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Obama Has Held One Formal Press Conference This Year

by Keith Koffler on November 1, 2012, 9:25 am

President Obama has held only one extended, formal press conference all year, helping him avoid the toughest questioners he could face but undermining his claim to have maintained an “openness” White House.

Obama’s sole traditional press conference in 2012 was on March 6 in the White House briefing room. While he has taken questions in a few other venues, this is the only time he has appeared at what is generally understood to be a “presidential press conference” – a scheduled, extended session in which he fields questions on a variety of topics.

Obama at an East Room press conference Obama at an extremely rare East Room press conference. Photo by Keith Koffler

Press conferences are a vital format because the public gets a chance to see the president think on his feet – without a teleprompter – and express himself on the issues of the day while being called to account by reporters.

And yet, Obama’s absence from the press conference podium has failed to raise a stir. George W. Bush was sharply criticized when he avoided the national press.

Since appearing before reporters June 20 in Mexico after the G20 Summit to field a mere six questions that focused mostly on foreign affairs, Obama has barely taken any questions at all from the White House press corps, even as he has sat down with local reporters, the ladies of The View, David Letterman, and Jay Leno.

Under pressure to speak with serious national journalists, including from a piece that appeared in White House Dossier, Obama suddenly popped into the briefing room on August 20 to spend twenty minutes with reporters. That was more than two months ago, and since then there’s been nothing.

The current White House press corps is not as aggressive in its questioning of this White House as it was of either the Bush or Clinton White Houses. But White House reporters are still better versed in national issues and more likely to be unafraid to sharply question the president of the United States than local and other types of reporters.

In addition to eschewing press conferences, Obama has all but put an end to the practice of taking questions from reporters at “pool sprays,” which occur when the press is ushered into a room – usually the Oval Office – where Obama has just had a meeting and wants to make some remarks.

Bush and Clinton routinely took questions on the important matters of the day at such moments. Obama almost never does.

Both of Obama’s predecessors also frequently answered queries after delivering brief speeches at the White House in the Rose Garden and other venues.

Obama, almost never.

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Scullman November 1, 2012 at 9:30 am

Five Days.

Keep- Calm- And- Finish- Him.

Michael November 1, 2012 at 9:31 am

No traction on this one. No traction on Benghazi. He is skating home free.

Four years after being elected, we still don’t know who Obama is…but the media was sure up in a titter over Romney’s tax returns and “binders full of women”.

Danceswithtruth November 1, 2012 at 9:39 am

So, Mitt ignores reporters and they have a “hissy fit”.

The President ignores reporters and it’s all good in glory land.

Priorities, I tell ya.

JBH November 1, 2012 at 9:39 am

Although I realize the following comments carry no weight with the powers that be, my son and I were talking last night about what happened, or did not happen, in Libya. He asked me why there were so many unanswered questions and why the story varied so much from one news source to another. We discussed the failings of the press and he understood, but his final question was the most telling. He asked “shouldn’t the president go on TV and tell us what happened and answer questions to let America know the facts”? I could only answer “yes”.

ImNoDhimmi November 1, 2012 at 9:43 am

Your son is smarter than the hacks in the MSM. You must be very proud of him.

Just2old November 1, 2012 at 9:54 am

JBH – Agree with your son. As I’ve explained before; I expected a real leader to speak to us from the Oval Office the evening of 12 Sep. I would have expected that he would explain what happend, who was responsible, and what we’ve done in response. From this political hack: crickets and lies.

ol gator November 1, 2012 at 10:16 am

odumbo has no problem jumping in front of the camera whenever its to HIS advantage… the traits of a leftist strong man !

BTW did ya hear about biden hinting of a run for the WH in 2006?…
they should only let him out when his cage is being cleaned with a short leash only !.. and HE called VP Chaney “the most dangerous VP
in the history of our country”.

Just2old November 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

A heartbeat away my friend…

ol gator November 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm

sorry , meant to say 2016 !

Langley Spook November 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm

its OK, Biden most likely did say “2006″ -LOL

Girly1 November 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

If the moribund press corpse started playing hardball with the community organizer they would be endangering their chances of another 4 years of luxurious travel. Valerie Jarrett has already promised them more travel in her second term. First up – Hawaii next month! They sold their souls.

ArnoldLayne November 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

Check the NYT every day to see if you can find articles critical of the president. Every day, like today, at least a few critical of Romney, are featured.

Julie Brueckheimer November 1, 2012 at 10:28 am

Of all the media the NYT has the most to be ashamed of.

Sadie November 1, 2012 at 11:32 am

The NYT has always been the arm (strike arm insert – Hammer and Sickle of foreign interests). Eighty years ago it should have been shut down for sedition and treason.

Teresa November 1, 2012 at 9:58 am

The WH press “is better versed in national issues and more likely to be unafraid to sharply question the president of the United States than local and other types of reporters,” — sorry, I haven’t seen this the last four years. I would give this statement some credence if the press was loudly complaining about NOT having opportunities to ask questions of the president. It took a young TV reporter in Colorado to stand up and ask the challenging questions. The WH press just offers excuses, excuses, excuses. Every WH reporter should be writing a column about this lack of access — but they either don’t care or are fearful of WH retaliation.

Langley Spook November 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm

…for the last 4 years why has there been a “WH Press Corps”?
They Dont Do Anything! (unless spewing Obama propaganda counts as “journalism/reporting”)

-no offense Mr. Koffler.

gracepmc November 1, 2012 at 10:00 am

Would be nice if we could impeach the press.

MarjoJimbo November 1, 2012 at 10:09 am


blondie November 1, 2012 at 10:10 am

Supposedly Glen Beck has the names of the media outlets that are holding back on the damning emails. Whats he waiting for? Expose them now!!! Does he really think all of a sudden they are going to stop protecting the President?

cincycinco November 1, 2012 at 11:43 am

Would be…until you realized that (a), it wouldn’t mean anything, like with Clinton; and (b), if it DID mean something, you’d have to learn a new phrase:


THAT’S why Obama keeps him around. What an effective way to ensure the consequences of your removal can be dire!

Sadie November 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Would be better if we knew why top ranking Republicans are just as docile as the MSM. If anyone has the time to go over to American Thinker and read the linked article. I realize we’re nearing an election just as we were during the mid-terms. We gained seats in the House of Reps in spite of the GOP and in great part to The Tea Party. The entrenched politicians were not helpful then and they’re not now. Since September 11, 2012, has anyone heard a peep from Boehner or McConnell?

Benghazi Reveals Obama-Islamist Alliance-James Lewis

lc southern November 1, 2012 at 10:10 am

MSM has lost all creditable with viewers. They do no real reporting, don’t ask hard questions. They cover up and hide all of Obamas messes.

Boo November 1, 2012 at 10:13 am

I notice that at the formal, scheduled press conferences he always pulls out a piece of paper with the names of the reporters whose name he will call. Does he also know the questions they will ask?

Susan November 1, 2012 at 10:29 am

Don’t blame the coward in chief for having only one press conference the entire year…blame the presstitutes for allowing it.

“The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses.” ~ Vladimir Lenin

Cooper November 1, 2012 at 10:38 am

Dictators or wanna-be dictators have no need to hold press conferences or to take questions from reporters. Obama only needs the press to sing his praises and cover up his messes. The idiots in the msm have been very obliging.

Not Nabob November 1, 2012 at 10:55 am

He takes no questions because he has no answers. Or w/o TOTUS he is helpless.

wcc November 1, 2012 at 10:58 am

Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why this is true, does it?

RT November 1, 2012 at 11:00 am

Interesting stuff Keith. We can guess, and we do. We can compare, and we do.

The elephant in the room, my question, is this: If, as many state here and across the blogosphere, the MSM and much of the “drink the KoolAid Press Corp” are wildly liberal and always looking after “their cause” (with conspiracy-like frequency), WHY wouldn’t our President be up there on the podium spoon feeding the morons more often?

Not Nabob November 1, 2012 at 11:01 am

Simply put, he would look silly spewing crap from his piehole…

Sadie November 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Why spew from a podium when you can spew from The View.

RT November 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Really? That was enlightening… Thank you.

Not Nabob November 1, 2012 at 11:00 am

Clue from a cartoon crossword puzzle. 69 down : 5 letter word for loser? Obama!

gracepmc November 1, 2012 at 11:05 am

Too funny! While Obama was officially flying over the Jersey shore surveying the damage, Romney supporters sent him a message written in sand. Go Romney!

Sadie November 1, 2012 at 11:46 am

I can almost hear Pat Boone singing ….

♫°•♪.♪♫°•♪♫ Love Letters in the Sand ♫°•♪.♪♫°•♪♫

Loved the photo, too.

srdem65 November 1, 2012 at 11:19 am

Years ago, there was a perception that the “press” was keeping them honest, keeping the politicians from robbing us blind or passing special interest bills behind closed doors, or just misbehaving.
Now, the trust is gone and we don’t believe what they write is the truth, but that it is slanted to make their favorite politician look good and to protect him/her from public outrage. The problem lies with the willingness of the WH press corp to take whatever tidbit is given them by a spokesperson and consider that they’re doing their job by repeating it word for word.
MrTapper and the FOX newsteam can’t do it all by themselves.

The general public sees MrObama on this fluff show or that late-night comedy and they think he’s just being forthcoming and visible, when in fact, he is hiding his true agenda in plain sight.
The rest of us find alternate news sources and do the best we can to figure out who’s telling the truth and who’s spinning it.

Girly1 November 1, 2012 at 11:41 am

Well said, srdem. The MSM is well aware that the ‘general public’ has reached the nadir of intellectual curiosity. For the last 25 years the govt. schools have done a bang-up job of dumbing down America. How else can you explain Obama?

Yesterday, the media was going ga-ga about how ‘Presidential’ Obama appeared when he went to New Jersey. If this is the criteria for greatness, we have a problem, Houston! The cold hard truth is…we do have a problem – the electorate. Tuesday will be the day we get the final diagnosis – life or death. I’m not optimistic.

Langley Spook November 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I need to update my thesis on: “Why America Needs ‘Voter IQ’ Laws”…
you want to “vote” = pass a basic US Civics test. I have even worked some details on the test/ vote procedure itself…)

RT November 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Good one. Invite some of our friends in Canada to benchmark your work. We all know much of the world, let alone our northern friends, seem to know more about USA civics then many who own the right to vote here.

May as well test for gayness, a low Neanderthal brow, character traits that may result in breeding more socialists, etc…

Sign me up!

RT November 1, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Interesting set of observations. Help out here, just what is the Presidents agenda? You state directly he is “hiding his true agenda”.

Please share and thank you in advance for your response.

Star November 1, 2012 at 11:43 am

When he does have a press conference, he filbusters with long, nonresponsive ramblings, though. At least so far as I can remember. If someone did try to drill into Libya, he would just call on someone else after one followup–I bet. I could be wrong.

Get ready for a good unemployment number–Gallup even does their own job numbers now on a rolling basis–heard this on NPR, natch.

Sadie November 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm

You’re not wrong, he just calls up his BFF.
Dec. 10, 2010: President Obama may love the spotlight but he’s no match for Bill Clinton, who finished a joint press conference today. Obama left to meet with Hillary Clinton, who’d been waiting “over half an hour.”

gracepmc November 1, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Bill Clinton no help for Mogadishu. Hillary Clinton no help for Benghazi. What a pair.

Sadie November 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm

The two of them are as useless as t*ts on a bull.

Shofar November 1, 2012 at 12:05 pm

He doesn’t have press conferences because he CANNOT speak on his feet. That was all too apparent with the debates. Had he not been prepped for debates 2 and 3 he would have looked just like he did during debate number 1.

The man has no ability to think in a cohesive, linear fashion, going from point A to B. Unless he is prepped with the exact answer, he gets lost in a ramble of junk, most of which has nothing to do with the question at hand.

Having ADD/ADHD myself, I understand how hard it is for someone to carry on a conversation or answer a question without rambling. However, as POTUS, he has to be able to articulate a linear argument, and not go from point A to D to Q to B.

I have friends that I drive absolutely bat-crap crazy because, as one puts it, “Can’t you just answer the damned question?” NOPE, not without the ramble. It is how my brain works. That’s why I will never run for political office, but it also make it so that I can see things that others do not. And that may well be Obama’s problem. He cannot think linearly, and therefore cannot answer a simple question.

Believe me, I am not defending him in anyway, but it is hard to stay focused like a laser beam on one subject, when your mind is racing ahead to twenty other things.

Ironically, they use stimulants to control ADD/ADHD behavior which could be why he used blow while in school. It may have been the only way he could stay focused for classes and studies. Just some food for thought.

RT November 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Shofar – what a gutsy post. Hats off to you. God Bless.

OK Lady November 1, 2012 at 12:06 pm

And he’s on the TV right now telling me what a good job he’s done and how much better he can be. Well, I think that’s what he’s saying – I have it muted. One hurricane gets to change the whole story? If he’s reelected I will hold the press partly accountable. The other responsibilities will lie with koolaid drinkers and those too lazy to investigate for themselves.
Another four years of him will cause me either to crawl into a hole to live or to drink heavily, and I don’t prefer the latter. I live in a red state so I can’t help much, but if you live in a swing state be sure you vote.

Sadie November 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Here’s the transcript for the March 6, 2012 – All that’s missing is a caption for Keith’s photo.

Langley Spook November 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm

So why the H#ll has there been a (so-called elite) “WH Press Corps” for the last 4 years if they dont report anything or ask the ‘President’ anything?

cindylu November 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm

what is the ‘normal’ amount of press conferences for a president in one year?

gracepmc November 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Romney’s doing a good job with Obama’s ridiculous idea to add a Secretary of Business. Perhaps someone from the press might ask Obama why this is such a great idea–have a problem, add a bureaucrat, expand the role of the fed. Not much chance of the press asking Obama anything of substance but I am pretty sure they will be all over Romney asking for details.

RT November 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm

More or less government gracepmc? The Presidents direct quote.

“We should have one Secretary of Business, instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like giving loans to SBA or helping companies with exports,” Mr. Obama said in an interview that aired Monday on MSNBC. “There should be a one-stop shop.”

Seems like less to me. We should care less about the “title”. We do indeed need less Feds and what is left to be more effective.

gracepmc November 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm

If you believe for one minute that Barack Obama is advocating less government, then, once again, you and I meet on the road to nowhere.

RT November 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm

I just wanted to correct your assertion with “the facts”. Everything else is your opinion, which, may turn out to be the end result, or not… Nonetheless, the facts state that the Presidents desire / objective / stated strategy is to consolidate and streamline. Read the quote.

Help folks out. Separate / distinguish facts from your opinion. It makes all the difference in debate, discourse, or just shooting the sh#%.

“Hey! Look at that streaker over there!” Friend looks, you steal one of friends french fries, friend says “where? “. You say, “ah, just missed her…” Lol…

gracepmc November 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Thank you so much for defining the parameters of my permitted discourse.

RT November 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm

No problem. Facts matter to most.

gracepmc November 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Amazing how the Obama administration can just ignore the law and get away with it.

pearl November 3, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Since the office of President has been empty for nearly 4 years, what does anyone expect? The puppet they installed to wield power lacks the intellect to answer a question without being fed a response. Every time he goes off script, he creates a huge headache for George Soros and the spin team.

John November 4, 2012 at 2:07 am

If the election results are substantially different than what the alphabet national networks have been telling us, then we know Obama has promised change and delivered to us a socialist-totalitarian police state where the media and journalists are under the complete control and financing of the White House. We’ll know this one way or the other on Tuesday. It’s one of the most important “dots” for us to connect.

michael t November 4, 2012 at 7:31 am

The President is all about the President, its that simple. Of course he takes the photo ops as it suits.
Regarding Benghazi, shovel ready jobs and where all the stimulus monies went, a silence descends on him

Man of the people, or for the people ? No. Its all about him and getting re elected.
He is the wrong person for this country, a community lawyer in over his head and not the basic courage to stand aside, while America bleeds.

Marc Schoonover May 17, 2013 at 7:53 am

It’s not just Obama its a general patern, Obama less than W. Bush. W. Bush less than Cinton. Clinton were it not for “Monica” would have had less substantial contact than G.H.W. Bush and so on. I grew up in the Carter & Reagan years back when the president would not only entertain the press almost daily but would be on all three major “T.V.” Networks from time to to time to address all manner of issues. Don’t you get it? With five media companies and fewer and fewer real “investigative” journalists who’s gonna hold not just the presidents feet to the fire but Senators, Congressmen, the Fed Chairman whoever? We have two choices, get involved. Get your news from “Alternative” outlets, call & write your leaders. Or crack open another whatever you drink and watch whatever it is you watch. Gods Speed. Marc Schhoonover Hermosa Beach, CA

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