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Our Incurious, Insular President

"I, you know, I don't spend a lot of time reading columns, Katie."

If we learned one lesson from the media from the 2008 campaign, it’s that telling Katie Couric you do not read a lot of newspapers is an absolute disqualifier for the presidency.  (This is aside from how the media reacted to President Bush saying he didn’t pay much attention to the newspapers).  So, when Couric confronted President Obama with criticisms in an uncharacteristically O-negative David Brooks column, what was his response? In the President’s own words:

Katie Couric: President Obama, there was a stinging column in the New York Times today written by David Brooks. He says Democrats are losing touch with America because, quote, “The party is led by insular liberals from big cities and the coasts, who neither understand nor sympathize with moderates. They have their own cherry-picking pollsters, their own media and activist cocoon, their own plans to lavishly spend borrowed money to buy votes.” He goes on to say that you have, basically, been co-opted by Nancy Pelosi. And you’ve differed to the, what he calls, old bulls on Capitol Hill.

President Obama: This was a really aggressive-[laughter]

Katie Couric: On issue after issue. [laughter] There was a pretty…

President Obama: Are we going to read the whole column here? [laughter]

Katie Couric: No, I’m not going to read – I’m not going to put you through that. But it was it was a tough column. And I’m just curious, A, have you read it? And, B, what’s your response?

President Obama: I, you know, I don’t spend a lot of time reading columns, Katie. The fact is that I am confident in the work that we’re doing.

Gee, could it be that chief executives actually have important jobs to do that preclude them from spending a lot of time reading newspapers? (Judging from circulation numbers these days, they’re not the only ones).

Obama’s supporters who made a big deal out of Bush and Palin saying basically the same thing owe some serious apologies. But of course, they were just point-scoring; nobody apologizes for doing that.

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