Your heart has to go out to Barack Obama. Here he is in Asia to rebalance someone’s tires (or something), and the press traveling with him is relentless in its grilling of the President.
Here is yesterday’s press “pool report” (h/t National Review):
Pool was ushered to a hold area at the end of a hallway in the hotel, where Obama, after a false start, walked down the hall.
Asked by Julie Pace of the AP if he slept well, he said, “I’m still on 4 am time.”
Another reporter asked Obama if he like the ice cream dessert in the shape of Mt. Fuji served at the state dinner.
Obama nodded, saying, “They have the green tea at the bottom that I’ve spoken of having when I was six, and I was very pleased,” Obama said. “It was delicious.”
When (oh, when) will the press begin to show Obama the same respect it did George W. Bush, who frequently received “soft balls” from the White House and foreign press corps. Here are several from a press conference in 2006 — a roughly equivalent point in the two presidencies:
- Terence Hunt, the Associated Press: “Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister, neither of you has shown much doubt about your Iraq policies. Do you acknowledge that your approach has failed, as Baker-Hamilton suggests? And are you willing to engage directly with Syria and Iran and pull out most combat forces by early 2008, unless there’s unexpected circumstances?”
- Nick Robinson, BBC News political editor, to Bush: “Mr. President, the Iraq Study Group described the situation in Iraq as ‘grave and deteriorating.’ You said that the increase in attacks is unsettling. That won’t convince many people [who believe] that you’re still in denial about how bad things are in Iraq, and question your sincerity about changing course. … Why did it take others to say it before you’ve been willing to acknowledge it for the world — “
- Bill Neely, ITV News, to Bush: “Mr. President, the Iraq Study Group said that leaders must be candid and forthright with people. So let me test that. Are you capable of admitting your failures in the past, and perhaps much more importantly, are you capable of changing course, perhaps in the next few weeks?”