Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Obama's 1st-100-days presser

Quick thoughts as I listen to the 100-day-presser:
1. First question on H1N1 swine flu - praises Bush administration for preparedness following bird flu! Self-identifies as part of a group of Congressmen who worked with Bush admin. for this.
2. "I'd like to get the US government out of the auto business as soon as possible!"  Seems to know what's happening at Chrysler, well-prepared.
3. On torture, recalls an article about ~200 prisoners in Britain during WWII, and Churchill apparently saying "we don't torture."  And did previous administration sanction torture? "Waterboarding was torture and prev. admin.'s reasonings were a mistake."
"Public reports that info was obtained through torture do not answer question whether info could be obtained without torture, and whether torture made us safer.  Will do whatever is needed to keep people safe, but without taking shortcuts that undermine who we are."
4. Chuck Todd wants to move to Pakistan?  No, just a question on Pak nuclear arsenal falling into Taliban hands.  POTUS more concerned about fragility of civilian government not able to deliver basic services.  Should move away from thinking of India as mortal threat, and focus on Taliban/Al-Qaeda militancy (agreed - RS.)  Not going to engage in hypotheticals about securing Pak nukes.
5. Specter!!  (But he just voted NO on budget!  What filibuster-proof majority?! - RS)  Congress is an equal branch of government, will have to compromise with opinionated Senators.  But bipartisanship does not mean accepting same failed principles of past eight years!
6. Abortion: moral+ethical issue. Not just about women's freedom!? Other factors as well, which women have to wrestle with on individual basis, they don't take it lightly, hence pro-choice.
7. Surprised by so many problems coming to head at same time, 7-8 big problems when typical POTUS has 2-3.  Troubled by slow pace of change in DC.  Enchanted!?  Service men and women - not enchanted, but proud and grateful [Would have expected servicemen/women mention for humbled - RS.]  Humbled by... missed it - POTUS has extraordinary power??  Ship of state is an oceanliner/battleship - takes a while to move.  Humbled by patience of American people [AHHH.... the other safe answer! - RS].
8. Immigration reform!  Illegal immigration means exploitation of Mexican workers crossing dangerous border even as they depress US wages.  Need to work with Gutierrez and McCain?  Get people out of the shadows.  Maybe no legislation this year, but process will get started.
9. Black male unemployment rate in NYC is 50%!?  POTUS: Every step we are taking is designed to help *all* people, but those who need most help will get most help? [Does Obama avoid answering in any way that might indicate favoritism toward Blacks?  Recall question from Black woman during primaries, about immigrants stealing jobs from minorities.  Typical White POTUS might have answered differently.]
10. State secrets doctrine criticized by candidate Obama but used by POTUS Obama's Justice.  Why?  Need to finesse that blunt instrument. [Not sure Dahlia Lithwick/Slate would agree... We need Open Government, right? - RS]
11. Like any shareholder, American taxpayers have right to see how money's being spent. If Japs can create hybrids, so can Americans, doggone it! [All too true! - RS]
12. "If I were given humming auto industry/banks, but have to deal with Iraq, Afghanistan, NKorea... and a pandemic, I'd take that deal!  I don't want to grow government, I want a lean government!"

Nicely done.  He was well-prepared, and used humor as appropriate.  Not as much follow-up questions, but took about 15 questions.  Yes, I definitely like this as a regular feature - screw Faux News if they don't want to broadcast it.

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