As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama Abolishes the Press Conference

President Obama has held just one full length, multi-topic, solo press conference in the last six months, effectively abolishing the most accessible venue for American citizens to observe the thinking and learn the views of their leader.

It’s May, and the president has stood for only a single such news conference this year, a March 6 event in the briefing room. He’s had only three since last June, counting a November press conference in Hawaii that was supposed to be devoted to the just-held Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit but which veered off into other issues.

Nor does Obama generally allow questioning during brief appearances at the White House, such as when he makes statements with foreign leaders. Previous presidents, including George W. Bush, routinely took a couple of questions on the topic of the day at such gatherings.

Obama doing what he loves best at a press conference.

Bush also held fewer press conferences than he should have. But this doesn’t excuse Obama, who would seem especially obligated to appear before the press given his pledges to maintain an “openness” administration.

Instead, the White House does its best to control access to Obama, presenting him to local and sometimes national reporters in “one-on-one” settings.

While these sessions occasionally do make news, they are poor substitute for formal press conferences. The local reporters are often not as well versed in the subtleties of national and international news as White House reporters and are more likely to be intimidated when suddenly finding themselves sitting in the White House interviewing the president.

And whether local or national reporters, those granted one-on-one interviews often aren’t given much time to probe – particularly with Obama’s longish answers – and so are incentivized to stick to their few prepared questions and “get them in” before time runs out. And a special invitation to interview the president is such a coveted coup for any news organization that there is enormous incentive to tread lightly for fear of never being invited back again while watching your competitors be welcomed instead.

And of course, the audience for each of these sessions is limited.

Press conferences are extraordinarily important for several reasons. A number of questions are asked on different topics. The pressure of being on national TV forces the president to explain his thinking. The public gets to actually see the president think and understand how he comes to his conclusions, an invaluable public service.

What’s more, the prospect of a press conference forces the White House to think through its own views. Everybody in the West Wing, including the president, has to stop and consider just what they are doing and why. Often the agencies are mined for answers about current policies so that White House aides can prepare the president, giving the West Wing valuable feedback about what’s going on.

Of course, Obama has switched almost fully from governing to campaigning. So maybe the need for a West Wing gut check has declined, since policy is mostly being made not in Washington but in Chicago. The home, of course, of the Obama 2012 campaign.

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659 Responses to Obama Abolishes the Press Conference

  1. Wrong Course America…Wrong Course! America and her iPublic programming and blogging was blind to the hiding in plain sight Monster being created to control them. Keep tweeting your selfish little ego blurbs to all of your fans, keep posting your pics and info to the wall. Your govenrment has lost the representative spirit of it’s founding fathers to the punch drunk power grab of post 911. Both sides are playing the game. You are the pieces, And, You will get the bill, your children will get the bill, your grandchildren will get the bill. Never ending and less freedom in the process because of downsizing and personal sacrafice. At the current rate your government is Representing You this bill will never be paid. We are ONLY paying the interest currently!!! Wake up…..

  2. He promised the most transparent government in history. Another of many lies. We should point out every lie. Why is this the first I have heard of this? Oh, the lamestream media!

  3. Of course, it’s all Bush’s fault.

    The bottom line is Obama would hold more press conferences if the reporters wouldn’t ask him so many pesky questions.

  4. When the President gets one hour puff pieces with Brian Williams (scripted and choreographed), why run the risk of a reporter accidentally swerving into journalism and asking a tough question? Nov. 6th we ditch, “Hype and Blame!”

    • Outstanding! Obama has NO record that he can show that has made anything better for Americans. He has to rely on the favorable press he gets from the NY liberal media, such as NBC, to defend him and help him win like they did in 2008.

  5. When the President gets one hour puff pieces with Brian Williams (scripted and choreographed), why run the risk of a reporter accidentally swerving into journalism and asking a tough question? Nov. 6th we ditch, “Hype and Blame!”

  6. Our great orator in chief is exposed for the blithering idiot and liar he is when answering questions without his teleprompter and handlers writing the answers.

  7. Well… it’s probably for the best, he just lies about everything anyway. He probably would have a Q & A every day if he could figure out a way to have his rote answers pop up on a teleprompter for him to read in his oh so annoying style of oratory. There are very few politicians who are as dishonest as Obama.

    • You also find his oratory skills annoying? I can’t stand to hear Oblamer speak or watch him as he rolls his head from side to side reading his teleprompter. His cadence, insincere delivery and arrogant narcissism are so annoying, I always have to change the channel. It’s all about “I, me, my” and then it’s blame/ridicule/mockery followed by empty promises with some lame slogans interjected along the way. His sing-songy delivery is too much to listen to. I’ll be so happy when he’s out of OUR WH!

      • Amen! That funny looking little man is annoying to listen to as well. Since that funny looking little mongrel and his fat wife (and mother-in-law) enjoy traveling so much, they should enjoy Chicago. Time to pack them up and send them..err..back to Chicago.

        ANYONE else would be better. Time for Romney to man up and start sounding Presidential (although not “presidential” like the big O), if he is to overtake him. However at this point, one would think Romney would only need to have a pulse and be breathing in order to kick his you-know-what in the polls.

  8. Obama’s anti-American rule has no other choice but to concentrate now on the buying of votes from the masses with promises he cannot and shall not keep. It worked the first time around, didn’t it? Wouldn’t surprise me a bit if it didn’t work again!

  9. What! You mean we don’t have to listen to the WH Steno pool lob hard hitting questions like Whats your favorite vacation spot? or Just exactly how awesome are you?

    Dang.

  10. Isn’t this the fault of the press corps? Aren’t they allowing themselves to be manipulated by the White House? If they stood their ground and supported news organizations that were being shunned they might have a little more access. I think their is a total failure of the press in this country.

  11. The man is vapid, dumb and cannot function without prepared statements and a tele-prompter. He’s an unmitigated disgrace.

  12. I think your last paragraph shows the perfect reason why Obama might avoid press conferences right now. Do you think he could hold a press conference about legitimate issues and not be accused by Republicans of doing it only as a campaign strategy?

    Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.

    • So Obama is just a hapless tool of the Republicans? Figures – that’s the essence of his foreign policy, why shouldn’t it be reflected in his domestic politics?

    • Well, holding a presser in the White House CERTAINLY is a more cost effective Obama campaign stop for the American taxpayer than flying Dear Leader 14,000 miles to Kabul for a one anniversary ObL football spike. Certainly safer for the Afghanis as well (how many suicide bombs went off after he left?)

      “Ahhhh, ummmm, aaaaa uhhhhm,” Face it, Duh Won can’t communicate off TOTUS.

    • Oblamer might try holding a presser on ‘legitimate issues’ and not turn it into a campaign event and see how that goes. All he does is campaign!! Even if it includes some ‘legitimate issues’ it always evolves into how great he is, how bad the Repubs are and what miracles he’s going to perform if only we’ll re-elect him. Shame on those who are allowing themselves to be fooled twice.

  13. The President suspended press conferences about 6 months after he took office because he was caught in so many apparent contradictions (lies). Since then, it’s been a highly controlled, rehearsed (or at least planned) show for the huddled masses so they could admire his celebrity. It would be interesting to compare the number of press conferences he’s had compared to the number of vacations.

  14. It’s kind of like Obama’s avoiding “Question Time,” that wonderful tradition they have in the UK, where the house of commons gets to pepper the PM with verbal barbs, upstart queries and general jeers – All PMs have to be decent at it, to be able to respond on their feet in the moment – our Commander in Chief might learn a thing or two from our cousins across the pond.

  15. Dictators give press access to their person when they deign.

    Get used to it.

    And arm your person and loved. This is not going to end well.

  16. “Dear Leader” is an adherent for precedent: Kim iL Sung, Mussolini, Karl Marx, for not taking questions, and only appearing before prepared swooning crowds of worshipers.

  17. Wouldn’t it be great if the day after elections in November when Obozo is ousted the media goes the way of the Heaven’s Gate cult and they all take a bye-bye pill. One can only dream…

  18. barry hussein JR. is the worst president ever. Can’t wait for November to un-elect this jug eared clod so he can eat dog and play golf on his own dime.

  19. He has no press conferences because he has no record to defend! Surely that is obvious to only the most liberal reporters who are tied in strongly to the NY liberal press…and he has to rely on that to defend him. Otherwise in real questioning he would be destroyed. Which is also why he is very fearful of the upcoming debate against Romney….and be assured he will try to come up with some reason to not have the debate.

  20. ah, er, ah, uh, er, ah, uh, I, me, my, I , me, my…. I guess it does get embarrassing after a while listening to his answers that make no sense anyway. He is the epitome of an empty suit and Romney will expose that in any debates if Obama agrees to participate. If Obama does participate, I would recommend that the Romney camp insist on radio jamming devices so Obama can’t get outside help.

  21. Probably would like to abolish the debates too. Harry Truman said, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” We need to get Obama out of the kitchen and our lives.

  22. I wondered at this clown on tv daily after he usurped the presidency but now the true Stephen Kings “Thing” has taken visage.

  23. You say the local press might be intimidated, but the national press is covering for him and wouldn’t ask a tough question if their life depended on it…
    Why have press conferences when the press just spews the white house slant anyway??

  24. I think the press need to stop showing up for his “sessions” until he begins to have regular press conferences again!

  25. Having real press conferences where any accredited press member can ask a question might subject the Supreme Leader to reveal his Marxist-Leninist mindset. And this format would embarrass a vacuous mind unable to carry a thought beyond a few platitudinous words without the assistance of a Teleprompter.

    Indeed, Hope and Change has turned into Hype and Blame!

  26. Does this mean Carny is out of a job?

    carny 1 |ˈkärnē|(also carnie or carney )
    noun [ usu. as modifier ] informal
    a carnival or amusement show: a carny atmosphere.
    • a person who works in a carnival or amusement show.

  27. The White House press corps is in the bag for the president and the system. Their questions cover scandals, conventional wisdom and other superficialities – nothing of substance is covered. Dissidents in the U.S. get to question the president about as much as dissidents in China get to question their president.

  28. Any U.S. citizen who still support the inept and incompetent loser, Obama, is either a hypocrite, a liar or a full blown idiot.

    Obama and the entire liberal progressive ideology is a FAILURE.

    And if anyone still supports the FAILED ideology of the left, then they’re idiots.

  29. “observe the thinking and learn the views of their leader”
    No thinking here, Nothing accomplished, Nothing to report on. Move along people…..

  30. Just remember The Chief Bovine Scatologist, is unable to clearly function without his lying teleprompters.
    How could anyone who loves this great country, want to see the royals and their lackeys around for another term. It is time to spray this infestation and let it whither on the vine.