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Sweet: Obama says, “No, I, I, I, I, I have to, I heard, I heard, I don’t need it, I don't need to hear what you read because I was, I overheard it when he said it."

| 34 Comments

DES MOINES, IA.—The Obama campaign faced a distraction on Thursday after some news outlets ran stories suggesting chief Obama strategist David Axelrod seemed to link Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vote to authorize the Iraq war with the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Sen. Barack Obama vigorously defended Axelrod during a CNN interview on Thursday evening for comments Axelrod made in the morning after a speech Obama delivered in Des Moines. The dust-up will likely be over by the time you read this and the news cycle has moved on.

The Des Moines remarks were Obama’s penultimate “change” speech, completely overshadowed by Bhutto’s murder. The terrorist attack returned the conversation to foreign policy.

In standing up for Axelrod, Obama fell back on one of his campaign standbys and blamed the off-message situation on “Washington,” as in “Washington is putting a spin on it.”

Obama got a little impatient with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer when Blitzer started to read him the Axelrod quote. One of the most accomplished speakers in the nation was reduced to stuttering as Obama tried to head off Blitzer from reading the quote on national television.

Blitzer asked, “Your chief political strategist, David Axelrod, causing some commotion out there today with his comments about Hillary Clinton, and blaming her—at least some are interpreting it this way—blaming her in part for a series of events that resulted in Benazir Bhutto's assassination today. Let me read to you what he said.”

Obama replied—and I think I nailed the quote here—“No, I, I, I, I, I have to, I heard, I heard, I don’t need it, I don't need to hear what you read because I was, I overheard it when he said it, and this is one of those situations where Washington is putting a spin on it. It makes no sense whatsoever.”

(Might you wonder what “I overheard it” means? One should not read this literally. Obama was not standing near Axelrod when he was talking to reporters after the speech. A bunch of reporters were interviewingAxelrod near the press risers at the back of the hall.)

Blitzer continued, “Tell us what he meant. Tell us what he meant.”

Obama said, “He was—he was—he was asked very specifically about the argument that the Clinton folks were making that somehow this was going to change the dynamic of politics in Iowa.

(At this point it was the reporter making the argument--asking if the assassination would bring the campaigns more to foreign policy and “that’s been more Hillary Clinton’s sort of strength, is that is that…that’s what the Clinton campaign will say, that this plays right into her strength.”)

Obama: “Now, first of all, that shouldn't have been the question.”

(Disputing a question is a technique Obama has used in the presidential debates when confronted with being asked something he did not want to specifically have to respond to. )

Obama then said, “The question should be, "how is this going to impact the safety and security of the United States," not "how is it going to affect a political campaign in Iowa."

"But his response was simply to say that if we are going to talk politics, then the question has to be, "who has exercised the kind of judgment that would be more likely to lead to better outcomes in the Middle East and better outcomes in Pakistan."

Obama went on to defend Axelrod, one of his closest advisors.

“He in no way was suggesting that Hillary Clinton was somehow directly to blame for the situation there. That is the kind of, I think, you know, gloss that sometimes emerges out of the heat of campaigns that doesn't make much sense, and I think you're probably aware of that, Wolf.”

Since a viewer by this point would have little idea what Obama was reacting to, Blitzer pressed ahead and read the quote.

That’s live television. Obama was trapped and Blitzer knew it.

Blitzer said, “ Well, I know that sometimes comments can be taken out of context and you're trying to give us the context. I'll just read to you what he said, and then I'm going to let you just respond. "She was," referring to Hillary Clinton, he said…

“Wolf!” said Obama.

Blitzer continued, reading the Axelrod quote: "She was a strong supporter of the war in Iraq, which, we would submit is one of the reasons why we were diverted from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Al Qaeda, who may still have been players in this event today. So, that's a judgment she'll have to defend. “

Here’s another version; I asked Axelrod, “Looking ahead, does the assassination put on the front burner foreign policy credentials in the closing days?

Axelrod replied, “Well, it puts on the table foreign policy judgment, and that's a discussion we welcome. Barack Obama had the judgment to oppose the war in Iraq, and he warned at the time it would divert us from Afghanistan and Al Qaeda, and now we see the effect of that. Al Qaeda's resurgent, they're a powerful force now in Pakistan, they may have been involved — we've been here, so I don't know whether the news has been updated, but there's a suspicion they may have been involved in this. I think his judgment was good. Sen. Clinton made a different judgment, so let's have that discussion.”

34 Comments

Jaw Dropped. Thank you Barrack Obama for making my choice easier!

oh, wow, a melt-down moment! now that dynamic duo is dictating the questions. now i know why bozo's circus left the air in chicago.

I'm not sure I understand what is so damning about the Axelrod quote. This seems like knee-jerk journalism that tells the reader nothing about the issue or the candidates. Kind of like how reality TV gives us no substance, but really seems like a great story.
But if you really think about what axelrod said it is true and it is fair. It doesn't deserve the 'oh gosh' media reaction. We pulled our troops out of Afghanistan, which led to further instability and the festering of radical Islam in that country and western Pakistan, which led to the increased volatility in that country and the murder of a moderate savior.
The direct relation is self-evident. The fact that Hillary supported leaving Afghanistan and taking on Iraq is just an example of her poor judgement and DID contribute to the problem.
Clearly, understanding these steps of logic was difficult for Blitzer or the other media. And, Sweet, you just couldn't help yourself when it came to making fun of a stutter. Because afterall a stutter means someone his scared and losing and stupid, right -- it couldn't mean they are fed up with dealing with a bunch of nonsense from the media. Thanks. A stutter tells me a lot about Obama and what is going on in this race and the real issues.

So the ONE thing Obama is KNOWN for - good speaking - even THAT he is not good at. I have noticed this a lot at debates, too. He stumbles and stutters, alot. Perhaps nervousness or just thinking of what he should say perhaps??? LOL!!

ANYBODY who is considering voting for Obama, PLEASE WAKE UP!!!! This man is in NO WAY PREPARED to run a small business much less the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!

If you want a candidate who is STRONG, COMPETENT,EXPERIENCED AND HAS COMPASSION AND WISDOM,THEN THAT PERSON IS HILLARY CLINTON!!!!

This posting touches on several things that trouble me. First is Obama's deflection of experience issue by citing that Chaney and Rumsfeld were highly experienced. While true, that is not the point. The point was Bush's lack of experience resulted in his not seeing the two of them were leading him down a really bad path. Second is citing his early opposition to Iraq as demonstrating foreign policy and strategic competence as well as being signifying political courage. Clinton, the vast majority of her Senate colleagues and many intellegence agencies believed WMD's were there and ready to deploy. On the "facts" they were given, they made a reasonable--if, in hindsight--poor decision. To oppose Iraq when running as the "left" candidate in a Blue State's four-way Dem primary is not courage--it is expedience.

This just shows how much OHB is at a loss in foreign policy, but also in dealing with pointed questions. HRC once called his game naive and irresponsible, and she could do so again here. OHB simply will not stand up against someone like McCain if worse comes to worst and he gets the Dem nod.

Lynn Sweet is co childish to quote a stammer and put it in the headline. This isn't journalism, this school yard tattle-telling.

Quoting a stutter or stammer is purely meant to mock and demean. It 100% non-issue reporting. Sweet might as well describe the faces he made and what clothes he wore.

Childishness 101.

CBS news ‘primary questions’ segment not long ago asked all the candidates a set of questions including “what country scares you the most”. they all said iran & talked about that except hillary and biden who talked about pakistan.

Hillary link:
www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/main500251.shtml?id=3612920n

Biden:
www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/main500251.shtml?id=3612916n

Lynn,

You make it sound as though he stammered real bad but I watched the video and the I, I, I.. etc was while talking over Wolf.

If only reporters had been so diligent about quoting speech stumbles and mis-spoken moments during the two Bush terms. Then maybe more people would have realized that President Bush seems to be functionally retarded. Maybe even before the last election.

At least we know which candidate this paper is going to endorse. You make FoxNews actually appear fair and balanced. good job.

I don't find ANYTHING wrong with what David Axelrod or Barack Obama said.

Hillary -- and everyone else who voted for the war and stands by that vote -- is in fact responsible for what happened in Pakistan since we diverted our attention to Iraq from Afghanistan. Pakistan is destabilized, we've propped up a tinhorn dictator, meddled in politics in a manner that has not improved the situation at all. Hillary is not to blame, but she certainly bears some responsibility for the death of "her friend" Benazir Bhutto.

Wolf Blitzer and Barack Obama have a brittle relationship. Blitzer is unapologetically in Hillary's granny panties. At the last CNN "debate" you could read the tension between the two during each question/answer exchange. Blitzer (like his pal Lou "It's TRUE Because I Said So" Dobbs) has a practice of shouting over their guests to make their own points, not elicit responses.

Re-framing the question is standard debate technique used frequently on the campaign trail as well as in the White House, to create a means to cast your message in the way you want it to be heard. Nothing wrong with that. A smart debater uses the opportunities given to present his arguement in its strongest possible voice.

Lynn, normally I enjoy your posts, but every now and then -- it must be an underwire poking you in the wrong place -- Sweetie, you just get it wrong. This was one of those times. Maybe it's 18-Hour Bra time.

Moments like this reveal the true character of a candidate. The instinct of Obama and his team was to play petty politics instead of supplying leadership and acting as a stabilizing force. While Clinton reacted with restraint and John Edwards was calling Musharraf to urge an independent investigation into the assassination, Obama was trying to pin the blame on one of his opponents. Obama just disqualified himself from consideration for the nomination, in my opinion.

How disingenuous is this? Obama was clearly trying to talk and get Wolf to shut up. How about putting up the video?

Wake up! you dreamers and idealist out there,you are hanging on the Obama Hope campaign.He is not qualified nor capable to perform on the big stage.He likes talking the law Professors talk but he CANNOT lead nor accomplish anything good for this country.
Senator Clinton knows what is going on all over the world and she knows and converses with the appropriate leaders.She is ready to work day one.
No one has time to teach Mr. O about history and how to handle the hot spots.Do you need to be reminded of the on the job training that Bush has been given by Cheney for 7 years.Please wake up and place your vote for the most qualified to lead the free World.Senator Hillary Clinton.

Bystander,

OK, let's pretend there's nothing wrong by blaming an opponent for solely causing the assassination of a potential ally. Fine. Speaking of sharing responsibility what would you say of a presidential candidate who threatened to violate the sovereignty of Pakistan of Musharraf if he failed to root out terrorists? Not exactly stabilizing is it? Or a senate candidate who threatened military action against Pakistan if Musharraf was ever removed in a coup or considered missile strikes against Iran? Well that was Obama in August 2007 and 2004, respectively.

I want to vote for this man, I do, but his foolishness and sheer callousness is disturbing. Edwards has my vote.

and this would be why i support edwards. while obama was stuttering, and both barack and hillary were politicizing this tragedy, edwards called the pakistani ambassador, and president musharif called edwards back to talk to him. he had met and spoke to both bhutto and musharraf before. in his call, edwards encouraged musharraf that in the midst of this tragedy, to continue with the democraticization process and to let international investigations go thru on the assasination.

edwards is my first citizen.

Obama and his supporters seem incapable of making a distinction between the decision to invade Iraq and the management. We remain in a quagmire because Bush et al. lacked the foresight and competence to manage the "after-war." WMD was a fiction, yes, but we all might have been sold on the neo-con dream of turning Iraq into a democracy if the administration hadn't allowed the country to slip into such chaos. (The relative success of the surge suggests this is true. Imagine if we'd started "surging" as soon as Saddam fell, rather than waiting for Bush's ego to catch up with reality.)

I respect Obama for his anti-war vote, but he hasn't followed through by voting against the funding bills. His continuing slams against Hillary (whom I do not support, BTW) strike me as being disingenuous. I saw the CNN interview, too, and was unimpressed. Of the "top three" democrats, I thought John Edwards came off the best. Not only did he talk personally to Musharraf, he also called for an "independent, international investigation" into Bhutto's assassination a full 24-hours before Hillary used ... the exact same phrase!

It's not as if the Obama campaign called a press conference to announce that Hillary was to blame. The Axelrod statement was in response to a question about the political impact of the events in Pakistan. There is no real story here, other than the fact that certain interests are trying desperately to slow Obama's momentum. In any event, to top it all off, Axelrod is correct in that if we had not diverted the bulk of the attention from Pakistan and Afghanistan to focus on attacking Iraq, the extremist elements in Pakistan that are likely behind the assassination might not have been in a position to do what they just did. It's all conjecture, but, hey, the questioner brought it up, not Axelrod.

Futhermore, Wolf Blitzer is about as biased against Obama as one can be and still be considered a "mainstream" media figure. Cutting the Wolf man off in order to provide context and background to the Axelrod statement was certainly fair play.

Blitzer lost all credibility with me during the Las Vegas debate when he was asking Obama about triangulating and snarkily added "whatever that means." Wolf Blitzer is a member of the alleged best political team on TV. If he did not know what triangulating means, he either should not be moderating a Presidential debate or maybe he should just quit and take a paid position with the Clinton campaign instead of slanting the coverage her way from his CNN role.

By the way, what's up with the parenthetical snark from Lynn Sweet? There is nothing wrong with disputing the premise of a question if the question is not a fair one, is there? If not, then I would simply like to ask Ms. Sweet if she has stopped drowning kittens for fun on the weekends with her Satanic cult friends? Just answer the question, yes or no.

A stutter has no bearing whatsoever on the intelligence of the speaker. And the fact that it was even mentioned (in Headlines, no less!)is rude beyond words! The responders to Obama's speaking skills SURELY cannot applaud our current REPUBLICAN President's skills in public speaking. He can't even speak beyond a 3rd grade ability. Obama doesn't "shoot from the hip" like other candidates. He is thoughtful in his replies. My God! We actually have a presidential candidate WHO THINKS! As far as Hillary goes...(I wish she would..go, that is!), she is a Republican dressed in blue. Same...repeat, same..., repeat same...old "boys" and "girls" club. I say, NO THANK YOU.

Now Obama is blaming the reporter for the question instead of blaming his chief strategist for his horrid, disgusting answer. Instead of telling journalists what questions to ask, Axelrod could have answered the question with some human dignity, like "this is not the time for politics, this was a terrible tragedy, our hearts go out to the people of Pakistan." I don't think it takes a seasoned ambassador to know how to answer that question. But his first instinct was 'how can I spin this against Hillary?'

Try all you want to deny it, everyone can see Obama on the video trying to shut down Wolf Blitzer. "No, no, no, don't read it, don't read it." And still trying to spin the assassination against Hillary while accusing 'Washington' of spinning Axelrod.

His unnerved, stuttering demeanor with Blitz was not Presidential. And even worse than his stuttering, his browbeating journalists under pressure and his demeanor, he continues to try to spin the assassination against Hillary. With all respect, he doesn't look like a President, he looks and acts like a squirming worm. Just disgraceful -- worse than Nixon.

Why doesn't Obama fire Axelrod?

Haha. Lazy Journalism, Obama was very articulate in answering wolf last night. Not sure what this "Journalist" was watching.

Bystander -

You are completely WRONG.

A vote in the U.S. from 2002 on the Iraq Weapons Inspection and the use of Force has nothing to do with destabilizing Pakistan.

Obama is not against disrupting other nations directly. Don't forget, Obama has advocated expanding the War on Terrorism within the borders of Pakistan by striking targets within the country without the Pakistani Government's approval. This is, by far, a more aggressive act, which would directly affect the Pakistan and the people of Pakistan.

It is dangerous to take what these guys say without any research. Pakistan has been unstable for decades upon decades upon decades. They are a modern society, mostly made up of moderates. The moderates want their government back. And they WILL overcome. This is a Pakistan problem.

There is something wrong and naive about Obama's campaign & Co whole thought process on this one.

At the beginning of this fight, the press did not routinely, specifically marry Pakistan to the anti-terrorist efforts in Afghanistan. Until the recent Musharraf blunder of Marshal Law, which directly caused civil unrest and rioting, we spoke little about Pakistan in terms of the U.S. War on Terror -- though we gave billions in aid.


To imply that any U.S. vote, whether indirectly or directly, was the impetus to any unrest in Pakistan leading to the assassination of Bhutto is irresponsible. What the people of the world know, as an army of U.S. lawmakers can and have attested too, is that Pakistan has had flares of unrest -- long before the Congress' 2002 vote on Iraq weapons inspections, long before 9/11, again, for decades upon decades.

His comments go on to say that he would:

"...organize a summit with all the Muslim leaders around the world and have a direct conversation with them, our friends and our enemies, about how we can align the Muslim world against these barbaric actions, against terrorism. I believe that part of that will be to begin phasing out our occupation in Iraq, part of it will involve talking to actors like Iran and Syria, to get them to act more responsibly, part of it will be for us to shut down Guantanamo and restore habeas corpus and send a signal to the world that we're doing things differently. That's the kind of non-conventional thinking and approach that we're going to have to take to reverse the decline in our moral standing around the world that inhibits our ability to actually take on terrorism. That's what it's going to take to make us safer and that's what I intend to do as President of the United States."

Our decline in moral standing has inhibited the ability of us to take on terrorism? His solution is to sit down with Muslim leaders and align them? Some of these governments are the reason for the unrest. Currently, in Pakistan it is. So, how is this to work, for us to meet with leaders in Muslim countries, when often times, leaders' goals aren't aligned with Democratic ideals. Additionally, it is not only the prominent Muslim countries of the world where injustices and terrorism lie. His thinking is unconventional among the candidates, indeed. It is unilateral thinking, it does not attack each layer of the problem, and where it broadens the issue, it fails.

Pakistan is of its own. Its problems are hugely contrasting from other Muslim countries, like Iran. Iran's issues are different from Syria. Syria's are different from the Saudi's. We have proper channels in which to communicate to these countries. An intricate knowledge, familiarity and relationship is required, and this is the precise reason for Ambassadors.

How is it that he believes that an assassination on a possible future Democratically elected President on Pakistan wouldn't have happened had we had we restored habeas corpus?

Often times, the root of the problem is not other countries' frustration with the U.S., but their frustration lies with their own government. Additionally, some of these own countries, the moderates in their own countries can fight to solve their own issues.

Barack Obama is an embarrassment to the Democratic Party.

I don't get this Obama thing. Obama can not even be a leader in his own state. The real senator of this state is Durbin even though I may not agree with him on a majority of his stances but he is out there working for the citizens of Illinois and not out hawking books.

What you are going to see is the Race Card coming out. The media has kissed this guys behind. Throwing his guy BP practice pitches.

Get Real People this is not the guy who should be representing the Democratic Party. Remember the old Wendy's commercial " Where's The Beef" This is the perfect slogan for anyone who is running against Obama. This guy only gives you the sizzle and without the steak.

He didn't just imply that Hillary Clinton had some blame in Bhoto's assasination but that all senators that voted to deploy troops to Iraq did, not to mention all other nations that voted to deploy troops there. How is this man going to reach out across partisan lines when he makes these kinds of accusations to score political points? He knows nothing of foreign policy and could not polibly be trusted to represent America on the foreign stage while defending wild accusations like these. This is even worse than his comment that he would invade Pakistan, thereby justifying Musharref's declaration of marshal law. This man needs to go back to the sand box and leave foreign policy to the adults who don't baselessly malign people they are propossing to be able to work with.

He's right, Washington did want to put a spin on this, Hillary wanted to put a spin on this. Neither Obama nor Axelrod said Hillary was directly involved in this assassination. Was she? If not, why is this being stretched so? And, yes, why didn't Lynn Sweet ask Hillary and the Clinton campaign what they meant when they said the Bhutto tragedy would change the politics in Iowa, which Axelrod was only responding to? Where is the answer from Hillary as to why they said that? Why has this been trounced onto Obama and his campaign and Clinton's left unscathed in this arena especially when Obama was correct all along about this and Hillary was incorrect about her vote!!!

Here you go....here is the video you requested. All of you staunch Obama supporters....I laugh. This is fair journalism....this is not the first time he stutters. The one thing that qualifies him for president, the same speech pattern as our current president. Obama is defensive when he has to answer something he doesn't want to answer, he has done that all along when he has to think on his feet. He famously will rephrase the question to what he can answer. Face it, he just doesn't have the depth of subject matter to run our country! The I, I, I, I,....he has done that before... and in this instance was trying to control and talk over Wolf. He should have been prepared and practiced to answer the question on the subject! Go back to the immigration

The war in Iraq caused instability in the region that is going to contribute to events like this happening. I can't understand why that very obvious statement is considered controversial.

And I don't fault Obama for challenging the questions he's asked in debates. Most of the moderators from the press have asked horrible questions that perpetuate simplistic media narratives instead of encouraging thoughtful discussion. Blitzer is one of the worst offenders.

Some pundits complained about the YouTube debate dumbing things down. What I saw in the debate Wolf Blitzer hosted was him taking serious, thoughtful questions from audience members and dumbing it down to an oversimplified one liner. I think the candidates and the public could have an excellent discussion about the issues if the press would stop inserting their cliche narratives and telling us what issues we're supposed to be talking about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDo-XOpoaFU

Watch it for yourself. There was a 2-3 second audio delay. He couldn't get Blitzer to stop talking and couldn't hear himself and Blitzer at the same time. Watch Obama's nonverbals. You have to see this interview, b/c the transcript doesn't really work.

This is an old trick ... CNN knew what they were doing and it was designed to make him sound slow. Frankly, I think Obama wiped the floor with Blitzer. Even after Obama responded to the comment and told about the context, Blitzer still was determined to read the quote again out of context.

By the way, to see what happens when you take people out of context, watch this to see Hillary Clinton talking about her positions on race relations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkUH_ktWy44

Once again Sweet gets off on trying to make Obama look bad. It isn't even a story. She has her head so far up Hillary's . . . it doesn't even make sense. The next time we read a negative article about Clinton, from Sweet, will be a first. Everything she does wrong, Sweet tries to sugarcoat. On the flip side, if Obama doesn't tie his shoe, it becomes a story. Stop cheerleading and be a real journalist. This has gone on for the past 6 months and it’s just disgusting. GO OBAMA!

Anybody who criticized Obama speaking here simply didn't watch the video.

Watch the video people. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDo-XOpoaFU&eurl=http://www.bloggingheads.tv/morevideo/7734

Obama wasn't stuttering, he wasn't uncomfortable with the question, Blitzer was talking over him. He calmly gave his explanation. Blitzer read the quote anyway. Then Obama brought it back to the bigger issue, Terrorism in general and American's safety. He behaved like a leader.


We all know that experience matters -- but what matters most is Judgment, Wisdom, Honesty and Integrity. We have to remember and weigh its seriousness --

that in the most important policy decision of our times, the Iraq War, which has helped to escalate the present situation, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards got it Wrong.

Barack Obama got it Right.

Obama a man of Judgment; a man of Positive Change.

Barack Obama is a gifted speaker and this display was not a display of "public speaking". It was simply a display of totally unprepared remarks. Something that is either in HIM or not. To be frank, this is something that he will pick up in TIME. Time on the job. Aka: On the job training. This is something that Senator Clinton has MASTERED in her life and in her time on the public stage. That is yet one more reason why to support Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign. We are NOT in the position right now to have anyone at the helm of this nation who is still picking up on the nuances of delivering off the cuff remarks. THIS IS WHAT THE PRESIDENCY IS ABOUT! I mean look at Bush. He is an example of someone who has never and will never pick up this skill. In time, we will see this glimmer of inexperience displayed by Senator Barack Obama again and again and it will be magnified. Senator Clinton is quite ready to take on this job from DAY 1. That is something that Senator Barack Obama will one day (NOT now) be ready for. Stay tuned for the debates as I am quite certain that his inexperience will be displayed time and time again. I am totally pro Barack Obama, but I am totally voting for Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign. Just think about this for a second. This remark was just to CNN's Wolf Blitzer. I respect the man greatly, but even I would not stammmer in answering Mr. Blitzer's questions. Everything (good and BAD) in Hillary Clinton's life has prepared her to be on the public stage as our next President. Stay tuned for more action and inaction from the two candidates.

I enjoy comments by "SweetScoop Bloggers" - such a large range of views! Also, Thanks to STNG for posting the video ads now being run in Iowa by the candidates. If Sen. Obama stutters now, he will be cured of it instantly should he becomes president and the great former UPI correspondent Helen Thomas starts asking the hardball questions (sorry Chris Matthews) at White House news conferences. (Someone said Helen has had to sit at the back of the room, instead of the front row, during the Bush presidency news conferences because of her "Answer this question Now Mr. President" directness that apparently makes Pres. Bush stutter or hem and haw). Sen Obama will have to stand the Helen Thomas and other reporters' "crouching tiger" tests. It is what great reporting is all about and no one knew this better than the late Washington reporter Sarah McClerndon (McClerndon News Service)who waited until the exact moment Helen Thomas ended the White House news conference with "Thank-you Mr President" and, as if on cue, Sarah would jump up instantly and ask her question (before the President could leave the podium), "Hey Mr. President it is cold outside this winter! How about some help for people with home heating bills?" Of course, Pres Reagan would hem and haw or pretend not to hear, in which case Sarah would RE-ASK the question more loudly with all network cameras rolling. It was all brilliant journalism theater.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 28, 2007 12:52 AM.

Sweet column: Bhutto assassination may change '08 dynamic. was the previous entry in this blog.

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