From the WTFork department...
On one side of town Bernie Socialist is doing his best impression of Mr. Chavez goes to Washington, rambling and railing against the rich in general and against Obama's deal with the GOP devils specifically.
On the other side of town the guy who DID raise taxes in the 90s and to whose tax rate the Democrats, including Obama, have longed to return to lo these many ten years--Bill Clinton--is bizarrely given the briefing room helm again by the current president in an effort to convince the rest of the liberal caucus (and press) to forget about Bernie and those salad days of higher taxes and focus on passing an extension of the Bush tax code because it's vitally important to the nation. Say what?
Obviously some big questions here. The sight of Bernie in the well was mildly funny; the sight of Clinton in the briefing room by himself was not. Quite the photo-op and probably orgasmic to some in the press room no doubt, but somewhat disturbing. Why would they want to purposely make the commander-in-chief (the current one) look weak? Or did they just act stupidly? Which is worse?
Maybe the average person should believe the entire thing was a screw-up originally intended to show Obama with Clinton at the podium (perhaps appealing to moderates) but that Clinton, once up there and feeling that ole love again, just couldn't tear himself away and decided to grandstand awhile even after the real president dropped a huge hint by saying he had to leave, normal protocol being "hey dummy, time to wrap and run, m'k?" Yet Bubba just stood there.
Or perhaps the average person should believe this was some kind of highly orchestrated stunt to announce Obama's new turn to the center after a GOP mid-term shellacking, just like Clinton. But if that were the case it failed miserably.
The president should have never left the room without Clinton right in front of him. Whether he thought Clinton would take a hint and didn't, or whether this was entirely orchestrated is hard to say, but the outcome as it relates to the average person is not very good. Darkly humorous maybe (and prescient to some!), but not good.
Looking around at the mainstream news sources none of them are particularly troubled by the optics of Obama turning over the briefing room to Bill Clinton. As stated above, some seemed thrilled by the prospect.
Wonder what the headlines would have been had Bush 43 escorted Bush 41 into the briefing room in late 2002, said he was consulting with dad over the Iraq thing, let dad start talking then after 10 minutes looked at his watch and excused himself to go to a Christmas party with Laura? Exact same reaction?