How Obama plays the pundits


Michael Calderone, Politico


Barack Obama 5 SCWhen New York Times columnist David Brooks accused the White House last week of “shaking confidence with its hyperactivity,” no fewer than four senior administration officials reached out to explain — ever so politely — how he was wrong.

Overkill? Maybe. But it’s what journalists have come to expect from an administration that’s trying much harder than its predecessor did to influence inside-the-Beltway opinion makers.

President Barack Obama dined with conservative columnists at George Will’s house even before he took the oath of office, and he continues to work the refs now. After a 35-minute interview with the Times White House team last week, the president called back to quibble with a question he’d been asked and to elaborate on the answer he’d given.

The communications team for President George W. Bush would have been much more likely to let the initial response stand and then blast the Times after publication — all the better for fanning the passions of a political base deeply distrustful of the mainstream media.


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