If Obama had given today’s press conference four weeks ago, he might be in far less hot water than he’s currently in. But stepping up to the teleprompter 38 days after the initial spill, with all the intervening time and press coverage of the event, and asserting that he’s been on top of it like white on rice since Day One comes across very much like historical revisionism from the department of C.Y.A.
The press, to the extent they do their jobs, should be able to easily go back through the chronology of the last five weeks and find plenty of gaping holes in Obama’s claim of instant, constant, and urgent engagement on behalf of the White House and his administration. Obama said he’d leave the Katrina comparisons to the media which, given the skepticism expressed by some of the questions by reporters, is something he might live to regret.
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Two other problems with the press conference, one factual and one stylistic. The first: it came across as contradictory for Obama – again, for a man who claims to be waking up and going to bed thinking about nothing else – to be so uninformed about the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of Elizabeth Birnbaum, the director of MMS. I saw the news hit the wire just before the press conference and assumed, probably like most people, that it was a coordinated, preemptive piece of PR by the White House. But that’s not how it appeared when the President told reporters he learned about it this morning and wasn’t aware of the circumstances surrounding her departure.
Read More: by Tom Bevan, Real Clear Politics