On November 28, 2007, the official BarackObama.com website (not the my.barackobama.com version) touted Obama’s promise to have the health care negotiations televised on C-SPAN. At that time, his promise had not yet reached its expiration date. Although Obama made his C-SPAN promise at least eight times on the pre-presidency campaign trail, I couldn’t find any of his seven other C-SPAN promises on his website that covered his every hallowed/hollowed word.
As far back as February 13th, Gibbs made light of the whole C-SPAN thing. At that time, the MSM laughed along with him and didn’t bother asking a follow-up question. It was evident even then that the White House had no intention of allowing C-SPAN access to any meeting of substance. As for one of the talking points, If the White House thinks hardly anyone watches C-SPAN anyway and it wouldn’t make a difference as we’ve heard all the arguments already, why don’t they just go ahead and let the film roll?
On March 5th, the White House prominently highlighted on the first page, second paragraph of its press release Obama’s commitment to transparency and promise to have the health care negotiations on C-SPAN (see page 45). The previous day, March 4th, Gibbs emphasized: “And the event will be streamed on the web and broadcast on C-SPAN, as the President promised many times during the campaign” (emphasis added)
On July 22, Christi Parsons asked President Obama a question in prime-time about televising health care negotiations on C-SPAN, to which the president stated he’d “welcome it.” The fact that Obama said this after the March 5th dog and pony show demonstrated that he was referring to future negotiations. In Obama’s stead, Gibbs has considered the C-SPAN question decidedly unwelcome. Meanwhile, it’s now been nearly six months since His Eloquency Who is Running Scared has taken questions from a reporter who was not handpicked by the administration to throw softballs.
On July 27th, Ed Henry attempted to ask Gibbs about televising the negotiations, but again, Gibbs laughed it off. On October 19th and 26th the press tried once more, but Gibbs continued to deflect the question.
It is all so perfectly clear: Gibbs continues to run interference for his opaque, but empty suit boss. But in reference to the big cheese himself, (and not the health care negotiations), we can move along as there truly is nothing to see.