Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Being a Pundit, Newscaster and Analyst VI

While watching President Obama's press conference yesterday evening, I was struck by his customary calm and thoughtful responses. I was also, as many others, struck immediately by the tone of Ed Henry's question, let alone the question itself, even outright bringing the President's daughters directly into the conversation.

In a two-part question about New York Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, Ed Henry, CNN's Washington Correspondent, questioned whether President Obama's reaction to the AIG bonuses was feigned or not, and asked why the Office of the President was doing nothing while Attorney General Cuomo's office was doing all the work. The question to me was bordering disrespectful, but if asked another way without the reference to his daughters, perhaps not.

The President responded calmly as is his nature. "Of course I do, Ed," President Obama replied. "Which is why we're doing everything we can to reduce that deficit. . . ." "This is hard," he added, especially as he was given a 1.3 trillion dollar yearly deficit. The President also spoke of the need to reduce health care cost and reform education. But this was not enough for Henry, as he appeared to be on a mission to either look smart, get a rise, or openly shame the President.

Since President Obama did not respond verbally to Henry's earlier question that pitted the Office of the President against the Office of the Attorney General of New York, Henry pressed the issue. Although the President did not respond verbally, there was definitely a slight dismissive smile. But Henry would not be denied. He would leave there with the answer he wanted or his achieved intention.

Henry pressed the issue, asking why the President waited so long to respond to which he was promptly put in his place: "It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak," he replied, with a look of steal that quickly dissolved as he called upon the next questioner. There was laughter among the reporters. The long shot of Henry shortly after the exchange revealed a somewhat dejected reporter. I suppose he will not try that tactic again--at least not with this President.


allen said...

Ed Henry seemed to want to ride the wave of bonus outrage.
The Attorney General of New York can afford to get Wall Street angry at him and it also raises his political profile.
The President can't get Wall Street too angry because he needs them to help with the economy.

judith ellis said...

Great point, allen.