Obama’s First Press Conference Post Election

Obama’s first Press Conference was very interesting.  First, he seemed a little tight and off his game. As a man who has campaigned for the last 22 months and was quick with the answers, his responses to day were a little ‘tight’ and ‘off key’ at times.  Part of this can be attributed to a whole new line of questions and appropriate responses.  His mind and game has been so melded into campaign mode, he ability to quickly and off the cuff respond to questions was a little pressed.   I have no doubt once he gets his feet under him he’s going to be eloquent, on the mark, and honest with his answers. I thought he did have a little trouble breaking the shackles of campaigning and assuming the President’s role.  He probably said ‘middle-class’ way too much and tried to hard to be politically correct in his answers, particularly about tax increases for the wealthy.

He did say a few things in the presser that were either reassuring or provided insight into how he’ll tackle priorities early in his administration. He first made it abundantly clear that President Bush is in charge and  that the Nation speaks with one voice.  I believe he also made it clear that he’d stay in touch with the President (and vice-versa) as required.  Obama is going to push hard for a stimulus package to be developed and he’ll work with President Bush to get it passed.  However, there won’t be much compromise – as President-Elect Obama said he’ll pass one after his Inauguration. 

On foreign policy, his answers were on slightly less stable ground.  With regard to the congratulations he received from Iran and potential ramp-up of discussions with the Middle Eastern nation, he was non-committal.  Realizing now that he talks from somewhat of a bully-pulpit, his words were measured.  His security team would need to meet and discuss how to respond to Iran on the congratulations letter, as well as whether it was appropriate to begin discussions after 20 January.  He did make it clear that the U.S. will not tolerate a nuclear Iran.  Candy Crowly, a veteran CNN journalist, asked him if anything in his daily CIA security briefings caused him any concern beyond what he already knew. It’s appropriate to not want to discsuss the topic, but Obama’s response was a little roundabout and not reassuring.

It’s obvious that this President is intent on building a relationship with the press and trying to be candid, as much as he can, when anwering the questions.  It’s only two days in, but he was reassuring that his campaign message will resonate through his administration. He continues to recognize the mind boggling challenges of the office and is very reassuring in stating he’s taking the time to make the right Cabinet appointments.  Regardless of whether he was ‘smooth’ or not, he certainly has a better grasp on issues than our current president and appears to already be engaging at a level that President Bush never considered.  Finally, I thought there was a key moment when he said he’d rely on his economic team to craft the best policy to get this nation moving forward again.  This is a man that realizes he is an executive and to utilize ‘good’ people to develop the policy that will help him lead this country in the direction he believes is right.

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