It took weeks of highly-publicized media criticism of President Barack Obama to finally get him to agree to do a second White House Press Corps press conference question-and-answer session in 2012. The media has had an extremely vocal and intensely growing concerned-criticism about Obama’s refusal to talk to the major news outlets. While the President has been continually appearing on television and radio programs that are considered to be extremely “light media”, he has been avoiding any and all media outlets that would ask the difficult questions about policies including the present troubled economy.
On Monday, Obama stood cautiously before the White House Press Corps and fielded a variety of questions on the current presidential campaign, domestic and foreign affairs, as well as jobs and the economy. While the President spoke, one couldn’t help but notice how he livened up when the questions were about the presidential campaign and GOP presidential candidate-to-be Mitt Romney.
He chose to give long responses to questions in which he could one-sidedly promote himself for the November 6 election. As one could expect of the president when given the opportunity by the line of questioning, he took every possible opportunity to turn the press conference into a campaign speech. A straight-forward question about Obama’s continual negative campaigning throughout the current election cycle only got Obama to claim that he is keeping the campaign on the issues but, says Obama, his opponent is not. With a straight face, Obama actually said, “We don’t go out of bounds.” This, naturally, makes one wonder where Obama puts the boundary line of decent campaigning. He puts the entire blame of the highly publicized negative ads on the Obama Super PACs almost as if he thinks the American public hasn’t seen his other ads – or hasn’t heard his ongoing verbal assaults on Romney and now Ryan.
Additionally, in response to questions about Romney’s taxes, with a straight face Obama actually said, “If you want to be president of the United States, then your life’s an open book…” He went on to say that this is the way he is – transparent to the max – when the truth is that Obama has an extensive laundry list of protected and unreleased files that he will never let the American public see. And he knows it.
Why just one reporter in that room of supposed-media giants didn’t have the guts to ask about his academic records at that point during the press conference is not only unknown but is totally inexcusable as well. It’s pathetic that Obama wasn’t asked the tough questions when the press corps finally had him in a press conference.
Obama should have stayed on-topic and said that he believes Romney should release more tax returns if that’s what he honestly believes. But to start preaching that a president should be totally transparent – and claim that he is – is going way out of bounds regarding honesty. Obama’s life has not been an open book – as everyone knows.
Obama also referred to Romney’s deceased father a couple of times. He did this because George Romney released at least ten years of taxes when he ran for president decades ago. Could you imagine the outcry if Romney continually referred to stories surrounding President Obama’s deceased father during campaign speeches or press conferences? One can’t even imagine the backlash there would be for Romney.
The White House Press Corps members finally got the White House Press Conference they’ve been shouting for. And they only have themselves to blame for letting Obama turn much of it into a campaign speech by the questions they did and didn’t ask.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.