Unless today is a total surprise and runs contrary to most of what we’ve seen during the past four years, President Obama will go through another “news conference” without a great deal of difficult or aggressive questioning from the assembled press corps.
Carrie Budoff Brown and Josh Gerstein at the Politico seem to think otherwise, and have produced a lame list of seven questions they think Obama will be asked — so lame that one of them has to do with recently passed marijuana-legalizing initiatives in the states of Washington and Colorado:
Hard questions await Obama at news conference
… Here is POLITICO’s cheat sheet of questions that the president is likely to face:
1. Do you believe the FBI should have told you and Congress sooner about the investigation that led Gen. Petraeus to resign?
As Glenn Reynolds pointed out this morning, this question, which I should note that Obama could answer in one word — “yes” — and move on, presupposes that Obama didn’t know about the investigation in the first place. Just because Jay Carney said this doesn’t make it true, but if it is true, people under the President have been derelict in carrying out their duties (under normal standards, not the standard which appears to have been in place, i.e., “don’t tell me anything, especially anything negative, until after the election).
The President should be directly asked the “When did you learn?” question, with an attachment: “… and if you weren’t informed, who should be fired for not telling you?” If the answer to that question is “no one” or noncommittal, the obvious follow-up is: “Why should anyone in your administration be at all concerned about their job security, no matter how badly they screw up?”
2. Do you worry about a culture in which trusted officials behave badly? Does this administration consider anyone who’s having an extramarital affair, or has had one in the past, to be unfit for public office?
Two more dumb “Yes/No” questions — though if the answer to the second question is “yes,” Obama should be asked if he thought that Bill Clinton’s affair made him unfit.
3. On the fiscal cliff, is your bottom line rates or revenue? Is it enough to close tax loopholes and deductions on the wealthy, or must tax rates also go up in order for you to sign a deal?
That’s a reasonable question, and it’s the only one of the seven I expect to be asked, because it gives the President an opportunity to go into full demagogue mode.
4. Some in your party, including a Senate Democratic leader, say the country should go over the cliff if Republicans don’t relent on taxes. Can you say right now the cliff will not be breached?
This is the kind of “yes/no” question which can be effective, which is why I would be very surprised if anyone in the press has the nerve to ask it. It would be even better if prefaced “yes or no, Mr. President …” in an attempt to compel a commitment.
5. You said during the last presidential debate with Mitt Romney that the defense sequester “will not happen.” Was that a misstatement or are you really that confident?
Again, not bad, but I don’t expect to see it asked.
6. Why was the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi so lightly guarded, despite complaints about deteriorating security conditions in Libya?
A good question I again don’t expect to see asked — or if it is asked, to be phrased in a much more sympathetic tone.
7. So, about those new pot laws. Does the federal government plan to intervene in Washington and Colorado, which both voted to legalize marijuana last week?
Seriously, Carrie and Josh? Pot laws? At a presidential news conference? If anyone in the press goes there, it will likely be to give the President time to run out the clock to avoid answering truly weighty questions.
Readers may have other questions they’d like to see the press ask the President. Suggestions are welcome. Impact on what actually transpires is doubtful.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.