In case you missed it, my friend Sam Stein of the Huffington Post was called upon by President Obama during his prime-time press conference tonight. Sam asked the President about Senator Patrick Leahy’s speech today, in which he called for an investigation of the Bush Administration’s lawless deeds.
Dave and I have been playing the first few seconds over and over. Obama: “Sam Stein. Huffington Post. Where’s Sam?”
The New York Times said this was more than just a fun moment for fans; it was historic:
Huffington Post Gets a Question | 9:03 p.m. The next questioner provided an intriguing bookend to Ms. Thomas, the biggest indication yet that the makeup of the press has changed considerably since she arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Sam Stein, who is covering the White House for the Huffington Post, was called upon by President Obama. It is almost certainly the first time that a Web-based publication was recognized by the president. (To press junkies keeping track at home, the president did not call on the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times or any of the newsmagazines.)
This decision, made in advance by the White House, will surely be discussed.
Hooray for Sam!
And also a great big cheer of delight for having a president who can conduct a press conference that doesn’t make you cover your eyes every few seconds. War Room’s Alex Koppelman:
The White House scheduled Monday night’s press conference, Barack Obama’s first as president, to give him an opportunity to sell his stimulus package to the country. And — in contrast to his predecessor — Obama didn’t disappoint. He projected an air of competence and calm, made no serious mistakes, seemed to truly know his material.
But good God, it was boring.
In part, that’s because Obama is so competent at these sorts of things. There’s none of that breathless anticipation you could get as George W. Bush answered questions from reporters, the sense that you were watching a tightrope walker with a nasty case of vertigo working without a net.