After months of stiffing White House press corps for the more comfortable climes of local reporters, sports broadcasters and entertainment outlets, President Obama this afternoon materialized in the White House briefing room to take questions from reporters.
Obama called off names from a prepared list a journalists that included most of the top news networks and wire services – although not Fox News – spending about a half an hour holding forth.
The president’s appearance was sudden – he interrupted White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s regular briefing – but not wholly unexpected, as rumors had been circulating in the press room that he would appear and photographers were standing at the ready.
Obama joked that “Carney told me that you had been missing me” as he abruptly entered the room.
Pressure has been building for Obama to begin taking interacting with White House reporters since an August 6 White House Dossier article noting that Obama had gone seven weeks without so much as a single substantive question from those who regularly cover him.
The last substantive question Obama had taken from a White House reporter had been during a June 20 press conference following the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. He took one other on August 6, soon after the White House Dossier piece appeared.
Obama has held only one formal White House press conference this year, an appearance last March.
White House reporters were already chortling today that the relatively limited session he staged today, in which he called on no more than half a dozen reporters, will probably have to suffice for months.