At around 12:30pm Eastern, Barack Obama will put down his ice cream cone and boldly condemn repression in Iran.
Andrew Malcolm explains the timing:
You don’t need to be a basketball-loving president of the United States to know that if you’re trying to block opponents’ shots in your end, you sure aren’t increasing your own totals. You can’t score points on D.
So Obama’s news conference this morning Pacific time is his bid to steal the ball from his opponents and scoot down the court for his own layup. It’s a classic political reset of the play clock. At 9:30 a.m. Pacific (12:30 p.m. Eastern, 4:30 p.m. GMT), Obama will make a statement in the White House Rose Garden and then take questions.
Obama has lost some mojo in recent days on this month’s pressing issues, especially Iran’s ongoing protests and healthcare reform. Obama’s printed Saturday statement about Iran on his way out the White House door for ice cream with his daughters was insufficient media competition for the appallingly graphic video of the young woman Neda dying on a Tehran street. Some called the presidential statement ineffective and “mealy-mouthed.”
On Father’s Day, while the president played golf out of camera-sight, others were on TV declaring the U.S. must say more to support the unarmed protesters in Iran.
…Sen. John McCain’s angry Senate Neda speech Monday, also reported and analyzed here with a video, dramatically changed that equation, forcing Obama to talk today more powerfully about the power of talk.
It was just last month that Obama was forced to scramble in response to another Republican, Dick Cheney, to organize dueling speeches on homeland security.
Obama-come-lately strikes again.
But, of course, Obama’s Cairo speech inspired the freedom activists in Iran that he is only now speaking out for, you know.
Update: Obama’s press statement this afternoon was rather unemotional and obligatory-sounding. Included an odd set-up question with Huffington Post writer Nico Pitney, who has covered Iranian election extensively. Obama anticipated his question and basically telegraphed what Pitney would ask — a question solicited from Iranians communicating across the Internet.
Major Garrett at Fox News asks the obvious question: “What took you so long?”
Garrett asks if invitation to Iran to meet on July 4 is still on.
“That’s up to Iran.”
Translation: Invitation — and “path” to engagement — still open.
Question: Were you influenced by McCain/Graham speaking strongly on Iran?
Obama snarks: What do you think?
Are you laughing?
Chuck Todd: What about consequences for Iranian repression?
O refers to Neda again: A young woman getting shot on the street as she’s getting out of her car is a “problem.”