The White House press room was a jovial place to be in the early days of President Barack Obama’s presidency. But times have changed.

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Back in May, POLITICO analyzed the press briefings and found that the instances of laughter — as indicated by “(Laughter)” being noted in the official transcript — occurred more than 10 times per day during press secretary Robert Gibbs’s briefings.

But the laughter has been reduced by half in recent months: In the first six months of the Obama administration, briefings produced an average of 179 laughs per month. Over the past six months, the average has dropped down to 89.

Chalk it up to the close of any administration’s initial honeymoon — and the Obama administration’s tough second half of 2009, as it wrestled with health care and saw the late Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat filled by a Republican.

“The tone is one reason for less laughter,” says American Urban Radio’s April Ryan. “There are lots of serious questions begging for serious answers. Those questions do not meld with laughter and light banter.”


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Read More: By PATRICK GAVIN, Politico


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