Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales basked in the glow of President Obama in what you cannot call a "critique" of the president's second prime-time press conference. Headlined "The Very Face of Victory," Shales began with a gush:
Most of the facets of President Obama's personality that have made him intensely popular were on display last night during his second prime-time news conference, and so he emerged from it still every inch "President Wonderful," as it were, untouched and intact.
Shales noticed the president looked tired, but suggested that’s what the people want, someone who’s working overtime on fixing this "ruinous recession." He noticed "Once or twice, Obama also seemed somewhat defensive. He was even a bit snippy -- though justifiably so, it appeared," on the AIG bonus controversy:
Why did it take a couple of days, reporter Ed Henry wanted to know. "It took a couple of days because I like to know what I am talking about before I speak." Whack! It was a little like an old-fashioned teacher rapping a naughty student's knuckles with a ruler.
Many liberal media outlets have reported the Kennedy Center birthday party Sunday night for Sen. Ted Kennedy. Few have mentioned the media turnout. Al Hunt of Bloomberg News, the former Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal, joined Caroline Kennedy in awarding Sen. Kennedy the Kennedy Library’s "Profile in Courage" Award. Frank Mankiewicz, the former president of National Public Radio and Robert F.
CNN's Ed Henry filed his February 19 story from Ottawa where he had followed Barack Obama on his first foreign trip as president. The still shot shown above is from B-roll that Henry used for the opening of his "Anderson Cooper 360" report. One Canadian fan of President Obama is shown holding a sign reading "After God, it's [cut-out picture of Obama]."
Update: The highlight thus far is the testy exchange between Gibbs and Tapper. Checking the tape again it appears he did answer Tapper's second question, albeit tersely muttering the response, before turning to Chuck Todd of NBC.
Gibbs starting press conference about 10 minutes late, at 2:10. Says was late getting started due to news about Associate Justice Ginsburg's pancreatic cancer surgery.
[N.B.: I'm watching via Fox News ]
14:10, Jennifer Loven, AP: question about stimulus size.
14:13, Loven question about potential conflict of interest for Obama's Labor Sec. designee, Rep. Solis.
14:14, female reporter notes more "combative" tone to Obama's talk on stimulus, asks if he's "given up on bipartisanship"
sorry for the gap, had Internet connection problems for a few minutes.
14:19, Ed Henry: President talked about the trillion dollar deficit, why then if that's a failure does he want to add $8 or $9 billion on top of that?
14:20, Henry: Paid for with a cigarette tax but we're not sure how many are going to buy cigarettes
14:22,Henry: Notes Labor Secretary-designate Hilda Solis's husband's reported tax liens, asks if White House knew about it.
14:24, Jake Tapper, ABC News: Can we get copy of the waivers for former lobbyists given by the OMB. It's not available by email or the Web, can we get them.
Live-blogging the press briefing. Was scheduled to start at 2:30, it's now 2:38.
Watching on Fox News Channel. May also through up some Tweets @KenShepherd
The archive of official White House press briefings can be found here.
14:45: Still waiting for Gibbs to come out. Fox News has gone to split-screen.
14:52, Gibbs finally underway.
14:54, female reporter notes Judd Gregg connection to Abramoff scandal. 2nd question, is president getting tougher in rhetoric on stimulus?
14:56, same reporter he feels the need to ramp up the rhetoric a bit, why is that?
14:58, male reporter asks if there's any concern the executive pay guideline will backfire, with firms not asking for bailout money b/c of the rules. Also asks if Gibbs can give a "flavor" for what to expect from stimulus negotiations.
15:01, same reporter: Are you worried about it backfiring?
15:02, Ed Henry, CNN with question about president's stance on "buy American" provisions in the stimulus bill.
15:03, Henry asks "what balance" does Obama want "to strike" in buying American and honoring trade commitments.
Conservatives, including the Business & Media Institute, have criticized President Barack Obama's mathematics and language regarding job creation. CNN's Ed Henry brought up that same criticism on Feb. 2 during "Anderson Cooper 360°."
"[T]here are now questions about how many jobs Mr. Obama is promising to create," Ed Henry told viewers of the broadcast. Henry used three separate video clips of Obama talking about jobs to illustrate the way the President "seemed to move the goal post" for job creation.
Henry began with a clip of Obama's remarks on Nov. 22, 2008 when he said his team would be working on a plan to create 2.5 million more jobs in two years (by January 2011).
Once again I'm going to live-blog the daily press briefing. I'll be focused on the reporters' questions, not so much Gibbs's answers. I also caution this is a rough transcript and may contain errors. I hope to render as accurate a depiction as possible of the questions asked and who's asking them.
As a little twist, I'll also try Twittering some comments on my Twitter page, @KenShepherd.
The presser was scheduled for 3:45 p.m. ET, but is late getting off the ground. Gibbs entering room at 3:53 p.m. ET
15:54 Gibbs gives announcements including week-ahead schedule "better late than never" he adds.
15:54, female reporter: Did the president come away with any specific reason to think Republicans will support the stimulus? Was there anything he agreed to put in the bill to get Republican support?
15:58, same reporter with followup, says way Gibbs describes it makes it sound like Obama is arguing for the status quo stimulus bill, not getting changes to it.
15:59, Bill Plante: It seems more aspirational. Public comments we hear are more predictable. Republicans accuse Dems of it being too larded up, Democrats say there's too much tax cuts... I don't hear enough from either side that there's compromise in the works.
Update/Closing thoughts (14:34): Hearst columnist Helen Thomas continues to make a cartoon of herself in her using her perch to parrot ultra-left-wing talking points. Her question today was on why President Obama wants to send troops into Afghanistan to "kill more people."Without doubt it was the loopiest left-wing question posed today. Oddly enough, given her history of bias, one of the best queries today came from April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, who questioned the wisdom of pegging hopes of economic recovery on so-called "green jobs."
About to live-blog the White House daily press briefing. I'm focusing chiefly on the questions from the journalists. I'm watching via Fox News.
13:42: Gibbs: our e-mail system isn't working so well, apologizes for that to press corps.
Questions from reporters follow:
13:44, female reporter: Can you describe a little more fully about Amb. Rice's comments on mid-east diplomacy
13:45, female reporter: So you can't say when the diplomacy [with Iran] will begin or how?
13:46, Chuck Todd, NBC News: When are you guys going to announce a housing plan? Where is the money? Is it part of TARP?
13:47,Todd's followup: Does that mean it will not be part of the $350 billion?
13:48, Todd: Going to encourage banks to lend more?
On Saturday's Ballot Bowl 2008, CNN anchor Ed Henry interviewed actor Jon Voight. Henry must have been surprised when Voight very quickly made an important point, one that it's impossible to deny: Much of the mainstream media has become unabashedly partisan. Henry asked Voight how he thought Sarah Palin did in the recent vice presidential candidate debate:
JON VOIGHT, ACTOR: She was wonderful in the debate. My deepest concern, you know. Let me just say -- can I say something honestly about the debate? The thing that concerned me about the debate, all these people, 70 to 80 million people watching this debate, and I found so many things that I found Joe Biden said that were - that I recognized as out-right lies. So I'm saying, isn't anybody on this? And of course, we're talking to CNN and I know where you guys stand. And I'm saying, guys, we've got to not have a partisan press. We've got to have real journalism here. And it's a sad event for me to witness this.
CNN’s Ed Henry introduced a new and odd adage about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s trip to the United Nations on Tuesday’s American Morning. Instead of trying something similar to the "education" line that CBS’s Julie Chen used, the White House correspondent focused on how the McCain campaign was "trying to cram a lot in for Sarah Palin over the next two days in New York:" "It's like speed dating with world leaders. In the span of just 30 hours in New York, Sarah Palin will meet with nine major international players during the U.N.'s General Assembly meetings, from the presidents of Iraq and Afghanistan, to Henry Kissinger and the rock star Bono -- all aimed at beefing up Palin's thin foreign policy chops" [see video at right].
Without going into the grouping of a mega-rock star like U2 front-man Bono with Hamid Karzai, Henry’s "speed dating" line might raise some eyebrows over possible sexism in the media, given how the female Alaska governor is meeting with these nine world leaders, all of whom are men. Katie Couric could be consulted with this matter, given what she said about the coverage Hillary Clinton received during the Democratic primaries.
Is it "wishful thinking" for Republicans to imagine that Obama will take Hillary as his running mate? CNN's Ed Henry thinks so. He made the comment to anchor Heidi Collins in a report on the veepstakes during CNN's 9 AM EDT hour today.
HEIDI COLLINS: Another name keeps bubbling up: Hillary Clinton. Ed Henry is on the VP watch yet again today. Alright, so what do you think today, Ed? Because I know yesterday it might have been different.
ED HENRY: Well it's interesting. You mentioned Hillary Clinton. This name has been surfacing over the last 24 hours. Some Democrats, but frankly I've also heard it from some Republicans. Because they, strategists in both parties, are saying wait a second. We thought Barack Obama was going to roll this out a couple of days ago, maybe a little sooner. Now it seems to be getting closer to the convention. Is it a surprise? Is it someone with a lot of name ID? Someone he doesn't need to spend a lot of time rolling out and introducing to the American people. Frankly I think some Republicans are spreading this because it's some wishful thinking on their part. Because they know she's also a lightning rod. She did get 18 million votes in the primaries. She brings some real strengths to the table, but she also could really rally conservatives if she was on the ticket and could give conservatives sort of a spark to turn out for John McCain. So there might be some wishful thinking there. We have gotten no new reporting suggesting she's vaulted to the top of the short list.
Update (13:40 EDT): You can see in bold some of the questions I thought particularly biased. I've clipped Mark Smith's first question about turning the thermostat down and driving less and posted that video on EyeBlast.tv. You can find it embedded at right. [Official White House transcript available here.]
10:17 EDT: President Bush will hold a press conference in a few minutes, I'll be watching and live-blogging questions from the press corps. I'll update the blog post after the fact (assuming President Bush takes questions) with a link to the official White House transcript. If warranted, we may also post video of the most biased questions.
11:09 | President thanks reporters for their time, closes conference.
11:06 | Olivier (sp?): "Is President Karzai correct and do you think the new government in Pakistan is willing to combat terrorism?"
11:02 | Ryan: Do you think it [the economy] changes before you leave office?
10:59 | April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks: "When in your guestimation will this country see a turnaround on the soft economy?" Also asks about what's happening in Sudan.
10:57 | Compton presses again on oil company question.
10:55 | Ann Compton, ABC Radio: "You never mention oil companies. Are you confident that American oil producers are tapping all the sources they have out there, including offshore?" Compton also asks about Iraq and what Bush will leave his successor.
10:53 | Smith of AP Radio asks if President Bush sees the "value" of a campaign to push for conservation.
10:52 | Mark Smith, AP Radio: "Mr. President, understanding what you say about energy supplies being tight and the debate over energy, which has gone on for years and will continue long through the campaign and into the next administration -- one thing nobody debates is that if Americans use less energy the current supply/demand equation would improve. Why have you not sort of called on Americans to drive less and to turn down the thermostat?"
10:50 | Roger Runningen, Bloomberg News on a second stimulus: "Is it too late to consider a second one?"
Throughout the day on Thursday, CNN carried the water for the Democrats and portayed President Bush’s "appeasement" remarks before the Knesset in Israel as an attack on Barack Obama. "The Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer began his program by stating that "President Bush slams Barack Obama from Israel." Senior political analyst Gloria Borger quipped, "I know that the White House press secretary says they were not talking about Barack Obama, but of course they were." Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin remarked, "I think this is straight out of the usual Republican playbook." Jack Cafferty struck hard: "He is beyond irrelevant and he's not going to scare anybody. He just babbles away like Eliot Spitzer talking about matrimonial fidelity. It's a joke." CNN’s other senior political analyst, David Gergen, reminisced, "I can't remember as brazen a political shot by a President overseas in a political race back home... an especially jagged kind of criticism."
CNN correspondent Ed Henry hacked out 29 paragraphs on his network's Web site dedicated to the proposition that "President Bush launched a sharp but veiled attack Thursday on Sen. Barack Obama and other Democrats." Henry cited anonymous White House sources to acknowledge that "the remarks [before the Israeli Knesset] were aimed at the presidential candidate [Barack Obama] and others in his party."
Henry then expended much energy tracking down Democrats to bluster about Bush's "veiled attack" and how specious it was, including a hot-tempered Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) declaring the charge, "bulls**t."
But aside from the he-said/she-said treatment of quoting Democratic outrage and finding Republicans -- White House Press Secretary Dana Perino and presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain -- on the defensive, Henry failed to look into Obama's past statements on his vision for presidential diplomacy.
Yet Obama's presidential campaign Web site itself lays out in pretty simple terms the Illinois Democrat's view about engaging the Iranian regime in "direct" negotiations with no preconditions (emphasis mine):
White House Press Secretary Dana Perino has refuted assertions by CNN that President Bush, in a speech to the Israeli Knesset on Thursday, "[suggested] that Senator Barack Obama and other Democrats are in favor of appeasing terrorists in the same way that U.S. leaders appeased the Nazis in the run-up to World War II."
As my colleague Matthew Balan reported less than two hours ago, CNN's "American Morning" was quick to view statements made by the President as hostile to the junior senator from Illinois and other Democrats.
Yet, in a press gaggle following the President's speech, Perino flatly denied such assertions (file photo above right):
Minutes after President Bush began his speech to the Israeli Knesset, CNN quickly channeled outraged Democratic reaction to his "false comfort of appeasement" remark. "American Morning" co-host John Roberts, in a brief on the speech, claimed the President was "suggesting that Senator Barack Obama and other Democrats are in favor of appeasing terrorists in the same way that U.S. leaders appeased the Nazis in the run-up to World War II," though the President did not mention any Democratic official or the Democratic Party.
The graphic on the screen also reflected this belief that Democrats were being unfairly smeared: "Pres. Says Obama, Other Dems Want ‘Appeasement of Terrorists" and "Pres. Bush Compares Dems’ Stance on War to Appeasement of Nazis."
In rural parts of the country, it happens from time to time; a person appears uninvited on someone's property, and the landowner tells them that "elsewhere" is a better place to be. Typically these confrontations are benign in nature, even when on occasion either the property owner or the trespasser turns out to be armed.
Such was the case in Texas this past weekend when a Danish reporter wandered into the yard of an elderly Texas woman, and she shooed him off, a gun apparently in hand.
CNN's Ed Henry made quite a big deal out of the incident, promoting it as a near "international incident" writing in the lede that the Dane came "this close to getting shot."
Give CNN points for stating the obvious, if points are deserved for such a prosaic report. But, don't forget that by doing so, it is their gleeful kick in the ribs to George W. Bush and that particular aspect was the goal in the first place for reporting that the race for the White House "overshadowed" Bush's State of the Union speech.
From the headline to the last word of the piece, there is little by way of new or prescient "analysis" relayed in a report half of which delights to say how supposedly irrelevant Bush has become. Proclaiming, "Analysis: Bush overshadowed by presidential race," CNN doesn't give us much by way of thoughtful "analysis:"
I'll be live-blogging the press conference (mostly just the questions from the journalists as we're focused on the bias) and if a video update is warranted, we'll post one shortly after the conference concludes:
10:44 closes press conference, leaves podium.
10:41: Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune, says reading Bush's body language he can tell he's "somewhat dispirited." Then he says "the facts have failed you" on things he's telling the American people. Quotes Harry Reid. "Are you feeling troubled... credibility gap?"
10:37: unid'd reporter "Wolf" asks about if Bush's personal relationship with the Democrats in Congress is affecting getting legislation through.
10:35: another unid'd reporter named "Wolf" asks Bush to react to 2008 U.S. presidential race
10:35: reporter asks if he discussed Russian elections with Putin
10:33: unidentified reporter asks Bush if in his conversation with Putin if he asked him to not sell uranium to Iran.
10:30: Baier, Fox News: "What does the vote in Venezuela mean for the U.S.? .... What's your reaction to Chavez opponents winning?"