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      (Previous: Economy) (Introduction and Table of Contents) We have seen that who gets how much of what is a political decision: that the economy and economics is downstream from politics. Power is the ability to make people do what you want, or not do what you don’t want. Ideology determines what the good life is and power determines who lives it. All politica […]
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Obama finally meets the press. They’re mean.

Barack Obama held a press availability in San Antonio today.It did not go well, and the Gautama Obama was not pleased. Subject matter? Goolsbee, Rezko, Jewish votes. Ended abruptly: “C’mon, guys, I just answered, like, eight questions.”

[UPDATE: Halperin provides transcript ]

Significant play in print and on air tonight. Not the way you want to tee up a key state.

WaPo’s Dana Milbank gives him the business:

It took many months and the mockery of “Saturday Night Live” to make it happen, but the lumbering beast that is the press corps finally roused itself from its slumber Monday and greeted Barack Obama with a menacing growl. … a smiling Obama strode out to a news conference at a veterans facility here. But the grin was quickly replaced by the surprised look of a man bitten by his own dog.

… Obama responded with the classic phrases of a politician in trouble. “That was the information that I had at the time. . . . Those charges are completely unrelated to me. . . . I have said that that was a mistake. . . . The fact pattern remains unchanged.”

When those failed, Obama tried another approach. “We’re running late,” the candidate said, and then he disappeared behind a curtain.

… “The Clinton campaign has been true to its word in employing a ‘kitchen sink’ strategy,” he protested. “There are, what, three or four things a day?”

Spoken like a man who had just been hit on the head with a heavy piece of porcelain.

What’s that they say? Turnabout is fair play?

As we discussed earlier today, the press is not doing this to play fair. They’re doing this to play with their food.

Not a thing to admire, but — under the tactical circumstances — a thing to celebrate.

More from WSJ:

Sen. Barack Obama engaged in one of his more heated press appearances today … Obama argued that [the Canadian NAFTA flap] was part of an attack strategy by rival Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign to gain leverage in Ohio, where Nafta and trade are central issues in the election battle.


Senator Barack Obama might have worn a bee-keeper’s hat as he held a press conference in San Antonio and faced a hornet swarm of questions.


Obama and Carol Marin, political editor at NBC5 in Chicago and columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times, tangled over how up front Obama had been about Rezko. Obama cut off her line of questioning, saying that Marin’s questions were personally motivated.

“Carol, can I just say I have to really dispute this,” Obama said. “It is true that you wanted an individual sit down, but I don’t think that’s fair to speak for the entire Chicago press corps …”

16 Responses

  1. I have a Mona Lisa smile all over my face!

  2. Wow. I need to watch the video of this. I’ve only seen photos and Obama looks pissed! Reading what happened made me think straight to George W. Bush never wanting to answer difficult questions and doing it with a cocky look on his face. Obama better get used to tough questions if he wants to be president. It’s not all about giving great speeches from a teleprompter. This really, really made my evening before going to bed 🙂 Finally the press is going after Obama even if it is two months too late for Clinton. If only SNL was on the air it might have stopped the media bias sooner.

  3. Hadn’t thought of that, DV, but you might be right.

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if the writers’ strike got McCain elected President?

  4. I watched all the videos and he did not do well. According to Fox News, the press was pissed. There was even a discussion of Rezko on Tucker and the conclusion was that Obama is going to have to answer questions soon.

    I hope to God Obama doesn’t get the nomination sewn up before everything really hits the fan. No wonder they are pressuring Hillary to get out. They are just holding back the floodgates.

  5. I’ve been campaigning all day in San Antonio; I write about it here:


    and here:


    It’s weird that he was here; it doesn’t feel like he has any presence.

  6. Boomer – Where do you see best videos?

    riverdaughter – feel free to edit in a clip – you’ve had some practice wrangling vids into wordpress

  7. Boston Boomer: I agree with you that they cannot wait to get Hillary out of this race. It’s the reason why many Obama supporters wanted her to drop out several weeks ago. They’ve been dreading this Rezko trial and have done everything to avoid questions on the matter. They are hoping that they can get Hillary out of the race tomorrow before the Rezko trial gets to Obama and might call him to testify. I think this is so incredibly selfish on Obama’s part. If he has anything to hide, which is obviously the case, then he needs to think about the party and whether it will not only destroy him if this comes out during the general election but make the Democratic Party look like complete fools as we lose to McCain. I understand that all politicians have skeletons in their closet but unfortunately for Obama this Rezko trial is starting during an election year.
    I am really hoping that the people in OH and TX won’t allow this to happen and will give Hillary at least several more weeks in this contest. The press and the media are finally starting to hold Obama accountable and lies are being uncovered everyday from NAFTA to Rezko. I feel that if Clinton can win tomorrow that she has a good chance of winning the nomination. It is no where but down for Obama. I can tell that his aura is starting to fade and he’s beginning to look a lot like any other two-faced establishment politician.

  8. Just played the FOX video with the sound off – the old body language test.

    He looks like he needs somebody in the front row to swoon, so he can revive them with a magic bottle of water.

  9. Grew up near Chicago, lived there until I was in my early 40’s. Scandals like this are fairly common. What makes them interesting is that given Illinois’ convoluted elected official system, anything that comes up ultimately involves loads of elected officials. The trials tend to be a series, each with bigger and bigger fish to catch.

    Some of the questions I have.

    There is the fact that Rezko’s buildings had the gas turned off in the winter. Resulting in no heat. How did the Fire Marshall let this happen? Usually in the winter, the gas company must contact him before turning off service. And the Fire Marshall has the ability to forbid shutting off the heat. Because once the heat is off, people begin using unsafe electric heaters and running the oven with door open. Which has a sad history of causing fires. Plus the mortgage holder has a real interest in not having pipes freeze and break. Which in Chicago, given its sub zero temps for days on end, is a real possibility. This strikes me as so unusual that I can’t help but wonder who was paid to look the other way.

  10. You know, on one level, I don’t want the Rezko stuff to amount to anything because, if Obama does turn out to be the nomine, I don’t want McShame to be able to use it against him (McShame’s own heavy baggage) won’t be held against him by the press, which fawns over him even more than it fawns over Obama).

    On the other hand, what this does appear to illustrate — and I haven’t watched any of the videos — is that Obama really isn’t ready for prime time when it comes to press attacks. Did he really think the honeymoon was going to last until November? If you want to be president, Barack, you’ve got to learn to face the press without saying, in effect, “Hey, guys, remember, it’s me, the Chosen One.”

  11. The Tucker video is interesting. Taylor Marsh has it up now. Apparently Obama is claiming that he and Rezko just happened, totally coincidentally, to have bid on the two properties (his house and the lot beside it) at the same time. How can he expect to get away with that?!

    I also watched the Fox News video of the question and answer session in Texas. Obama was filibustering the questions and then only answered 8 questions. He rushed out before he answered anything specifically. Obama has held very few press availabilities, while Clinton has offered the press much more access. I guess reporters are starting to get pissed about Obama’s unwillingness to talk to them.

    Another interesting video was the debate between Axelrod and
    Wolfson on Stephanopoulos on Sunday.


    Wolfson asks about how many fundraisers Rezko held for Obama. (I heard there was at least one big fundraiser that was kept very hush hush.) Axelrod filibusters without answering a single question.

    None of this stuff is going to work in the general election campaign. I don’t see why the Democratic leadership is letting Obama get away with this crap. Do they really want to lose in November?

  12. BB:I know that the Rezko thing *looks* bad but I suspect that it will turn out like Whitewater. I don’t want to pile on Obama over Rezko. I’d rather get him for NAFTA lies.

  13. rd– I think there are some issues with the house purchase, including the fact that Michele used her influence at City Hall to get the deal through quickly. I also have questions about why Obama and Rezko’s law firm (for which Obama worked for a time) claim not to have known that Rezko’s tenants–in Obama’s district–had no heat or water for extended periods. As for piling on, don’t tell me the Republicans won’t. Obama should be getting it all out in the open now, not after he is the nominee. According to Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times, he has never once talked with reporters who have researched the case and directly answered questions about what happened.

    I think you’re right that, technically, Obama did nothing illegal, but this situation does bring his judgement into question–and his superior judgement is what he keeps touting.

  14. I was surprised by how uncomfortable he seemed.

    If this is tough, 8 questions, wait until the real work starts.


  15. Herb: Yes, the “I’ve already answered 8 questions” would be a real deal breaker for me if I were undecided. This job is tough. Hillary has been dealing with the media for 16 years and suffered through a couple of grand jury sessions as well. It’s not for the candyasses out there. This is serious business. A strong presidential candidate would have taken *all* of the media’s questions calmly. Maybe he could have said, “I only have half an hour before I have to leave. I’ll be happy to answer your questions until then. Submit the rest to my communications director if we run out of time and we will prepare a response.” But to just say eight questions and no more is just asking for trouble.

  16. I would like to say Congratulation Obama…..you cheated, you lied, you had your supporters cheat & lie. Your supporters have tracked & erased all my comments if I meantioned a certain name

    Well I would like to say that I will NOT vote for you even if you put a lady on the ticket, You really are foolish to think THE AMERICAN WOMEN are stupid’ Take a look at me . I am not your wife. I do not believe you now would I ever give you the time of day. Have a nice run, you have to have real votes from people that live in the state to vote for you. How silly your campaign to think we will come together.
    It gets worse every time you or someone you ‘ASSOCIATE” with continue to put Hillary down

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