I noted on Twitter and in my live-blog of Obama’s press conference that the president called on/coached HuffPo’s Nico Pitney in an obvious, pre-planned question on Iranians communicating through social media and the Internet.
The question itself was unobjectionable and Obama’s response was so bland and rambling I don’t remember it.
But what was noteworthy was Obama’s embarrassingly obvious and patronizing coordination of the question. I have no love for the HuffPo people (and vice versa), but really, was such schoolmarm-ish hand-holding by the White House necessary?
Via the Politico:
In a clearly coordinated exchange, President Obama called on the Huffington Post’s Nico Pitney near the start of his press conference and requested a question directly from Iran.
“Nico, I know you and all across the Internet, we’ve been seeing a lot of reports coming out of Iran,” Obama said, addressing Pitney. “I know there may actually be questions from people in Iran who are communicating through the Internet. Do you have a question?”
Pitney, as if ignoring what Obama had just said, said: “I wanted to use this opportunity to ask you a question directly from an Iranian.”
He then noted that the site had solicited questions from people in the country “who were still courageous enough to be communicating online.”
“Under which conditions would you accept the election of Ahmadinejad, and if you do accept it without any significant changes in the conditions there, isn’t that a betrayal of the — of what the demonstrators there are working towards?”
Reporters typically don’t coordinate their questions for the president before press conferences.
Snort. Just wait until the ABC News health care infomercial tomorrow tonight…
Meanwhile, Obama snapped at a McClatchy reporter who had the audacity to ask him about his cigarette addiction in light of the recently passed FDA tobacco regs.
Obama sarcastically chastised the reporter for asking a “cute” question, then argued that the new regulations don’t apply to him, but to “future generations.”
In other words: Do as he says, not as he smokes.
Also targeted for Obama snappishness: Fox News reporter Major Garrett (for asking “What took you so long” on Iran) and Jake Tapper (for a non-respectful question on health care reform).