The Crest of the Obama Wave Posted by: Dale Franks
on Monday, March 03, 2008
Barack Obama, for most of this election cycle, has gotten a pass from the press corps, when it comes to hard questions. So much so that even the Saturday Night Live crew started to ridicule the press in their now-famous sketch from last week, which had membersof the media asking him such tough questions as, "Are you comfortable?" and "Can I get you anything?" and "Are you mad at me?"
There've been two reasons for this, I think, both of which are understandable. First, after winning in Iowa, the campaign for the Democratic nomination began to look like a horse race. And reporters love a horse race. It makes for better TV, it's a story that's easy for viewers to understand, and it's easier to report on, and a lot more fun to report on, compared to the drudgery of combing through the proceedings of the Illinois legislature, back issues of the Chicago Tribune and the like. Second, it's hard to ask tough questions about a platform that consists of having the audacity to hope for change. And Sen. Obama hasn't provided many details of his proposals to dissect.
Led by the Chicago press corps that has covered Obama for years, the candidate today faced a barrage of questions in what turned out to be a contentious news conference.
Questions centered on why his campaign had denied that a meeting occurred between his chief economic advisor and Canadian officials as well as questions on his relationship with Tony Rezko, a Chicago land developer and fast food magnate, now on trial for corruption charges.
...When did the meeting take place? Why did the Canadian officials reach out? Did Goolsbee not come forward right away and admit the meeting to Campaign Manager David Plouffe and Obama when both denied it last week? These are questions that went unanswered as the press conference was cut short.
Much of the back and forth, though, between reporters and Obama was about his relationship with Tony Rezko, with reporters demanding to know why new details were emerging from the case though Obama and his staff had claimed they had been forthright with all the details.
...A third reporter followed, asking Obama why information about fundraisers or other details had not been answered by the campaign. He raised the issue of how details were emerging in the case, like the fact that Obama and Rezko had toured the property that resulted in the questionable land deal between the two men.
...Toward the end of the press conference, the question of Goolsbee's meeting was raised again. Obama answered curtly and then walked out after a staffer called last question. The press erupted with shouts, but Obama continued to walk out.
...On the flight from San Antonio to Dallas, Obama, unsurprisingly, did not wander back to make small talk with the traveling press corps.
Maybe walking out works in Chicago. But this isn't the same game. It's not the same league. "It ain't even the same f***ing sport."
Having the controversy heat up just days before a make or break election for his opponent is interesting timing too.
Will it turn out to be unfortunate timing?
Tune in tomorrow to BlogTalkRadio for our live election returns call-in podcast.
The thing is that the criticism is probably only coming because there are elements still sympathetic to Hillary. I wouldn’t be surprised if favors were called in asking for them to actually ask some real questions for a change.
But once its final, the candidate will have the full lock-step support of the media.