Did Obama Hold a Presidential Press Conference Just to Hail Jason Collins?
Earlier today, President Obama held a rare press conference. Reporters from Fox, CNN, ABC, CBS and El Pais were among those who took the opportunity to ask the president direct questions. They asked him about the cover-up in Benghazi, the failing implementation of ObamaCare, and other issues including the push for immigration reform.
The president had little actual news to break. On Syria, he said that the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons will not change anything, despite his "game changer" comments last year. The "red line" is evidently more of a suggestion than an actual line. He hinted that he will spend (waste?) 2013 trying again to close Gitmo, and blamed Congress for keeping it open. He said that he didn't want any of the terrorists held there and currently waging hunger strikes to die. This president has drone killed more terrorists even than his predecessor, begging the question why he cares about Gitmo's terrorists so much. He said that stopping and investigating terrorism is "hard stuff," an allowance he never made during the Bush years. He downplayed problems implementing ObamaCare, telling most Americans that they're already experiencing its benefits -- they just don't know it yet. Those higher premiums that millions of Americans are suffering as a direct result of ObamaCare must be myths. In fact, Obama appeared unprepared to answer on Syria, and on Boston, and on ObamaCare. But he was thoroughly prepared and eager to talk about a basketball player.
Through much of the presser Obama seemed peevish. At one point, when ABC's Jonathan Karl asked him if he still had the "juice" to move his agenda after 100 days of failures on sequestration and gun control, Obama delivered a long-winded, wandering and at times angry answer in which he advocated more federal spending to upgrade our airports and seemed to wish he was somewhere else. The entire press conference seemed designed not to break any news on any major issue -- the economy, foreign policy, anything.
Until the very end. After dealing with the final question, on immigration, Obama stepped away but then stepped back to the podium after nearly exiting, to hail former NBA player Jason Collins for coming out as gay. That move, at the end, suggested that the entire press conference was set up so that he could address Collins publicly in front of the whole nation. It was the one thing he offered a definitive answer on.
But he had nothing to say on the most pressing issue facing the nation: Jobs.
The press never asked one question about the Gosnell trial.
The press never asked one question about the economy.
Obama didn't volunteer any answers on those issues, either. Those issues were not what brought him to the bully pulpit.