Friday, November 07, 2008

Presser One

Barack gave his first presser today. The big news was the Nancy Reagan comment (apologized for) which, other than sounding a little amateurish, wasn't a biggie. My impression was that he temporarily blanked on the other living presidents and was looking for some filler while collecting thoughts.

Frankly, he looked exhausted and the entire thing was a bore-fest aside from the Nancy moment. Perhaps they could have given him a few days off after a two year campaign season. The electorate certainly needed it.

Of more interest were two other questions, one asked by Candy Crowley of CNN about whether he'd changed his mind about anything after receiving his intelligence briefing and the other by Jake Tapper about whether he'd responded to Mahmoud A'jad's congratulatory letter. As to number one,
Crowley: You are now privy to a lot of intelligence that you haven't had access to before, in fact, much of what the president sees, I'm sure all of it. First of all, do you -- what do you think about the state of U.S. intelligence, whether you think it needs beefing up, whether you think there's enough interaction between the various agencies?

And, second of all, has anything that you've heard given you pause about anything you've talked about on the campaign trail?

Obama: Well, as you know, if -- if there was something I had heard, I couldn't tell you. But...

Question: (off-mike)

Obama: I have received intelligence briefings. And I will make just a general statement.

Our intelligence process can always improve. I think it has gotten better. And, you know, beyond that, I don't think I should comment on the nature of the intelligence briefings.
When this question was being asked it looked like Obama was clenching and swallowing a little hard. Oh, for that proverbial fly on the wall..

As to the second question from Tapper,
Senator, for the first time since the Iranian revolution, the president of Iran sent a congratulations note to a new U.S. president. I'm wondering if, first of all, if you responded to President Ahmadinejad's note of congratulations and, second of all, and more importantly, how soon do you plan on sending low-level envoys to countries such as Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, to see if a presidential-level talk would be productive?
The answer was diplomatic and pure politicospeak including a reminder there is only one president right now, but the damage was done by asking. The bigger question is whether he'll call on Tapper anytime soon.

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