Obama Presser: Chuck Todd Wins, Jessica Yellin Loses


You would think that after eight months, the media would be loaded for bear when the opportunity finally arose to ask President Obama serious questions about something other than a campaign — especially in the wake of Libya, an anemic economic recovery, and the oncoming fiscal cliff.

You would think the media would want some — no — would demand some answers as to why for two whole weeks we were told Libya was the result of a video as opposed to a premeditated terror attack.

But if you think that, you don’t understand our media.

A few questions were asked about Libya — but really only two. One Libya question was really about the President’s willingness to stand by and support U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice after Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham’s said today they would oppose her being nominated for Secretary of State. Many, including myself, believe Rice was willingly trotted out on all the Sunday shows a week after the September 11 anniversary attack to lie about Libya not being premeditated.

To this question, Obama replied forcefully, challenging McCain and Graham to come after him instead of Rice. In other words, like he did during the debates, Obama used faux indignation as a defense against his dishonest mishandling of Libya, because this is something he knows his media pals will eat up. And eat it up they have.

The other Libya question came from Fox News’s Ed Henry, but it was the kind of question Henry should’ve known Obama would avoid answering using “the ole ongoing investigation ploy.”

We also had questions about a Unicorn named Climate Change; a question on immigration, Syria, and a couple about the fiscal cliff.

The low point was CNN’s Jessica Yellin asking Obama if he would “cave” again on increasing taxes for the rich. If you remember, a couple of years ago, Obama agreed to extend all the Bush tax cuts because he thought then that raising taxes in a slow-growth economy was a bad idea. But things are different now, the President assured us.

In Yellin’s partisan mind, though, that bipartisan compromise was a “cave.”

Side note: Two years ago, when Obama refused to raise taxes on the rich because the economy was still struggling, the GDP was 2.0%.

Today the GDP is, uhm, 2.0%.

But our genius media never thought to follow up on that.

To his credit, NBC’s Chuck Todd was the only person who framed his question and drilled down in a way that passed the test for what achieves the mark of success at one of these affairs — we actually learned something new. In so many words, Todd asked the President if raising tax “rates” on the wealthy was a line in the sand in his negotiations with congressional Republicans.

In so many words, Obama said it wasn’t.

That was news.

Other than that, on immigration, taxes, Syria, Global Warming, and, unfortunately, Libya, we didn’t learn anything new. No one tried to surprise the President with questions he might be unprepared for. Many asked questions — on immigration, Syria, Global warming — that have already been answered in other forums and through White House statements. One reportorial genius thought it was a good use of today’s time to ask the Presdient if he would meet with Mitt Romney.

Watching Obama come close to losing his cool defending Rice was interesting, and it’s already obvious that it will be the highlight over the next couple of days, but that he supports his longtime friend simply isn’t news.

Remember a hundred years ago during the 2012 campaign when the media was caught on audio conspiring to ask questions about Libya in a way that ensured the question was answered? But that was Romney, not The One.



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