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Obama's Visit to the Press Room

Jonathan Martin writes for Politico: "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.'"

Click "Continue reading this post" to see, via FishbowlDC, some video of Obama's visit. The exchange in question starts at 3:30.

Obama also said, somewhat contradictorily in my view, that he was "very proud" of Gibbs's first outing -- and that "[w]e will try to have a relationship that's respectful and where you guys feel like you're actually getting answers."

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 23, 2009; 1:23 PM ET
Categories:  Press Watch  
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