Obama's 'Teaching Moments,' 'Message' to Ideologues, Fret Not Tougher Sooner

Some quick takes on the very brief presidential press conference wrap-ups on ABC, CBS and NBC before each returned to entertainment shows a bit after 9 PM EST:
- ABC anchor Charles Gibson lauded how President Obama treated “each question almost as a teaching moment with long and expansive answers.”

- CBS anchor Katie Couric cited how Obama talked “about 'ideological blockage'” against the “stimulus” bill and wondered: “Do you think some of his Republican opponents on the Hill got the message with this news conference tonight?”

- On NBC, Brian Williams fretted Obama wasn't as tough sooner, postulating: “It may be said that if the President had used this voice -- some of the forcefulness we saw there at the top -- the result might, might have been different so far leading into this stimulus package vote.”
A little more on the barely minute-long, or less, post-news conference coverage:

While many would say Obama rambled with long, wandering answers, ABC's Gibson noted how he took “only thirteen questions over an hour, seemingly treating each question almost as a teaching moment with long and expansive answers.”

CBS's Couric declared Obama's “tone was stern, no nonsense” before she turned to Bob Schieffer as she admired his rebuke of conservatives:
COURIC TO BOB SCHIEFFER: Bob, we heard the President talk about 'ideological blockage.' Do you think some of his Republican opponents on the Hill got the message with this news conference tonight?

SCHIEFFER: Well, he certainly made a compelling argument, whether you agree with it or not. But Katie, his problem is going to be with Democrats in the House. He's got to somehow keep them from loading up this bill with more spending, so much spending that they won't be able to get it through the Senate.
Last week, NBC's Williams revealed he had wanted to ask Obama if he is “ever tempted” to start over again with the stimulus bill “and give a stemwinder combination fireside chat/speech to the nation,” just as did Michael Douglas on “the crime bill” in The American President movie. Well, Williams saw his wish fulfilled Monday night, at least from his perspective:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Chuck, it may be said that if the President had used this voice – some of the forcefulness we saw there at the top – the result might, might have been different so far leading into this stimulus package vote.

CHUCK TODD, AT THE WHITE HOUSE: Everything about today feels a week too late, although the White House would argue it's not too late, they're going to get their bill, they're winning the battle as far as getting the bill out of Congress – maybe they're not getting the public approval ratings that they want, maybe they're not getting the number of Republicans that they want on board – I think all of them wish they could re-do this and start a week earlier, literally take what happened today and have done it last Monday.
My February 4 NewsBusters item, “Williams Urges Obama to Copy Douglas in 'The American President,'” recounted:
Brian Williams revealed Wednesday afternoon that in a question he didn't get to with President Obama the day before, he wanted to ask Obama if he is “ever tempted” to start over again with the stimulus bill “and give a stemwinder combination fireside chat/speech to the nation,” just as did Michael Douglas on "the crime bill” in The American President movie, “and just say, 'look, here's what we got to do. I went wrong. It got loaded up. Now we're going to do the real thing?'”

In that 1995 film, in which Douglas played Democratic President “Andrew Shepherd,” after compromising with Congress, he returns to his left-wing sensibilities and, in the climatic point of the movie cheered by liberal film-goers, walks to the press room where he delivers an impassioned lecture -- which earns affirmative nods from the journalists -- praising the ACLU, pushing for extreme action on global warming and promises, in the portion Williams admired, “to get the guns.” President Shepherd:
The other piece of legislation is the crime bill. As of today it no longer exists. I’m throwing it. I’m throwing it out and writing a law that makes sense. You cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns. I consider them a threat to national security and I will go door-to-door if I have to but I’m going convince Americans that I’m right and I’m going to get the guns.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center