Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Obama sparks conversation

By Carol Gee

Everybody has an idea about how President Obama is doing now that he is 60+ days into his presidency. "He's doing to much. He's not moving fast enough. He shouldn't be laughing during such times. He says one thing and does another. He is overexposed in the media, etc., etc." Today's post talks about last night's prime time news conference media fallout. It says a bit about the president's upcoming trip abroad, and it concludes with conversation about citizen involvement in the political process and in the community.

The Chattering Class includes White House correspondents -- President Obama held his second formal news conference Tuesday night. When MSNBC's Chuck Todd asked the President why he hadn't asked the American people to make more sacrifices, President Obama (to paraphrase) pointed out that a lot of people are making great sacrifices due the the severity of the current economic crisis.

The Chattering Class regarding Obama's news conference -- All the beltway pundits are weighing in with judgments about how it went in my morning's e-mailed newsletters.

  • Snark -- John Harris and Jonathan Martin at were particularly edgy and unfavorable in their presumptuous theater critic style piece, "What Obama said and what he meant." The piece fell rather short of its "cute and clever" mark. It came of as "bent out of shape." I'll quote a few examples:

    Obama fluently answered the questions, sometimes at considerable length. But his responses were typically variations on a single-word theme: Whatever.

    . . . Most of all, he’s entirely comfortable with his bet that he and the country can worry about certain inconvenient facts—like a 10-year deficit total of $9.3 trillion under his plan — some time later. . .

    [concluding with] ON DEFENSE SPENDING.

    What he said: “Kevin Baron, Stars and Stripes. Is Kevin here? There you go.”

    What he meant: You have to admit, I am clever. I get to call on a reporter who is not from one of the big news organizations, whose subject is going to be easy to predict, and whose question I can answer by pointing out that I want to improve health care for veterans.

    Obama also told Baron he supports reforming military procurement policies, a bipartisan goal, but acknowledged it is hard to do.

    He also called on reporters from other niche outlets, such as the Hispanic network Univision, while stiffing reporters from the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.

  • Straight -- Contrast the snarky tone of the Politico article with that of Adriel Bettelheim at Congressional Quarterly/Politics. To quote from the article "Obama's Push for Patience and Faith in his Goals":

    . . . Obama has embarked on a publicity blitz that included recent appearances on “The Tonight Show” and “60 Minutes” and continued Tuesday night with his hourlong session in the East Room with reporters.

    “We will recover from this recession. But it will take time, it will take patience, and it will take an understanding that when we all work together, when each of us looks beyond our own short-term interests to the wider set of obligations we have to each other — that’s when we succeed,” Obama said in his opening remarks.

    . . . The appearances also could mobilize public if not business support for expanded regulation of hedge funds and non-bank financial companies that Obama is expected to push at the Group of 20 economic summit in London early next month.

The Advocates regarding the President's upcoming trip to the G-20 --

Leaders of the world's largest economies will get together in London in a few days. Josh Peck of wants President Obama to exercise his influence over other world leaders to include the poorest nations in their solutions to the financial crisis. And he wants us to join in the effort. To quote:

Please advocate for the resources, reform, and regulation that developing countries need to weather the financial crisis. Please sign the petition.

The President said at his news conference that he wanted us to keep up with what is going on in our government. We should work to stay informed and to stay involved by letting the government know our opinions about issues. We are encouraged to continue the conversation by raising our citizen voices. One way to do that is through the Pledge Project at Organizing for America, the old Obama campaign organization now housed at the Democratic National Committee. Michelle Obama has already "set an example at the nation's table and beyond," reports Christy Hardin Smith of Firedoglake. At Democracy for America, Howard Dean returns to celebrate the March 25 anniversary of the founding of his community action organization.

Congress is doing its part to encourage community action. They are currently working on legislation that expands community service opportunities. The House passed the "GIVE Act" that rewards young people with education stipends, job training and more. The Senate will soon take up its version, the "Serve America Act." Heather Smith is at Rock the Vote. She encourages us to speak up for passage of the measure: We need the Senate to pass the Serve America Act, the boldest service legislation in 70 years.

Additional Advocacy Resources:

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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  • There has been an insane amount of pointless chattering about last night's presser. And, the predictably sad part is, that all that prattling about is meaningless. Talk about the prompter, what he said but what he REALLY meant. There's even a piece on that has a 4 second video clip of Rham getting a message on his blackberry and the RedStaters are claiming it someone saying to "Obama is tanking it". And the unblushingly blatant spin from Fox was too much to take in.

    By Blogger aironlater, at 4:45 PM  

  • It must be just awful to be voted out, tuned out, passed by, irrelevant and out of power. But isn't it delicious to be on the other side, after 8 years in the wilderness.
    Thanks for your addition to this piece.

    By Blogger Carol Gee, at 5:05 PM  

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