Politico today has a fairly delicious account on one reporter trying to follow up on something Obama said.
In response to a farmer’s question about the difficulty he was having finding out about possible new regulations, Obama — after complaining about Washington people getting “ginned up” about things coming down the pipe — advises the farmer to “call the USDA”. So the reporter does just that, first as just a citizen and then through the media relations people after identifying himself as a reporter, until he finally gets to the Secretary of Agriculture’s office. After a week of hot potato, he’s got the final answer:
“Secretary Vilsack continues to work closely with members of the Cabinet to help them engage with the agricultural community to ensure that we are separating fact from fiction on regulations because the administration is committed to providing greater certainty for farmers and ranchers. Because the question that was posed did not fall within USDA jurisdiction, it does not provide a fair representation of USDA’s robust efforts to get the right information to our producers throughout the country.”
Pretty good encapsulation, here. It starts with the President making something up to get the uncomfortable question off his plate — passing the buck to the local USDA — and ending with a complaint that it wasn’t fair to write a story about the process because it wasn’t really an USDA question.