Here’s a live log of the questions the media asked after President Obama’s scoldy opening statement regarding four reforms he is proposing to rein in his own domestic surveillance.
First question, Julie Pace of AP — Pace asked Obama about the US-Russian relationship after Putin granted Edward Snowden asylum. Obama manages to work in another statement in favor of gay rights after taking a swing or two at Putin. Oh, and the US won’t boycott the Olympics in Russia. Don’t call Barack Obama another Jimmy Carter!
Second question, Chuck Todd of NBC — Todd asked Obama whether he now thinks Snowden is a patriot, or still a “hacker” as Obama claimed earlier. Todd worked in a second question about relations with Russia, angering Obama. The president did say that he doesn’t think Snowden is a patriot for leaking about programs that the president now says he wants to fix.
Third question, Major Garrett, CBS — Garrett asked about the next Federal Reserve chairman. Not exactly a topic that’s been all the rage in Washington lately. Obama takes the opportunity to defend his potential choices and then bizarrely segues into defending Susan Rice for lying about Benghazi. Obama jokingly tells Garrett that he would defend him from untrue charges. Well, sir, Sen. Harry Reid just blamed opposition to your policies on racism. No one in the media asks him about that.
Fourth question, Carol Lee — Lee says it’s been a “slow news week” despite new revelations on surveillance, the IRS scandal, Weiner, Filner and Benghazi, then asks Obama about his evolution on surveillance issues, noting that he ran against it but now expects the American public to trust him. Obama admits here that some of the things he criticized as a candidate, surprise, turn out to be valuable for national security. Some of us didn’t have to win the presidency to figure that out.
A half hour in, we’ve only had four questions asked, and nothing about the IRS or Benghazi revelations. Bonus: Obama set keyboards a-twitter when he said the word “jigger.”
During one of the president’s filibusters, National Journal’s Ron Fournier asked a good question on Twitter: “Is Obama more concerned about civil liberty issues or the political fallout of leaks (‘dribs and drabs’). From tone of newer, it is latter.” Also, Obama made a weird comparison to NSA snooping and doing the dishes at home.