Drunkblogging Obama's Big Prime-Time Presser
4:19PM Checking in with my practice martini. In a few moments, I'll pour another one and switch on the news. Then, the drunkblogging will begin.
4:30PM Word is, Fox won't be showing the press conference tonight. Their excuse is, their network is in the business of making money. How very '05 of them.
4:42PM Decisions, decisions. CNN means dealing with 20 minutes of Wolf Blitzer before the conference starts. Fox News? Sheppard Smith. MSNBC? Chris Matthews. I think the decision is clear: Down Martini #2 very quickly and get to work on #3.
Side note: When did Pat Buchanan's voice get so high?
4:49PM I've settled on Fox News for tonight's viewing. What has the world come to when Sheppard Smith is the least offensive way to stay current?
4:51PM Just a quick note -- all the time stamps are Pacific. And now they're computer-generated, so there's some small chance they'll be accurate.
4:52PM Tonight's talking point: It's not "swine flu." It's "Porcine-American sniffles."
4:54PM Shep Smith keeps saying "swine flu." But that's OK, just so long as we don't have to share a bunk at Reeducation Camp.
4:59PM The blonde in pink on Fox News says Obama wants to remake energy, health, autos, and maybe some important items, too. Bush only wanted to remake Iraq. Who's the cowboy?
5:00PM I believe Bill O'Reilly's makeup was done by an undertaker. Maybe also his wardrobe.
5:01PM Here he is. Lookin' good.
5:02PM H1N1? How do you say that in... pig Latin?
5:03PM OK, when most any other President says he's asked for a billion or two in emergency spending, it sounds impressive. But this guy? Also, I do *not* need the President to tell me to cover my mouth when I cough. My three-year-old, on the other hand...
5:04PM The Prez needs a press conference to sell us on stuff that's already passed Congress? Makes you wonder what his internal polls are telling him.
5:05PM Nine trillion in debt will help us compete? Bitchin'! I am so putting a Mercedes on my Citibank card.
5:06PM "I think we're off to a big start, but it's just a start." I think I speak for millions of Americans when I say, "Oh, crap."
And why does a Prez who keeps telling us a debt-based economy is bad, so worried that the banks aren't lending quite so freely?
5:07PM Translation: Sarbox wasn't nothin'.
5:08PM "Work" will take "time and effort." In other prime-time worthy news, leisure will require "too little time spent relaxing."
5:09PM AP's J-Lovin' got the memo. You could practically hear her swallow the word "swine" before the word "flu."
5:10PM If the SWINE flu (sorry) isn't an emergency, then why is the President getting briefed hourly?
5:11PM He keeps telling us that the 1.5 billion in SWINE flu dollars is a big deal. But really, you could find that many Obama Bucks under AIG's sofa cushions.
5:12PM "We are maintaining great vigilance." I assume he's speaking of the four people that have been approved to his cabinet. Oh, and, thank you, Mr. President, for the primtetime reminder to wash my hands. Also, I'll try to wipe my bottom.
5:14PM Here's a better question: Why is the White House determining when or if a corporation can or may seek Chapter 11 protection, or who they must merge with?
5:15PM "I would love to get the US government out of the auto business." Which is a bit like a rapist promising to pull out.
5:18PM Jake Tapper: "Did the previous administration sanction torture?" Prez: "I do believe [waterboarding] is torture..." And then for the first time, I think, ever, Obama didn't place blame on Bush. Color me impressed for once.
5:19PM Bad analogy time. True: Churchill didn't torture Germans. But he did bomb the bejeebus out of Germany (so did we), far in excess of the drubbing London received. That particular option is off the table in our modern times.
5:21PM Mark Knoller: "Could you envision yourself using [torture]?" Silly question. In dire enough straits, any president would use whatever means he had to.
5:23PM Indeed: "I will do whatever is required to keep the American people safe." I'll reiterate that I am against the use of torture. Nukes, too. But no President could promise never to press the button.
5:24PM TallEEbnah, PahkEEstahn. Let's call the whole thing off.
5:26PM Interesting stuff on Pakistan, really. Grown up, even. It's the one issue where Obama doesn't pretend to have a good answer, and he deserves respect for that.
5:27PM If I were attending the press conference, I'd have one question ready to really stump the President. A question I'm sure he wouldn't even have a bad answer prepared for. One to really get him off-prompter, so to speak. And that question would be: Where's Biden?
5:30PM Reporter guy with great TV hair: How big a deal is the Arlen Specter switch? Prez: I don't think I'll be able to manage this guy any better than the Republicans could [that's a slight paraphrase].
5:32PM "I want [Republicans] to realize that me reaching out to them has been genuine." Examples?
5:32PM Oh, crud. My third martini seems to have evaporated -- a real risk, living at 7,500 feet. I'm going to cheat here and press pause on the TiVo while I refill my glass. BRB.
5:37PM "Do you still hope that Congress quickly sends you the Freedom of Choice Act so you can sign it?" Shorter answer: Pretty much, yes.
But I had to dig like a hungry prospector to find it.
5:38PM President Obama would like to reduce the number of teen pregnancies. Has he considered sending Bill Clinton on more missions abroad?
5:39PM Surprised? Enchanted? Humbled?
Translation: Here's a softball, Mr. President!
5:41PM Here's how to play at home: Take a shot every time the President says, "When I first started..." We'll call it the Grandpa Shot.
5:43PM "Enchanted" turned into an almost-clumsy tribute to the troops. But Obama really turned this one around. Nice.
5:44PM I will buy a very strong drink for the first person who can point to just one question/answer tonight that was worthy of a primetime press conference.
5:47PM Immigration reform: "We reach out to Senator McCain on a number of issues..." I'm an easy-borders kind of guy. But I'll be honest - a Democrat reaching across to McCain on this issue is like one of the Kennedy brothers reaching out to... another one of the Kennedy brothers. Back when more than one of them were alive at the same time, I mean.
5:49PM I have several strong drinks in me. But why are YOU watching this stuff? LBJ would have been laughed off the air at 3PM Eastern for material this lame. (And frequently was.)
5:51PM "Communities of color." Now, if a German in 1937 had said something about "hooked-nose neighborhoods..."
5:53PM Job training! Since when did government know what jobs would be wanted today, much less tomorrow? Oh, wait -- right now the government is taking over autos, banks, finance, insurance, and health. I guess they DO know what jobs will be needed. Or if not needed, then at least legislated.
5:53PM "We don't have the time to effectively think through..."
So, yes, please keep nationalizing stuff.
5:56PM "I don't want to run auto companies. I don't want to run banks."
Then stop shoveling money at them, and stop telling them what to do. We have bankruptcy laws for a reason.
5:57PM Mr. President, Buggy Whip sales have yet to recover, even after a century of readjustment. How long are you willing to pump my money into GM and Chrysler?
6:01PM I was a pretty early sufferer of Bush Fatigue. So much so, that I very nearly prayed that the Democrats would nominate somebody, anybody I could vote for in 2004. And when the Republicans nominated McCain in '08, I wrote that I would "not let the door hit me on the ass on my way out."
That said, the entire nation is going to suffer Obama Fatigue before long, if he keeps nationalizing my primetime TV to talk about stuff that's not even worthy of a daytime Susan Lucci Permanent Daytime Loser Award.
Good night, and good luck.