Press Conference To-Do Lists (“Show Us The Anger!”)

With President Obama scheduled to hold a press conference in about an hour, the Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty has a to-do list for reporters: five questions that “should be asked” at today’s presidential press conference, where, Tumulty notes, reporters will have “their first opportunity to put a full range of questions to Obama about the [oil] spill and his administration’s handling of it.”

Tumulty’s questions are all good ones, but they are all are backward-looking (blame-affixing, assumptions made) or forward-looking (changes needed) and none address the basic here-and-now, the plugging of the damn hole (How’s that going? What’s next, if BP’s plans don’t work? What if it can’t be fixed?) Perhaps unanswerable. But surely reporters should/will ask, still? Surely we’ll learn something/s from the asking?

Tumulty’s Post colleague, Jonathan Capehart, offers Obama “four things” he “must do” at the press conference, including, on the oil spill front, “detailing all of the things he and his administration have done over the past month” and “showing that [plug-the-damn-hole] anger to the press.” Capehart’s other three “must-do’s” for Obama involve (no problem!) managing/clarifying recent developments on immigration (1,200 National Guard troops), Sestak-Gate, and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. On Sestak, Capehart writes:

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs might have been able to get away with telling the media “I’m not going to get into it,” but Obama cannot. Gibbs and a White House senior adviser have assured us that nothing inappropriate took place. The only way for that assurance to stick is for the president to give a complete accounting of what happened — especially since Sestak keeps yapping about it while leaving key details to our fertile imaginations.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.