Admire Obama's 'Like to Know What I'm Talking About Before I Speak'

The NBC News team of Brian Williams, Chuck Todd and Keith Olbermann were all enamored with President Barack Obama's explanation that “it took us a couple of days” to express outrage over the AIG bonuses “because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak.” But on CNN, Bill Bennett undermined Obama's spin. Just after Obama's news conference ended at 8:57 PM EDT on Tuesday night, MSNBC anchor Olbermann quoted Obama's “I like to know what I talk about before I speak” line and then exclaimed it reflected “a new policy among politicians of every party and throughout American history!”

On the broadcast NBC network, Brian Williams proposed to Chuck Todd at the White House: “Chuck you'll agree the sharpest moment was when asked more than once why did it take you a while to come out and reveal these AIG bonuses? The President said it took a couple of days 'because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak.'” Todd agreed: “I'd actually say that was a theme throughout this entire press conference” as Obama wanted to show “that he is making incremental progress. He even said it at the end: Persistence.”
 
A few minutes later on CNN, however, analyst Bill Bennett, the MRC's Rich Noyes noticed, was less enthralled with Obama's explanation in response to the follow-up from CNN's Ed Henry:
The President said something that wasn't true in response. He said, well, I wanted, I wanted to wait a couple days until I knew what I was talking about. When he responded on that he didn't know what he was talking about. He said we've got to find some way to stop these bonuses. He and Geithner -- this administration -- had set up those bonuses.
The Williams-Todd exchange on NBC just before 9 PM EDT:
WILLIAMS: Chuck, one of the questioners of the President, Chuck you'll agree the sharpest moment was when asked more than once why did it take you a while to come out and reveal these AIG bonuses? The President said it took a couple of days "because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak."

TODD: I'd actually say that was a theme throughout this entire press conference, which was he wanted to show a couple of things thematically. Number one is that he is making incremental progress. He even said it at the end: Persistence. And he started, like you noted Brian, that he had somewhat of a closing statement but he wanted to say, you know, look, it is steady progress that we're making doing persistent things. So thematically that was it. Another big one is that the budget is part of the economic crisis. Very interesting choice of words.
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