Barack Obama is very good at things like his press conference last night. He is too smooth to get trapped by a tough question, and reporters know there are about three years, nine months to go in this term and don't want to be locked out for the duration.
Before we get going, I have some tactical suggestions for the staff.
On his list of reporters he is to call on, it would useful to put an arrow as to which third of the room that reporter is sitting in so the President of the United States doesn't look like Ben Stein searching for Ferris Bueller in a high school economics class which, by the way, this sort of sounded like.
He must find a new phrase to replace "a whole host of …" Last night we heard about "a whole host of:" banks, adjustments, veteran's issues, people, things, and steps; according to the NY Times transcript.
Tell him he must not get cranky when he IS pressed by a reporter. From the Transcript:
The President: Okay. Ed Henry. Where's Ed? There he is. [Bueller? Bueller?]
CNN's Ed Henry asked why the Attorney General of New York, Andrew Cuomo seems to be getting more done on the A.I.G. bonus issue than the Administration and why "you didn't go public immediately with that outrage?" But then, because he couldn't stop himself, Ed went on to ask the President if he thought he was going to be leaving a huge deficit for his daughters.
The President chose to answer question 1B and slid off the A.I.G. question. When Henry circled back and asked him again why his outrage took so long to germinate, Obama said:
Well, it took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak. All right?
The transcript said (Laughter), but it sounded more like (Nervous tittering) to me.
The predicate to Henry's answer was a question by CBS' Chip Reid about the $2.3 trillion difference in the size of the debt between the Administration's estimates and the Congressional Budget Office. "Some Republicans," he said, "called your budget … the most irresponsible budget in American history."
Obama may be sitting in the Oval Office and he might have promised to open the post-partisan era, but his answer was:
First of all, I suspect that some of those Republican critics have a short memory, because as I recall, I'm inheriting a $1.3 trillion deficit, annual deficit, from them.
Return with me now to January 3, 2007 when John Boehner, Republican of Ohio was elected Speaker of the House following the 2006 mid-term elections.
Whoa! What? Nancy Pelosi became Speaker? And the Democrats controlled the House? And the Senate? And they have controlled the budget committees for the past two years? So the "$1.3 trillion deficit, annual deficit" was adopted by the Democrat-controlled Congress?
Well, then, which Congressional Republicans could President Obama have been talking about? Must have been those Republican Chairmen of the House and Senate Budget Committees, U.S. Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND).
The A.I.G. contracts were put in place while Republicans Barney Frank (D-MA) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) were in control of the House and Senate Banking Committees. Those same two Guardians of the Working Man were supposed to be overseeing the S.E.C. while Bernie Madoff was playing Bernie Ripoff.
On a question about the Israel-Palestinian issue, the President said, "What we do know is this; that the status quo is unsustainable."
Those darned Republicans in the Congress again. There they were, day after day in charge of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unable to break through that status quo.
Say, just who was the Republican Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations over the past two years?
Oh, yes. Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE).
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