the misdeeds of eight years are within his grasp yet. Give him time.

We have a president of enormous intellect and self discipline. By the way he handled Monday night's prime-time news conference he gave us confidence that in the solitude of the oval office, his choices will be wise and lead America to a better place.

Posted by: rick699 | February 10, 2009 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Like others, I find it refreshing to be able to listen to the President without cringing. His comments had substance and he clearly explained his thinking and rationale.

Did the question about A-Roid really come from a wapo reporter???? I thought Obama said he was Washington Times but the banner said Washington Post.

Posted by: mikem1 | February 10, 2009 1:23 AM | Report abuse

The new prez has a halting speaking style filled w/ "uhhh." Four per sentence was not uncommon during this speaking experience. He is disfluent, not only part word repetitions, but whole word and phrases as well. His thought formulation was consistently delayed and his connected speech consistently cluttered with "uhhs," and word repetitions.
Yet, his fans were unfazed. If he were speaking at a Toastmaster's Meeting he would have been dinged for every "uh." HIs demeanor was not presidential, it was disturbingly devoid of sincerity or conviction--vague and formulaic.
The content was just a rehash; as Obama said at least 10 times during the conference, "As I said before..." Yes, he has said it before. If he is a great orator, we are in worse trouble than I thought. He IS fluent and appears confident WHEN he has his teleprompter to read. That's ok, Nancy will tell him what to say. If this is a B+, we must be grading on a curve w/Joe B.'s silver tongue.

Posted by: surfbum | February 10, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

We got ourselves a good president.

Posted by: DonJasper | February 10, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

I don't know, man. He appeared more like a boy-student or at best an advisor.

Posted by: ard1 | February 10, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

OBAMA'S COMMENTS ON TORTURE WOULD SEEM TO APPLY ONLY TO WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN.

WHEN PAT LEAHY'S HEARINGS EXPOSE DETAILS OF YEARS OF COVERT DOMESTIC TORTURE AND IMPAIRMENT OF AMERICAN CITIZENS ASSAULTED WITH SILENT RADIATION WEAPONRY...

...THERE WILL BE NO OTHER CHOICE BUT TO PROSECUTE A MULTI-AGENCY ACTION FORCE AND COMPLICIT HIGHER-UPS FOR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-targets-terrorizes-u-s-citizens
http://my.nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-horrific-shame

OR (if links are corrupted): http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 10, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

"DDavid,

The question was asked and answered. A thorough study of Obama's answer will reveal that he gave a very measured answer to a reasonably complex and argumentative question. When Obama said that "no one is above the law," he was saying that he was not standing in the way of a Congressional investigation or even his own Justice Department. As far as Obama is concerned, he is not going to spend precious Presidential energy on looking at the previous presidency. He has a full plate. He has made his candid remarks about the Bush administration both during the campaign, the inauguration, and so forth. I think we know how he feels."

We know how he feels about the Bush administration on torture. He has never said that he will or will not investigate the torture abuses under Bush. How extensive and so forth. He hasn't said he will. He hasn't said he won't. He was being evasive in his answer. No one was accusing HIS administration of conducting prisoner abuses. The question was specifically about investigating Bush. He didn't answer.

I'm willing to be proved wrong, though. If there is some instance where Obama said he would or he won't investigate, provide a link and I'll shut up. And not some wishy washy answer where he says he will lean in some direction.

For the question about the caskets, he said he was looking into it and weighing the implications. He wouldn't even say that about the torture investigations.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 10, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Bad Extended Mixed Metaphor Alert:

Chris, I hate to differ with you but I think it's unfair to say that Bush bought the lemons. I think Bush spent billions of dollars on rocks - as in Wall Street Executives being dumb as rocks. It would have been easier to make lemonade if only Bush had bought lemons instead big heavy rocks, which we know is not the thing to buy in a sinking economy! I hope you can picture Obama over a pail wringing rocks in a vain attempt to extract lemonade - kind of like the vain attempt at him trying to get the Republicans to do what is right for our country and not just good for themselves (if you're a Republican you probably don't understand why that is a bad thing).

Posted by: dre7861 | February 10, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Obama was in charge and was so impressive. He knows what he is talking about. I saw no nervousness at all. He was direct and forthright and can clearly handle what was thrown at him. I am so glad he is in charge. Good grief... we could have had McCain. And is it not refreshing to be free of George Bush and his little arrogant smirks.

Posted by: goldie2 | February 9, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I hereby fully recant and apologize for my claim that President Barack Obama - honored be his name! - came close to suffering a nervous breakdown on live TV. What seemed obvious to me on watching it turns out not to be the case. I have arrived at my decision fully of my own will and I was not coerced by Obama's Peace-Keeping Citizen's Force, nor by Obama's Peace and Reconciliation Force, nor by Obama's Civilian Block Security Force. This confession is completely voluntary, and I shall shortly provide President Obama with a list of my co-conspirators in this dastardly plot.

All Hail The President!

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | February 9, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes Obama did avert Helen's query on Mid East Nukes. He said, " I won't speculate on that." Indicating that he doesn't know, but we all know that he does know, but cannot say that Israel is a nuclear state. However, he went on to mention that he wants to work with Russia to reduce ours' and their nuke stock piles. Doing so he said would give us the legitimacy to demand other countries do the same. (Implying that it would put pressure on Israel to give up their Nukes too). That was an encouraging answer though it was his most evasive one.

Posted by: drum_sing | February 9, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

DDavid,

The question was asked and answered. A thorough study of Obama's answer will reveal that he gave a very measured answer to a reasonably complex and argumentative question. When Obama said that "no one is above the law," he was saying that he was not standing in the way of a Congressional investigation or even his own Justice Department. As far as Obama is concerned, he is not going to spend precious Presidential energy on looking at the previous presidency. He has a full plate. He has made his candid remarks about the Bush administration both during the campaign, the inauguration, and so forth. I think we know how he feels.

Posted by: EarlC | February 9, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

"From a previous blogger: "Also, Obama was downright, 100% evasive on the HuffPo's question. Imagine that. The hardest question was from Huffington."

I ask, what psrt of his answer did you not understand? Having heard many press conferences over the years, Pres. Obama was as straight forward with the answers as was deemed possible. Sometimes "hard" questions require walking a tightwire between classified and nonclassified information."

Ok, here was the question

" Question: Thank you, Mr. President. Today, Sen. Patrick Leahy [D-Vermont] announced that he wants to set up a truth and reconciliation committee to investigate the misdeeds of the Bush administration. He said that, before you turn the page, you have to read the page first.

Do you agree with such a proposal? And are you willing to rule out right here and now any prosecution of Bush administration officials?"

The answer is kind of long, but I'll include a link to the transcript. It was basically Obama telling us how he wouldn't torture and no one is above the law.

The problem is that the question wasn't about torture under Obama. The question was about investigating torture under Bush. Obama said nothing about investigating the Bush administration. He didn't say he would. he didn't say he wouldn't. He answered a question that wasn't asked.

Look, Obama did a good job overall, but he was evasive with that question. He has been evasive before about it. I have no idea where he stands on investigating Bush torture abuses.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/09/obama.conference.transcript/

There's the transcript. Just hit CTRL+F and type in Huffington.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 9, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Everybody is talking about his speech style.
Look,,this man is thinking,,on the fly,,every minute. That's what we are hearing folks,,a man that,,can say uh,,when he his mouth needs to get in step with his brain, and get on with it.
This is our greatest President,,greater than that old black guy Lincoln!
BTW: Take a close look at Lincoln and tell me what do you see--a man COLOR that freed his people!
GO BARACK!!!

Posted by: mudbone | February 9, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

A few additional comments. President Obama may have been understandably a little nervous going into his first press conference. He can on occasion be quite witty, a usually admirable quality which likely should appear in some future press conferences.

The only comments by the President that I thought lacked credulity and his usual highly nuanced perspective were when he emphasized once or twice how some politicians are opposed to any stimulus bill. I am not aware of many Republicans being opposed to any stimulus bill.

President Obama exaggerated in other recent statements the extent to which Republicans in general want to rely only upon more tax cuts to stimulate the economy, referring to their failed tax policies. Most Republicans want a stimulus bill, which does emphasize tax cuts, but considerably less government spending. I think most people are sufficiently intelligent to notice, as well as appreciate, the significant differences in the Democratic and Republican approaches.

I hope President Obama will take a stronger role in negotiations over the final version of this stimulus bill. He should, for example, insist the AMT be taken out of the bill. Giving upper middle class taxpayers the greatest tax relief when many people, especially retired and moderately low income persons. ineligible for federal assistance, have difficulty paying for their food, medical and energy costs, seems like a GOP lite policy.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | February 9, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Barack is starting to see one simple in-escapable thruth,, "YOU CAN'T COMMUNICATE WITH BIGOTS FROM MISSISSPPI" on a human level. You've got to use a gun to get their attention, what little there is!
How ya'll doin Cillizza?

Posted by: mudbone | February 9, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Stellar job President Obama. It's certainly refreshing to hear our President competently and comprehensively respond to questioning from the media. A President that speaks with depth and candor. Certainly a refreshing change from GWBush whose performances were nothing more than fodder for SNL skits.

Posted by: houston_progressive | February 9, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

The Landowners won't listen till we set the plantation ablaze!

Posted by: mudbone | February 9, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I remember the days when I was a teenager and President Kennedy would be giving a speech. I would stop whatever I was doing just to hear his oratory. Now, I have found myself doing the same thing for President Obama. Of course, I had practice during the campaign last year. My wife and I waited in line for two hours to get to hear him in person at one of the rallies. Between Kennedy and Obama, only one President truly educated as he spoke - Bill Clinton. I always got the impression that Reagan was trying out for another movie. Life is much more complicated than one-liners.

Great job, President Obama.

The country should not forget that there were no arrests at the largest attended inauguration in history. A remarkable record was made on Jamuary 20. The Republicans cannot take the glimmer and shine off of that day.

Posted by: EarlC | February 9, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

To clarify, I mean that many of the remaining repub senators could solidify their support at home by NOT supporting Pres Obama's agenda or working with him.

Posted by: PeixeGato1 | February 9, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I thought that the style of this press conference showed great respect not only for the press but for the American people. He didn't stoop to the politician's trick of matching preset sound bites to the questions. Instead, he thought on his feet, giving serious, extemporaneous (though well-informed) answers to the questions already asked. When the question was a trap (sure, Helen, he's really gonna tell you about Israel's nukes) he didn't dance, he said "I'm not going to address that." He showed respect for our intelligence and our patriotism.

I am 55 years old and I haven't been able to listen to an American president without cringing since Kennedy. What a relief this is.

Posted by: martimr1 | February 9, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

When you really think about this talk of bipartisanship and how the repubs are still obstructing Pres Obama, what gets lost is the fact that there is a decreasing number of repubs that are in any danger of losing their seats. Look at the Senate. There are only 6 or 7 repubs who are in states that either went for Obama in the election or where polls show any reason for these repubs to worry about their seats.

So most of the remaining repubs have no incentive to cooperate with Pres Obama on anything. In fact, they probably solidify their support by doing so. So I think people need to forget about the idea that Pres Obama will create a large bipartisan team of legislators to push his agenda through. The plain fact is that there are just too few repubs left who have to care about bipartisanship.

Posted by: PeixeGato1 | February 9, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Refreshing & remarkable. For the first time in at least a decade I've been able to watch a presidential press conference without having to suppress (or not) my gag reflex. Imagine this: A president who actually speaks intelligently, responds to questions artfully & (for the most part) directly. For those scoring this below "A" my challenge: lay it alongside any previous conference of your pick, give your honest appraisal, and review your marks.

Posted by: nmorgan1 | February 9, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

"2. BHO practically had a nervous breakdown live on TV. Bush was horrible on TV and off, but BHO was even *worse*."

I have absolutely no clue what the person meant who wrote the above comment. Saying something that never came close to happening does not make it so. Perhaps the blogger posted here instead of submitting it to FOX Noise. They really know how to tell what never was/is.

Posted by: EarlC | February 9, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

1. Considering that lies and smears from the HuffPost helped BHO win, calling on them for a puffball question was the least he could do. It also assured, even as much as calling on someone from the WaPo, that the question would be friendly.

2. BHO practically had a nervous breakdown live on TV. Bush was horrible on TV and off, but BHO was even *worse*.

3. If anyone wants to block the stimulus, help push this plan:

http://24ahead.com/how-stop-stimulus-bill-ask-tough-questions-and-ill-help

Don't count on someone else to push that plan while you sit on your couch. You have to do it. Contact all the major bloggers you can find and urge them to push that plan, and spread it to forums and through email.

If you spend an hour doing that right now, you might help save us from years of massive debt.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | February 9, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

From a previous blogger: "Also, Obama was downright, 100% evasive on the HuffPo's question. Imagine that. The hardest question was from Huffington."

I ask, what psrt of his answer did you not understand? Having heard many press conferences over the years, Pres. Obama was as straight forward with the answers as was deemed possible. Sometimes "hard" questions require walking a tightwire between classified and nonclassified information.

For example, it is a foregone conclusion by most people who know these things that Israel has nuclear weapons. However, for any ME country to have nuclear weapons is against UN resolutions of which the USA is a signatory. Dare I say that this is a big bone of contention for other ME countries who have no means of defending themselves against a nuclear power. Hence the heightened rhetoric by leaders of Iran and so forth. Not only does the US come across as being biased, it spends millions in its support of the Israeli arsenal. Do not get me wrong, I am not anti-Israel. However, our foreign policy in the region is far short of being even-handed.

Posted by: EarlC | February 9, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Yah Chris - ugly metaphor - it just puckered me!

No screening, no rules (as if the slavering mass of media would accept any) and handled with grace if little of the humor that he could show on the trail.

He's got big brass ones - here's hoping that he has the ideas and leadership to match!

Posted by: fr3dmars | February 9, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

President Obama did a good job of presenting his views on many of the most pressing issues. He wandered a bit at times. But the issues are very difficult and he did well in accepting that reality. He made his side of the argument on the stimulus plan strongly. But he has a good argument to make. He made it clear that he was not giving up on encouraging bipartisanship. But that intention just stregnthens his position. The Republicans face a large risk of marginalizing themselves if they continue to hide behind entrenched ideological positions and fail to participate in the search for a pragmatic consensus on how to actually face our problems and do something to make them better.

Posted by: dnjake | February 9, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Hugh --

1. Nobody appointed you "den mother"

2. I thought the President was excellent overall, the issues I brought up weren't complaints but points about things he can do to make his future press conferences be even better.

3. I make typo's. Get used to it.

Posted by: svreader | February 9, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

I was glad to hear Obama point out that GOP economic policies failed, and that's how we got to this crisis.

I also liked how he pointed out that the GOP -- having doubled the national debt in 8 years -- lacks credibility on fiscal policy.

Thank you for stating what the media won't, Mr President.

Posted by: ssomo | February 9, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Fletcher's question was ridiculous. I think we can agree on that.

Also, Obama was downright, 100% evasive on the HuffPo's question. Imagine that. The hardest question was from Huffington.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 9, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

A blogger made the following comments:
"Do you think it was appropriate for him to refer to the Vice-President as "Joe"? Very unprofessional...

Also, why does his lips look like they are lacking oxygen?"

Other than a major grammatical error in the text above, the President referring to "Joe" is certainly better than having a President who gave such affectionate names to his senior staff as "T-rd blossom." Bush was a vulgar joke to the office of the presidency.

There is time for formality and time for a measured amount of informality. President Obama is the people's President. He clearly shows that he not only respects us, he is one of us.

Posted by: EarlC | February 9, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

svreader (February 9, 2009 9:51 PM) certainly has a lot of criticism and advice for Obama, including this: |

"The way he ended it felt to abrupt."

If one were to offer any suggestions to svreader, they might include these:

"Please review the meanings of these words: to, two, too."

"And please run a spell check on 'efusive.'"

Posted by: HughBriss | February 9, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Communication isn't from the speaker's mouth to the listener's ear.

Its from the speaker's mind to the listener's mind.

Its mind to mind, and sometimes, soul to soul.

The message a speaker conveys isn't just carried by the meaning of the words, but how they're spoken, what the listener hears, based on their situation and experiences, and what the listener thinks of the person speaking them.

The President needs to take a page from his own book from now on.

During the campaign he used his stage presence and his ability to put real feeling into what he said.

People listening realized that what he said made sense and they were energized by his passion in making his points.

When the President gives a Press Conference or a Speech to a small group, he needs to draw on the same skills at communicating mind to mind or soul to soul that made people want to work to elect him.

Posted by: svreader | February 9, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

A group of my friends are working on getting FOXNEWS, HANNITY, ORIELLY FACTOR,RUSH,and GLEN Beck Cancelled.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | February 9, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

An excellent news conference. I say amen to all those who found it exciting to be able to listen to a President for a full hour. For eight years, I could not listen to fumbler-in-chief. I am sorry if I sound disresepctful. I had the distinct impression that the immediate past President had no respect or interest in me. If President 43 had respect for the country he served, he would have improved his communication skills during that time. His speech writers ranked up there with the worst. Not only does Pres. Obama write many of his own speeches, he has gifted speech writers. It is nice to listen knowing that when one tells the truth, there is absolutely no need to weasel around the topics.

I am thrilled to hear oratory that matches the office.

Posted by: EarlC | February 9, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

What a Great President!!! HE did a Great Job! OBAMA IS ONE OF OUR GREATEST PRESIDENTS! OBAMA IS FOR AMERICA. I HATE THE REPUBLICANS!!!!!!

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | February 9, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

What Does Pat Leahy Know That the Mainstream Media Won't Even Ask About?

WHILE THE PRESIDENT AND THE MEDIA ARE PURPOSELY DISTRACTED BY THE 'GENERATED' ECONOMIC CRISIS...

...SEN. PATRICK LEAHY LAYS THE FOUNDATION FOR A HORRIFIC SCANDAL BIGGER THAN WATERGATE:

...THE *ONGOING* 'AUTHORIZED' DOMESTIC TORTURE OF AMERICAN CITIZENS WITH RADIATION WEAPONRY.

********************************************

EYES ONLY. TO: President Obama; MICHELLE OBAMA; VP Biden; R. Emanuel; D. Axelrod; D. Blair; J. Brennan; J. Jones; E. Holder; J. Napolitano; R. Gates; L. Panetta; H. Clinton; T. Geithner; R. Mueller; H. Reid; N. Pelosi; D. Feinstein; S. Reyes


RE: Credible reports of HUMAN/CIVIL RIGHTS ABUSES by the ONGOING Bush-Cheney EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT NETWORK...

...comprised of security/intel agents, local police nationwide, and citizen vigilantes fronted by government-funded community policing and anti-terrorism programs.


IT IS DAY 21 OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

DO YOU *REALLY* KNOW WHAT YOUR "MULTI-AGENCY ACTION CENTER" IS UP TO?

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-targets-terrorizes-u-s-citizens

http://my.nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-horrific-shame

OR (IF LINKS ARE CORRUPTED/DISABLED):

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 9, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

It's depressing to think how long we've waited for a solid hour of intelligent give and take from POTUS. We don't have to worry about whether he understands the problems facing the nation. He can even explain the steps he's proposing to remedy those problems. He adroitly, I thought, handled the question about Joe Biden's remarks. It showed a welcome measure of humility and a hint of humor. I know this is all about tone and presentation, not content, but it's such a relief to have a president who is smarter than the reporters who cover him. I think he's got a shot of pulling this off.

Posted by: CJackson36 | February 9, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

i cannot believe how wonderful it was to see a president talking so intelligently as well as coherent. wow. i was very impressed with his grasp of the facts.

Posted by: karind1 | February 9, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

"That likely means that the mini-controversy over former senator Tom Daschle and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has passed unless further revelations come to light."

Soooooo wee!

Mr Greenwald's gonna have a field day with that one.

Posted by: sugarstreet | February 9, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

mtdon - I agree, tax cuts for the rich are STUPID. Bush was stupid. 80% of Republicans and Democats don't get it - but 80% of the citizens know this intuitively. The govt needs to stop spending, especially on the military, and start saving and balance their budgets. Our money needs to be backed by a commodity of value - Google Federal Reserve. And the people need to keep their money. The Federal govt does not need the income tax to function if it stopped spending dollars on the oversized military industrial complex, policing the globe and interfering in our lives.

Posted by: robinsoncom | February 9, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

So, so refreshing to hear an intelligent President speak in detail about the issues. He actually gave substantive answers to the questions!

Don't navel-gaze here. Don't miss the forest for the trees. I don't really care about which precise word he used to answer what question or whatever other trivial nitpick somebody might come up with -- the victory tonight was in showing that a serious person is in the Oval Office again.

Posted by: simpleton1 | February 9, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Obama is perhaps a great President, nevertehless we can't afford to listen to american people, Mardoff is your friend and a merde....

Posted by: frederic-delcroix | February 9, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Do you think it was appropriate for him to refer to the Vice-President as "Joe"? Very unprofessional...

Also, why does his lips look like they are lacking oxygen?

Posted by: Diannne721 | February 9, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

bring back the CCC and the ghost of harry hopkins....he hired 3 million people in 5 weeks....paid them prevailing wages for 30 hours a week.... why reinvent the wheel when all you have to do is read your history!

WE WANT A MODERN DAY HARRY HOPKINS!

Posted by: mtdon | February 9, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised by many of these comments.

Are we so inured to hackneyed phrases and lack of intelligent or in-depth answers that we can't appreciate them when we hear them?

Given the absolute nonsense that Republicans have been spouting about the stimulus bill - showing that most have no idea at all how our economy works and relying on silly slogans and fallacious talking points -- it was a relief to hear Obama inject some truth and common sense into the discussion.

Pearlstein is right -- each member of Congress needs to have a staff economist to keep him or her from spouting compete nonsense, at least on economic matters.

Posted by: ponderer | February 9, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

we need to tax the rich.... i say let's have a flat tax at the current rate for all incomes over 1 million a year... that way the rethuglicans can't say "you're raising taxes" - no we're not we're just getting rid of the loopholes

Posted by: mtdon | February 9, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

A solid performance with just the right touch of steel and class. The American people are being well served thus far --- now we need to rise up and smite a few dozen conservative blowhards in Congress and let them know that they are going to be the next to join the unemployment lines if they do not fall into step very very quickly. They are living on borrowed time as a political party --- they and the 23% of the American population who still think that the Republkicans have a clue had better cowboy up or pack a bag.

Posted by: gandalfthegrey | February 9, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

done is right.... as in the economy after 8 years of republican rule....tax cuts for the rich is STUPID

Posted by: mtdon | February 9, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh dear Lord, she's back. For Diannnnnne, here's a primer:

BET is a network.

Ebony is a magazine.

You are, well, that needn't be said....

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 9, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness they had real journalists there. Not people from Ebony of BET.

Posted by: Diannne721 | February 9, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Here's a first lost in the interview, for the first time in 8 years the reporters weren't hand picked or screened, it was a first come first served news conference, that says everything about the changes this country is in for... it's about time.

Posted by: AverageJane | February 9, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I can't imagine the standard that is being used to judge Obama on this press conference. Not only was he clear and specific but he answered over 10 reporters' questions that were multifaceted. He covered all current subjects and gave thoughtful answers. He was serious because the times are serious. Even the question about A-Rod provoked a serious answer about what message children would get from the conduct. Sorry folks who have any major critique, this guy was brilliant and he knew his issues. And compared to the last guy who was in office who could only regurgitate platitudes and who could not articulate anything about his thinking about a problem or vision for the country, our current President is the real thing. For most Republicans, you must have had to spend some time wiping off where you messed yourself. You're about to drown into oblivion.

Posted by: dkress1 | February 9, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

In the midst of a presidential news conference on the most serious economic crisis facing our nation since the 1930's, did the WaPo actually ask the President about the "more important" matter of A-Rod's use of steroids?

From here in the DPR of North Virginia I can hear the sobbing from Oakhill.

Posted by: R49Thomas | February 9, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Heaven help us. Curing a debtor disease with more debt. Why not cure a drug addict with more drugs or an obese person with more food or end war with more killing. There is a reason why people are not spending money - they don't have enough. This is all foolish and we are going to suffer. People and businesses are going to do what they have to do in order to survive, that means save and then grow. The government is just going to take fake money printed by the Federal Reserve and mix it up in the market, with zero results. And if foreigners continue to but Treasuries, they will take that loan and waste it on more wishful thinking. LET THE COMPANIES FAIL. LEAVE THE PEOPLE ALONE. STOP PRINTING FUNNY MONEY. Here is the solution: cut govt spending in half and cut all business and income tax in half. DONE.

Posted by: robinsoncom | February 9, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

All I heard was alot of dancing around the same answers, and I do not like his phrase "I inherited this problem", no obama, you campaigned for it. I was waiting for at least one reporter to ask the question, How do you plan to save or create 4 million jobs, when there are 20 million illegals working in this country? I was not impressed at all at his speech and I think the lady {forgot her name} was right, she said the longer obama speaks, the more he likes his own voice.

Posted by: highwaybluesoccer | February 9, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

The president should've answered the 30% chance of failure with the medical analogy, We have a 70% chance of curing you and a risk of 30% killing you. Your choice.

Posted by: AverageJane | February 9, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

There were moments when Obama could contain neither his disdain and nor his frustrations re some of the conservative criticisms and negative behaviors around this. Tough talk. In the end he solidified his position that he will keep trying and people see him as the one trying..and that congress in general better start recognizing that the game has changed.

Posted by: wernier | February 9, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

The president should do "two minute drills" on answering questions.

We saw this during the debates.

He started off slow and picked up steam.

My complaints are that I thought he was too efusive and almost cloying to the Republicans after scolding them.

The way he ended it felt to abrupt.

I hope he takes some cues from how JFK handled his press conferences.

The press respects the President's high intellect, his character, his achievement in becoming our first Black President, and his accomplishments even so far.

The President needs to put some of his boundless energy into improving his performance on his feet.

He gets the information out, and its well thought out, intelligent and wise, but he needs to make it smooth.

Many people look at a person's delivery and body language more than they listen to what the person is saying, even though they may not even know it.

You need to be smooth.

Posted by: svreader | February 9, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

After listening for 8 years to a president whine about how much "hard work" everything was, it's encouraging to see one actually doing it.

Posted by: AverageJane | February 9, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

It was clear that President Obama just does not do as well without a teleprompter -- he seemed a bit unsure of himself, which is a large departure from the campaign trail. His long winded responses to some of the questions caused the audience -- at least me -- to feel that there was a lot less compassion, and a lot more politics behind the response. His response to the question concerning Joe Biden's "30% possibility for failure" could not help but remind some that he may have made a huge mistake in selecting Biden in the beginning. For myself, felt less comfortable with the Obama package tonight than I did this afternoon. Think he is trying to be Roosevelt and Lincoln at the same time -- but with a Clinton staff!

Posted by: wheeljc | February 9, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

someone has to tell Obama or his people that questions from a bro' about a sports topic had absolutely no place at the news conference.

Obama needs to step up to the position and more importantly step up to the gravity of the times.

millions are out of a job and more millions will lose their job. Hardly an occasion to trivialize with such questions.


that reporter should not be asked back.

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | February 9, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I thought President Obama was reasonably vigorous, while still hoping his bipartisan approach will be successful in future legislative bills, especially relating to potentially more controversial policies. He was clearly more articulate than certain recent presidents.

Some of the questions by reporters were too general. President Obama should try to be a little more concise in some of his answers. Overall a B+ performance.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | February 9, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

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