President Obama’s athletic prowess is becoming a real advantage in office as he recently has taken the duck-and -run approach to the media. Instead of defending himself in front of the open microphone, he is dispatching his cronies to defend his policy positions. Our commander-in-chief isn’t living up to his campaign promise of presidential access and transparency.
Obama hasn’t held a formal press conference since July 22. At that event he infamously gaffed that Cambridge Police had acted stupidly when confronting Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. at his home. Since that time, Obama has avoided off-the-cuff question and answer sessions, preferring to rely on his teleprompter for scripted remarks. On his recent trip to Asia, Obama limited questions at his joint press conferences to one each from a U.S. reporter and a foreign journalist. At his “joint press statement” with Chinese President Hu Jintao, no questions were allowed.
This is all shocking given the hyperbole that was spewed during the campaign from the media, who referred to Obama as the ‘Great Communicator.’ While the press were admiring Obama’s rhetorical skills, behind the scenes, handlers were scripting all events and carefully controlling the message.
Rather than running one of the most open and transparent administrations ever, team Obama is running one of the most disingenuous and scripted. As White House Communications Director Anita Dunn boasted, “We controlled the media coverage of the campaign.”
Obama is running a charade. If he were genuine about what he is trying to accomplish, he would not be so afraid to face tough questions. Obama fears that if he makes himself available to the press, he will make another blooper and be caught in his lies.
This past week, Obama again practised deception. After pointedly declaring in his speech to the joint session of Congress that “my plan will not include taxpayer funding of abortion,” Obama lobbied Congress in support of abortion funding in the health reform bill. His administration has even lobbied against the pro-life amendments to these bills. Obama’s spokesman Robert Gibbs argued that these health bills are not the president’s, therefore “his plan does not include taxpayer funding of abortion.” This is a laughable explanation at best, and one that Obama clearly does not want to say himself. Therefore he is avoiding a press conference like the plague.
The American people are catching on and it is one reason why his approval rating is down to 47 percent in the most recent Gallup poll.
After his speech on Afghanistan left many questions unanswered, team Obama dispatched aides including Defense Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, Secretary of State Clinton and many others to explain what Obama meant to say in his speech. In his speech, Obama stated that we would withdraw from Afghanistan in July, 2011. His advisors are back-tracking for him and have since clarified that he didn’t really mean what he said. Advisors clarified versions reads: We will examine the conditions and may begin drawing down our troop levels, not begin a withdrawal then. Obama himself has remained mum on the subject after the speech. Great Communicators don’t usually make vague pronouncements and let their subordinates clumsily explain the details, but that is exactly what Obama is doing.
Obama even recently closed from the media a meeting with federal employees to discuss transparency and public information requests. His underlings have also held high-profile negotiations with pharmaceutical companies behind closed doors, even though he promised during the campaign that he would televise meetings like these on CSPAN.
The Obama White House has become like a bad reality TV show. Obama is maintaining his appearance of celebrity and his face is everywhere, but at the same time he is refusing to answer tough questions from reporters. Obama is just a performer dressed as President of the United States.