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First tough presser question rattles Obama

Tough questions take toll on Obama vision and press patience

[This blog was inspired by an excellent comment in Walter Todd Huston's excellent column.]

Originally published with complete transcript at The Minority Report.

The Drive-By Media will not suddenly become critics of President-Elect Barack Obama, like they did with President Jimmy Carter (some of the anti-Southern bigotry was vile), but, they will slowly turn on him due to how he reacts to any semi-tough question from their kind trying to actually do their job.

The most recent case in point was from Ed Henry of CNN, that dared question what “change” is reflected by a bunch of Clinton retreads. Will Ed the Reporter get “plumbed” like Joe the Plumber, the last citizen to dare question the wisdom and veracity of the President-Elect?

And then there is the “vision” (Shouldn’t the one with the vision defer to others for the acknowledging of same?) arrogance he fell into after being backed into a corner:

OBAMA: But I understand where the — the vision for change comes from first and foremost. It comes from ME. That’s my job, is to provide a vision in terms of where we are going and to make sure then that my team is implementing it.

This followed major dissembling after the first question.

El Rushbo reports (subscription required):

El Rushbo:

This is the question that got Obama all testy.

HENRY: Sir, you talked about John McCain was going to come back to Washington if he won and would just move people into different chairs. We got Tom Daschle, Hillary Clinton, Bob Gates –

OBAMA: Wait, wait, wait! Hold on! Ho’don! Wait a minute! Hold it. You hear that? First of all, that’s not the topic. We’re not talking about my cabinet because I haven’t made those appointments yet.

HENRY: We’re talking about Paul Volcker. He’s been around a long time, so he’s somebody who knows the ways of Washington. But what do you say, you know, to your supporters who were looking for change?

OBAMA: Actually Paul Volcker hasn’t been in Washington for quite some time. Uhhh, and that’s part of the reason he can provide a fresh perspective. Austan Goolsbee, uh, from my understanding, you’ve never worked in Washington.

GOOLSBEE: Been on vacation.

OBAMA: This is about as fresh a face as you can get.

RUSH: So you see, that’s not the topic, you can’t ask me about that. That’s not the topic. This isn’t Open Line Friday. This is not the Rush Limbaugh show where you get to ask the host anything you want. You’re going to stay on topic or you’re never going to get back in here wait, wait, wait, wait, wait hold on hold on hold on hold on wait, wait, wait, you hear that? See, he was looking for sympathy from others in the press corps. You hear that? You hear his question? You hear how unfair this is?

Now, a couple observations. Look, I’m not trying to nitpick, but I need to set this up because of the bite that’s coming next. This sound bite and throughout this whole press conference, other than when he lost his cool with whoever this reporter was, “That’s not the topic! Not the topic! We’re not talking about my cabinet.”

And eventually he did go — let me see if we have that bite. Yeah, I think we’ve got the bite. I just got this and I haven’t had a chance to read the transcript, but he did go on and answer the question, and it was lame. It was a lame answer.

He said, “How can you expect me to have new faces? I mean all these people are from the last Democrat administration, that happens to be the Clinton administration. I have to get people in here who know what they’re doing.” So he really fumbled the answer, and I’m being told it is Ed Henry. Ed went in there in a disguise, I guarantee you, because he wants to be let back in.

And then there is the vision (Shouldn’t the one with the vision defer to others for the acknowledging of same?) arrogance he fell into after being backed into a corner:

OBAMA: When it comes to the people that we’ve pulled together — because I know this has been sort of conventional wisdom floating around Washington, uh, that, well, you know, there’s a recycling of, uh, people who were in the Clinton administration, although Paul dates before that –

RUSH: Listen, now.

OBAMA: — the last Democratic administration that we had was the Clinton administration.

RUSH: Yeah?

OBAMA: And so it would be surprising if I selected a Treasury secretary who had had no connection with the last Democratic administration because that would mean that the person had no experience in Washington whatsoever.

RUSH: What?

OBAMA: And I suspect that you would be troubled and the American people would be troubled if I selected a Treasury secretary or a chairman of the National Economic Council at one of the most critical economic times in our history who had no experience in government whatsoever.

RUSH: Now, this is awfully sly, but how many hundreds of thousands of people are there in government that he could have chosen that are brainiacs that might have some decent ideas that have no ties to the Clinton administration? They’re all over the place.

This answer is so lame. “Where else am I going to get my staff. I’ve gotta raid the only Democrat administration we’ve had in the last 20 years, where am I going to get my staff?” Then there’s this, and this is even better. This is even more telling, because here Obama tells us what his role in all this is going to be.

OBAMA: What we are going to do is combine experience with fresh thinking.

RUSH: Yeah?

OBAMA: But I understand where the — the vision for change comes from first and foremost. It comes from ME. That’s my job, is to provide a vision in terms of where we are going and to make sure then that my team is implementing it. I think when you ultimately look at what this advisory board looks like you’ll say this is a cross section of opinion, uh, that in some ways, uh, reinforces conventional wisdom, in some ways breaks it orthodoxy in all sorts of ways, and that’s the kind of discussion that we’re going to want.

We want ideas from everybody. What I don’t want to do is to somehow, uh, suggest that because you served in the last Democratic administration, that you’re somehow, uh, barred from serving, uh, again, because we need people who are going to be able to hit the ground running.

RUSH: All right, so he finally gets a tough question, and he’s flailing around. If you listen to his answer, he’s flailing around all over the place.

If you have a subscription to Rush 24/7, you can read and listen to the whole thing here.

The President-Elect is great at making set speeches and got competent over time in debates with much practice, but he is a disaster taking press conference questions. Looks like a punk kid that got appointed two levels above his pay grade.

Mike DeVine’s Examiner.com and Charlotte Observer columns.

“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson

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