Had TV on as I was having breakfast and soon heard the president come on for his press conference, so I kept it on as I was did my morning blog read/news check. Have scribbled a few notes. My general evaluation is that he’s not doing himself any favors. He seems incredibly defensive and eager to attack the political opposition.
Now, maybe he’s smiling when I’ve been looking at my computer, but whenever I look up, he looks angry and grim and has not been smiling. Don’t think he’ll win much favor among the American people who are watching today. That said, maybe he scheduled a morning press conference when most people are at work (those who still have jobs).
(There, he smiles in response to question whether or not this is a “second stimulus.”)
Seems bound and determined to set himself against his predecessor and the GOP. And he keeps repeating the same clichés he’s been repeating since the campaign — almost as if he’s still on the campaign trail.
UPDATE: Is it just me or when Chuck Todd asked him about changing Washington, he didn’t identify any specific things he did,* but did use the occasion to attack Republicans. (Will [try to] review the transcript when it’s made available.)
UP-UPDATE: Kudos to Obama now for praising W for the way he responded to 9/11, saying that that good Republican was “crystal clear” in saying that this was not a war against Muslims.* [Goes against “conventional wisdom” of many on the left about Bush–wonder why it was at pains to defend that much maligned man.] For all the defensiveness of this press conference, he has handled this question about the supposed upsurge in animosity against Muslims in a pretty presidential way (would be more presidential if he steered clear of the first person singular pronoun).
UP-UP-UPDATE: His responses seems rambling and disjointed with a lot of empty rhetoric and a paucity of specifics.
Huh, what critics of Obamacare are praising the smooth implementation of the overhaul?
CONCLUDING THOUGHT: Given how much is going on in my life right, I doubt I’ll have time to review the entire transcript as I’d like. I’ll just say that whatever he was trying to accomplish, he didn’t do it with this conference. He didn’t inspire much confidence, rambled when he should have offered succinct responses. It seemed one of is advisors told him he had to do this, but he didn’t want to. That reluctance showed. Was, as per the title of this post, more defensive than confident. Don’t think this will change many minds, nor rally people to his party or reverse his poll numbers.
NB: As I offered my concluding thought, I re-read the entire post and cleaned up some of the language.
*In reading David Freddoso’s post on the conference, he included the relevant section of the transcript. To be sure the president did indicate the specifics of some of the legislation, but did not identify specific ways he’s changed the culture of Washington.
SIDE NOTE: I wonder if he’s even conscious of how his repeated attacks on Republicans undermine the essence of the change he promised in his campaign. As the aforementioned fetching blogger quips, “Why is Washington still dominated by finger-pointing? It’s all THEIR fault!”
*From the White House transcript:
One of the things that I most admired about President Bush was after 9/11, him being crystal-clear about the fact that we were not at war with Islam. We were at war with terrorists and murderers who had perverted Islam, had stolen its banner to carry out their outrageous acts. And I was so proud of the country rallying around that idea, that notion that we are not going to be divided by religion; we’re not going to be divided by ethnicity. We are all Americans. We stand together against those who would try to do us harm.
Now, when people attack W for waging a war against Islam, we can use his successor’s word to help defend that good man.