“There weren’t a lot of hard questions in this news conference,” FNC’s Bret Baier observed on Special Report in the understatement of the night. Indeed, in the first question posed at the late Wednesday afternoon session, Caren Bohan of Reuters reflected the collective glow of the White House press corp basking in Barack Obama’s glory:
You racked up a lot of wins in the last few weeks that a lot of people thought would be difficult to come by. Are you ready to call yourself the “comeback kid”?
(Katie Couric gushed on the CBS Evening News over how “the President isn’t calling himself the ‘comeback kid,’ but some other folks are.” A pleased George Stephanopoulos teased ABC’s World News by yearning for more Obama success in 2011: “The President takes a victory lap. How the Christmas season became what he called a ‘season of progress.’ Will it continue in the new year?”)
At the 4:15 PM EST press conference carried by the broadcast networks, ABC’s Jake Tapper Tapper offered his “congratulations” on the repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell as he hit Obama from the left on whether it “is it intellectually consistent to say that gay and lesbians should be able to fight and die for this country, but they should not be able to marry the people they love?” Audio compilation: (MP3 clip)
Mark Knoller of CBS Radio pushed Obama to address liberal thinking on taxes, asking if he could “explain the anger and even outrage many Democrats felt when the tax cut bill extended tax cuts not just for the middle class, but also for the wealthy?”
CNN’s Dan Lothian picked up on an Obama analogy, cuing him up:
Can you give us an update on that car that you talk so much about being in the ditch? Can you give us an update as to where it is today? What kind of highway do you think it will be driving on in 2011? Who will really be behind the wheel given the new makeup in Congress? And what do you think Republicans will be sipping and saying next year?
Lothian’s colleague at CNN en Espanol, Juan Carlos Lopez, expressed frustration with Obama’s inability to pass the “Dream Act,” fretting:
Mr. President, you've been able to fulfill many of your promises. Immigration reform isn't one of them. Just this last weekend, the Dream Act failed cloture by five votes, and five Democrats didn't support it. Three Republicans did. How are you going to be able to keep your promise when the Republicans control the House when you haven't been able to do so with Democrats controlling both the Senate and the House and when Republicans say they want to focus on border security before they do anything on immigration?
The full text of the December 22 questions from Bohan, Tapper and Knoller, as collected by the MRC’s Brad Wilmouth. NewsBusters Managing Editor Ken Shepherd compiled the video of the leading questions.
Caren Bohan, Reuters:
You racked up a lot of wins in the last few weeks that a lot of people thought would be difficult to come by. Are you ready to call yourself the "comeback kid"? And also, as you look ahead to 2011, are you worried that bipartisan agreement will be a lot harder to reach on issues like deficit reduction and maybe even tax reform?
Jake Tapper, ABC News:
I have a couple questions about Don't Ask, Don't Tell. First of all, congratulations. What was your conversation like with Marine Commandant Amos when he expressed to you his concerns, and yet, he said that he would abide by whatever the ruling was. Can you understand why he had the position he did? And then, on the other hand, is it intellectually consistent to say that gay and lesbians should be able to fight and die for this country, but they should not be able to marry the people they love?
Mark Knoller, CBS News:
Mr. President, can you explain the anger and even outrage many Democrats felt when the tax cut bill extended tax cuts not just for the middle class, but also for the wealthy? And is that a divide that you may be contributing to when you and the Vice President talk about morally inappropriate tax cuts for the wealthy?...Sir, is there a divide between middle class and wealthy Americans?