Monday, February 9, 2009

The President's First News Conference

I have always liked to learn, to research, to consider. Back in school I hated CliffsNotes - I wanted to read the entire book and then read all the other works by that author and then the author's biography.

I have watched every Presidential News Conference. I've never felt comfortable with summaries by commentators.

Don't let people tell you what they want you to think someone said. Listen and decide for yourself.

For 8 years I would tune into a Presidential News Conference - not that there were very many, after all clearing the brush at Crawford was a priority - and within a few minutes I would have to turn away. I would read the transcripts instead. It wasn't because I disagreed with everything being said. It was because it was a joke, an insult to my intelligence, and an affront to the English language.

The endless "um" and "uh". The squinting. The demented puppy staring at a shiny object demeanor. The guffaws. The contrived paling it up with the press.

I know that act - it's the act the stupid yet clever bully would put on to charm the teachers into thinking he was a regular kid. Then he'd blow up the science lab. And blame it on the new kid.

Tonight I watched President Obama's entire news conference. And wanted more. And it wasn't because I agreed with everything being said. I didn't.

Words were spoken. Questions were considered. And answered. The tone was serious. It is the business of running a country and it was treated as such.

Intelligence. Eloquence. Thought. Civility.

I can get used to this.

My favorite quote of the news conference was in response to the "revisionist history" being employed by some Republicans ...

"... you know, this notion that somehow I came in here just ginned up to spend $800 billion ..."

You can read a full transcript of the news conference HERE and a million other places.


Liberality said...

I felt the same way about Bush. I couldn't stand to watch him-I'd rather read what he supposedly said with all the crap deleted out of it. I'm sure the stenographers also prettied it up a bit to make it more palatable. It's nice to have the grown ups in power again.

Maithri said...

I cant help but love him ;)

He's just good people... I know it...

Speakin of 'good people' ...hope you are well my beautiful friend,

Much love, M

Jay Simser said...

You nailed it. I have gotten to the point I can't even look at a still picture of Bushie without clenching my teeth. I taught for 38 years and I never spoke with the condensation to my students as he did to reporters.

Jay said...

I actually didn't watch the press conference. I saw some of it, but I didn't sit down and watch the whole thing.

And I do have to admit that at 8 o'clock I was telling him to wrap it up. He was getting in the way of my Hayden Panettiere .. uh .. I mean "Heroes" time. ;-)

But it is nice to have a President who can actually answer questions.

Cloudia said...

A big AMEN!!! Aloha

SnoopMurph said...

I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I listened on NPR in the car tonight. I am so grateful to have a new leader-an actual leader-at the helm.

Hope you are doing well...keeping you in good thoughts.

kenju said...


The Quiet Rage said...

He has a big mess to clean up..... None of it will be easy.

the walking man said...

I hope that the majority of the 300+million people in this country remember the obstructionist politic of the 1990's that led to this.

While not wrapped in the same theo-con cant of that time the lyrics have changed but it is the same of tune by the right.

O gave them a chance for true bipartisanship and I for one am not fooled by the hay they try to make with the capital he gives.

Get Franken seated.

Jeni said...

Hmmmm. I see you are getting comments in hieroglyphics now.
Sorry to say but I missed Obama's conference tonight. I do love to listen to him speak though. (Was having mega computer problems -again or still -with the freaking reader and now the following thingy isn't working right.
As to Bush and his clearing of the brush -why else do you suppose the late great Molly Ivins called him "The Shrub."
Stimulus needed or not, I am still highly jacked over all the unethical people in high offices -like CEOS on Wall Street, certain politicians (mainly lawyers) who don't know the little illegalities of life -like paying SS and into IRS for your employees or that hiring illegals is, uh well, illegal! Silly stuff like that still has me ticked off even after blogging not one, but two rants about this crapola in the past week.

Reb said...

I have never understood why Bush wasn't held on a tighter leash by his controllers. It was obvious right from 9/11, that he couldn't handle the job of speaking let alone running a county.

I am glad that Obama is capable of stringing words together. Being well spoken is half the battle.

bobbie said...

I so agree with you about hating to hear a summary - even AFTER hearing the whole thing. Why do they think they can do a better job than the speaker?

I have never - NEVER watched a Presidential news conference before all the way through. Even from the good guys. This one was a pleasure. I was so proud of him, and happy for all of us. No, I didn't agree with every word either, but he's doing such a good job so far!

Dianne said...

liberality - I'm glad you stopped by, I know how busy you are
I hope the grown-ups can keep the wayward idiots in check

maithri - I feel the same about him
I am struggling a bit but I'm keepin' on
hugs sweet doctor

jay s - and having a condescending attitude when you're an idiot is even more awful
good riddance to bad trash
I have to read the act Leahy wrote - if there's any way to make the former admin accountable I hope that it is explored

jay - hayden was shown in full wasn't she? I mean the whole show of course ;)
read the transcript if you get a chance - some great stuff in there - he's so polite and civil yet managed to call the Republicans out on their BS

cloudia - I hear ye!!

snoop - and he has just begun to show how much he is capable of - it's a good thing - I'm so glad it was him and not Hillary - the tone would be entirely different and I doubt it would be productive
thanks for thinking of me - love ya!

kenju - yes sister!! you, me and Cloudia are a choir :)

quiet rage - that's for sure - it's sickening how the people who made the mess are now pointing at Obama - they're not just pricks, they're pricks without balls

mark - I think more are seeing the light but the forces of darkness are still so persuasive - I wish I could come up with a new word for disgust - I keep saying they disgust me but it's just not enough

Dianne said...

jeni - wasn't that comment awesome!! another anonymous asshat having nothing to contribute to a thoughtful discussion - must be a Republican ;)
sorry about the PC issues - they're so frustrating

reb - I am hoping Obama raises the level of thought and discussion in this country - Bush and his pack did so much to destroy it

bobbie - right after the conference - I mean literally right after they're all there telling us what he meant!!!
shut up! we just listened, we know what he meant - he said what he meant
if they would shut up more Americans would need to figure things out for themselves - isn't that a novel idea
I was very proud of him too :)

Ivanhoe said...

I did not watch it as I was in school, but I believe you ;o) I saw him speak before, you know...

Melli said...

He IS a live wire isn't he?! It's really a shame that some Republican's are sO staunch that they will never allow themselves to like this man. I think he is a really GOOD thing for our country. My prayers go with him daily!

Deborah Godin said...

Oh, I SO know what you mean about listening to W. I used to resort of punditry in sheer desperation just because his bumbling aw-shucks approach just about made me wretch! I heard Obama give a comment recently giving points about how he felt about a Palestinian state, he said, "First, it should be contiguous." I said to myself, "I bet that sent the Bush-ites running for their dictionaries!" What a joy to have someone so articulate and intelligent!

Daryl said...

How nice not to see/hear someone who leans on the podium and smirks and mangles the English language and whose answers were always prepped ... no thinking involved.

Amazingly wonderful even if it was harsh and scary news.

I think I thoroughly enjoyed the President's smile/laughter when asked to explain something the VP said ...

Micky-T said...

I agree, I loved hearing him be The
It felt REAL.

maryt/theteach said...

Isn't Obama a pleasure compared to "You-Know-Who?" Commentators said this morning that his conference was like a seminar he gave so much information... And I caught that sentence "...ginned up." I love when the guy talks vernacular! Ha!

Dianne said...

ivanhoe - you have one demanding schedule :)

melli - I love that you say a prayer for him each day - I think that's so kind - you're a good soul Melli

deborah - there is but one flaw in your logic - you are assuming the Bush-ites have dictionaries - my impression is that they are either oblivious to or proud of their ignorance
I'm sure they think Obama's vocabulary is just another sign of him being elite ;)

daryl - it WAS harsh and scary - and the TRUTH - that's what was so fantastic for me - he was telling the truth - and he explained why he felt and thought the way he did
and he said he didn't know if he didn't but you know damn well he'll find out and get back to us
that f'ing Bush just made shit up ;)
I loved the expression he had when talking about another one of Biden's yarns - good Lord Biden is a character lol
he's a good man though - he's a bit like the Yogi Berra of politics

micky - yes - it was real - is a great way to sum up how I felt :)

mary - and his information is clear!! imagine that
and he remembers what he said yesterday, and last week, and last year - wow!! lol
as a teacher I bet you see how well he explains things - people who know their stuff, who are prepared just shine
and Mr. President shines!!

Raven said...

Wasn't it a joy, though? And I learned stuff! I learned things at a press conference... about economics and other stuff! And he WANTS us to understand what's happening and why. It is such a thrill and pleasure. Humor, intelligence, honesty, and respect for both questioners and listeners. I couldn't listen to Bush either. I think I'm going to look forward to press conferences from now on. It's a better world.

pink dogwood said...

Intelligent, eloquent - I agree. And handsome too :)

Leendaluu said...

It was so wonderful to hear an articulate man speak....speak intelligently and feel his passion. For us not to be subjected to soundbites and smirks.

I still have hope. And we can change.

Bond said...

I have not watched one in atleast 5 years...I watched the whole thing and as you said, I am not in agreement with all he said, but it was nice to see a President act like a President...

I just wish he would have called a reporters name without asking "Where are you" that seemed a tad unprepared.

Tink said...

I wholeheartedly agree!

And this line...

"The demented puppy staring at a shiny object demeanor"


Dianne said...

raven - I am definitely looking forward to more news conferences - plus he sends us e-mail!! isn't that something :)

pink - lol! I wasn't going to mention the handsome part - glad you did, he is very handsome

leendaluu - sound bites and smirks - you just summed up every appearance the little Bush ever made

bond - I wonder - other than Betty Thomas - do the journalists have assigned seats? I thought it was him trying to say hurry up/stand up -

tink - glad you like that line, thanks!!

Pagan Sphinx said...

Di: you wrote:

I know that act - it's the act the stupid yet clever bully would put on to charm the teachers into thinking he was a regular kid. Then he'd blow up the science lab. And blame it on the new kid.

This sums it up in a way my high school self can relate to. Cuz that's exactly how Bush Jr. came across to me - a little asshole.

As it turns out; actually we've known it all along, is that he's not just your run-of-the-mill asshole. He's an asshole who committed war crimes. I detest the little creek and as much as I want to forgive him. It's nearly impossible. It would however, be better for my karma - to forgive him that is. ;-)

I liked the news conference on Monday night - a lot. Things feel very different, don't they? I thought the press he called on asked some great questions. Obama came across to me like this: what you see is what you get. I don't feel like he's pretending to be a liberal or progressive. I know he isn't. He's at best, a moderate.

He really is commanding. And I like his sometimes plain-spoken eloquence. A very strong, intelligent figure that the world is willing to work with. I'm willing to work with it. I like the man; and his family.

Amazing that he can speak to one question for seven minutes. Being long-winded in conversation or presentation myself, I like keeping up with the answers. And when I listen to Obama in interviews, where he isn't addressing the nation collectively, I'm amazed by just how plain-spoken he is willing to be when he speaks to the nation.

Great post, Di.

Linda Reeder said...

I wasn't in a place where I could watch all of the news conference, but I saw most of it. Like you, I want to see for myself before I read or hear the take of others. Reminds me of when I was in college and as an English major I decided I couldn't do a literary critique or analysis if I read the "experts" first. So I just did my own analysis, and did very well, thank you.
I remember squirming as I listened to the "charm" of the Great Communicator" Ronald Reagan. I got so I couldn't stand the sight of him. I see footage of George W. Bush now and shudder, so glad I don't have to bear his presidency any more.
Barack Obama is refreshing in his dignity, his command of the language, and his straightforwardness.

A. said...

I'm usually on the other side, but...this guy makes a tremendous amount of sense. It's such a delight to have reason and logic back in power after a rather long hiatus!


Dianne said...

pagan - I don't even try to forgive Bush - I want him in jail - the amount of damage he did to this country, to the world is staggering - although I do get the concept of forgiving in order to move on but the Republicans appear to have learned nothing and are up to their usual tricks -
Obama's plain speak is such a pleasant change - Bush always tried to present himself as a simple speaker when in fact he was just plain simple ;)

linda - the last sentence of your comment says it all

allison - how cool that you can set your politics aside and just listen to the man and his opinions - I respect that :)

Anonymous said...

Oh I so agree with you on the Obama new conference Di... But am could I the only one who was completely floored by the WaPo correspondent's softball question on A-Rod's steroid use? It was the absolute stupidest question one could ask at that point, yet, the President handled it as eloquently as he did the question from Helen Thomas. That's not just intelligence and eloquence. I'd add class to the list.

Travis said...


storyteller said...

I listened to the whole thing twice (once the next morning) because I'd set the DVR to record it when I wasn't sure I'd make it home in time to see it all, but I did. It's refreshing to have a thoughtful President and fascinating to observe him take a question apart ... allow us to see how he thinks issues through and reaches conclusions ... bringing us along with him rather than speaking in inane sound bites. I'm hopeful ...
Hugs and blessings,