Barack Obama is holding another news conference . He's yet to hold one that involves more than a half-dozen questions. Maybe this will be the one. The main subject appears to be the admission that -- perhaps for an entire generation -- we're giving up on the idea of eliminating deficits.
Where is the "new economics" coming from? Check out the TVs under the word "Washington" in the background during a presentation by a CNBC economics expert this morning.
That's Elmo from Sesame Street, I believe.
9:41 a.m. Clinton time has returned to Washington. The president-elect is late again. The set is American-flag bedecked stage. It seems the worse the economy gets, the more flags get added to the stage.
9:43 a.m. - We're underway. In his opening statement, Obama says he's committed to change and an end to wasteful spending. He's been warning Congress not to load up a stimulus bill with pet projects. He says the deficit isn't just dollars, but of trust and accountability.
He introduces a chief performance officer. It's Nancy Killefer, a director at McKinsey & Company. She's another Clintonian. She was a former assistant secretary of the treasury in the Bill Clinton administration.
She promises to "create a government that works for its citizens." As with yesterday's Midday session with Minnesota lawmakers, she invokes the need for government to "work more efficiently and effectively." Also like yesterday, she has no specifics.
Q: What will you do about Medicare and Social Security?
A: He repeats that "if we do nothing, we'll continue to see red ink as far as the eye can see." He says creating jobs will cost more money. "We are working on our budget plans and beginning consultations with members of Congress." You're not dreaming; he didn't come close to answering the question.
Q: Are you involved in cease fire talks in Gaza?
A: We can't have two administrations running foreign policy at the same time. I'm being briefed.
Q: How should we interpret your silence on the issue?
A: I can't control how people interpret my silence.
Q: Congress is talking a larger stimulus bill than you are? How do you reconcile that?
A: We're still in consultation with members of Congress about the final size of the package. We expect it will be on the high end of our estimates but won't be as high as some economists are recommending. It's important it not contain earmarks (pork).
Aside: KC Star editorial -- Stimulus bill will be loaded with earmarks.
Q: What's your view of Roland Burris not being seated?
A: That's a Senate matter.
That's it. A new record for least number of questions he's taken at a news conference.
He has already learned that every word he says will be scrutinzed so he doesn't say any.
While there's a valid criticism of the small number of questions the PE takes in news conferences (thus far), the media should likewise take some blame for asking ridiculous questions to which we already know the answer like "What's your take on Burris" or "How should we interpret your silence".
I think we should look at the questions asked:
#1: What will you do about Medicare and Social Security?
This seems to be a question lacking a focus, shouldn't the reporter have maybe asked a more specific question, one that maybe can be answered.
#2: Are you involved in cease fire talks in Gaza?
Good qestion, good answer "I'm being briefed."
#3: How should we interpret your silence on the issue?
Well if he feels that he needs to be silent on the issue why would he comment on his silence on it? If the reporter had listened to the responce to the following qestion "We can't have two administrations running foreign policy at the same time" they may have asked a better follow up question.
#4: Congress is talking a larger stimulus bill than you are? How do you reconcile that?
He seems to answer that question in my opinion, you consult with members to bring them to your views on things, I believe that is what we call politics.
#5: What's your view of Roland Burris not being seated?
His view is that it is a matter of the Senate. Why would an incoming president share his personal views on the Senate not to seat Roland Burris? The Senate is a seprate arm of the government, the president does not need to comment on the day to day actions in the Senate. The presidents views should only have the power of swaying bills in the Senate, not the day to day operations.
I see this as being let down by the questions not the answers. But these are the questions reporters ask when they want headlines not in depth answers.
Just so everyone knows, I love Bob Collins and the services he provides here on NewsCut, MPR and the Current, so my earlier post isn't a bash on Bob, just a critism on the post. We can't always agree with the ones we love, now can we.
//I think we should look at the questions asked:
The questions were rephrased to get rid of the original reporter statements leading up to the question.
//the president does not need to comment on the day to day actions in the Senate.
He's the president-elect but more important, he's the former occupier of the seat in question. The presumption, perhaps, is the son of Illinois has something to say about Illinois not being fully represented in the Senate.
But, you're right, the guy is in "limbo" ... being neither senator nor president.
I'd like to go back and review some transcripts from the "limbo" period of GWB and see if he also invoked the "we only have on president" answers.
At least we didn't get the "puppy" question.
"At least we didn't get the "puppy" question."
It is important to recognize the small blessings.
It's suggested that Nixon sabotaged peace talks with Vietnam before the election -- that he lead the Vietnamese to believe he would give them a better deal than Johnson would. There is no election at stake with the Gaza issue, but comments that Obama makes now could impact the behavior of one or both sides. I think he's wise to stay tight lipped about it now.
Has he fielded a question from Fox yet? Who's keeping track of that?
I think he's been very clear about not stepping into the office until Jan 20th.
Also SO glad no one asked Puppy question, or other equally lame questions.
I personally loved his answer to the Burris question. I hope it's an indication of how he will react to other questions which require personal opinion answers in areas where he has no "jurisdiction".
I think Obama has made it pretty clear that he's not going to go where he doens't need to, statement wise, and that he's not going to just flip out boneheaded statements that ultimately don't matter.
I have a feeling he is going to let people do their jobs.
Usually when Obama has messed up (the Nancy Reagan reference, for example), it's because he went off script. I think he's probably getting better media advice now.
It still drives me crazy, though, at the end when I hear him say "OK, guys?" I don't even like it it when the restaurant hostess says that to my wife and I.
// It still drives me crazy, though, at the end when I hear him say "OK, guys?" //
What about that drives you crazy? The colloquialness of 'guys'? What would you prefer? (is colloquialness a word?)
//What about that drives you crazy? The colloquialness of 'guys'? What would you prefer? (is colloquialness a word?)
For the president, "ladies and gentlemen" suits me fine. I would refer to him as "sir."
For the hostess, "sir and ma'am" have worked fine for generations. And, yes, I realize I'm old fashioned. I don't even have an iPhone for crying out loud.