Nets Embrace 'Did You Plug the Hole Yet, Daddy?' Anecdote to Humanize Obama

The White House press corps just loved President Obama's press conference anecdote meant to prove the pressure he's under and responsibility he's taking (“When I woke up this morning, and I'm shaving and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and she peeks in her head and she says: 'Did you plug the hole yet, daddy?'”). The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts all showcased the clip, with fill-in ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos incorporating it into his lead:
Good evening. The buck stops with him. President Obama acknowledged today that the worst oil spill in American history is his crisis by quoting his daughter.

Earlier in the day, wrapping up ABC's live coverage of the afternoon session, Stephanopoulos was “struck” by the soundbite: “Pretty clear what the President was trying to convey today, Jake [Tapper]. He is in charge. I was struck in that final answer he even brought Malia back into this.”

Back to Thursday night, CBS's Chip Reid began his report by playing the bite, setting it up: “Well, Harry [Smith], if there's one thing the President made clear today it's that pressure to plug that hole is coming from everywhere.” Over on NBC, Chuck Todd introduced the video: “As if realizing he had not yet driven home the message that he came to the East Room to make, the President at the very end made it personal.”

(None of the ABC, CBS or NBC newscasts mentioned Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak's admission the Obama White House last year offered him a high-level position if he would not run agaisnt Arlen Specter, a potential scandal raised by FNC's Major Garrett in the final question.) 

Earlier Thursday: “On Hardball: Obama's 'Gut Moment' with Daughter May Quiet Critics

Two night's ago, CBS and NBC dug deep to make Obama look concerned. My Tuesday night post, “Nets Dig Out ‘Plug the Damn Hole’ Quote to Buck Up ‘Frustrated’ Obama’s Credibility on Oil Spill,” recounted:

CBS and NBC on Tuesday night reached deep into a Washington Post story – specifically, the 20th paragraph of a 24-paragraph article – to pluck out a quote in order to demonstrate a “frustrated” President Barack Obama has been angry about the gulf oil spill. “A frustrated President Obama says ‘plug the damn hole,’” Katie Couric teased at the top of the CBS Evening News. She soon elaborated:
Frustration over the spill has been simmering for weeks, even in the Oval Office. We learned today that in the first days of this crisis an angry President Obama snapped at a meeting, quote: ‘Plug the damn hole.’ The President will head to the gulf coast on Friday, his second visit in about four weeks.
The NBC Nighty News plastered the quote on screen, as Brian Williams announced:
We also learn more today about the President's frustration. A Washington Post article saying President Obama bluntly told an aide in the Oval Office: ‘Plug the damn hole.’ That hasn't happened yet, but the President is heading back there Friday.
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