There is a diary up criticizing the press corps for failure to ask a climate-related question during the President's 48-minute press conference this morning. I thought I'd take advantage of the DKos Transcript Editors' work to isolate the questions as a way of gauging issues that were over-emphasized or ignored as a way of pressuring the press corps to ask more relevant questions at the White House Daily Press Briefings and presidential press conferences.
Over almost 50 minutes, only seven journalists were called upon for questions and follow-ups. In my opinion, only three were weighty enough to justify the president's time. These were Ed Henry's on the Syria situation, Jonathan Karl's on the sequester and Congressional inactivity and filibustering, and Antonieta Cadiz's question on US/Mexican relations and the upcoming summit. (I'm not including the Jason Collins question because it was not called for by the president; I think it was a worthy subject for this forum.) The rest were Beltway "gotcha" questions that have little to do with their broader subjects or their impact on the people's daily lives. This means half the precious time made available with the president was wasted.
As Lawrence Lewis pointed out, no mention was made of this week's record measurement of global CO2 levels, nor was there any discussions of Thomas Herndon's austerity-busting academic analysis that made national news. As a crowd-sourcing exercise, I encourage you to ask the questions you would have liked to heard in comments.
Q I'm not. A couple of questions on national security. On Syria, you said that the red line was not just about chemical weapons being used but being spread, and it was a game-changer -- it seemed cut and dry. And now your administration seems to be suggesting that line is not clear. Do you risk U.S. credibility if you don't take military action?
And then on Benghazi, there are some survivors of that terror attack who say they want to come forward and testify -- some in your State Department -- and they say they’ve been blocked. Will you allow them to testify?
Q By game-changer you mean U.S. military action?
Q And on the Benghazi portion, I know pieces of this story have been litigated, you’ve been asked about it. But there are people in your own State Department saying they’ve been blocked from coming forward, that they survived the terror attack and they want to tell their story. Will you help them come forward and just say it once and for all?
Q They've hired an attorney because they're saying that they've been blocked from coming forward.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. There's a report that your Director of National Intelligence has ordered a broad review -- this is regards to the Boston Marathon bombing -- that your DNI has ordered a broad review of all the intelligence-gathering prior to the attack. There is also a series of senators -- Susan Collins, Saxby Chambliss, Lindsey Graham -- who allege that all these years after 9/11, there still wasn't enough intelligence shared prior to the attack. And now, Lindsey Graham, who is a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, has said that Benghazi and Boston are both examples of the U.S. going backwards on national security. Is he right? And did our intelligence miss something?
Q Are you getting all the intelligence and information you need from the Russians? And should Americans be worried when they go to big, public events now?
Q Mr. President, you are a hundred days into your second term. On the gun bill, you put, it seems, everything into it to try to get it passed. Obviously, it didn’t. Congress has ignored your efforts to try to get them to undo these sequester cuts. There’s even a bill that you threatened to veto that got 92 Democrats in the House voting yes. So my question to you is do you still have the juice to get the rest of your agenda through this Congress?
Q Why’d you go along with it?
Q Mr. President, as you’re probably aware, there’s a growing hunger strike on Guantanamo Bay among prisoners there. Is it any surprise really that they would prefer death rather than have no end in sight to their confinement?
Q Meanwhile we continue to force-feed these folks --
Q Mr. President, thank you. Max Baucus, Democratic Senator, referred to the implementation as your health care law as a potential train wreck. And other Democrats have been whispering nervousness about the implementation and the impact -- and it’s all self-centered a little bit -- the impact that it might have on their own political campaigns in 2014. Why do you think -- just curious -- why does Senator Baucus, somebody who ostensibly helped write your bill, believe that this is going to be a train wreck? And why do you believe he’s wrong?
Q Do you believe, without the cooperation of a handful of governors, particularly large states like Florida and Texas, that you can fully implement this?
Q But can you do it without them?
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Two questions. There are concerns about how the immigration bill from the House has complicated chances for immigration reform in the Senate. It seems to be a more conservative proposal. Is there room for a more conservative proposal than the one presented in the Senate? That’s immigration.
Second, on Mexico -- yesterday, the Mexican government said all contact with the U.S. law enforcement will now go through a single door, the Federal Interior Ministry. Is this change good for the U.S. relationship with Mexico? Do you think the level of security and cooperation can be maintained?
Q Jason Collins? Do you want to say anything about it?