Video: Obama snaps at reporter for asking ‘off topic’ Syria question

posted at 12:41 pm on May 28, 2014 by Guy Benson

Notable for two reasons, which we’ll address after the clip:

“I’m sorry, we’re doing a science fair — c’mon. C’mon.”

Granted, reporters can be obnoxious. They sometimes ask questions that seem inane and inappropriate for the moment, then decline to ask pressing, relevant questions when the moment demands it. But this particular journalist’s sin was asking an important question of the Commander in Chief at the tail end of an unrelated White House photo-op. The president’s response is pointed and peevish. He’s visibly angry that she exploited an opening to ask about reports that the United States is stepping up efforts to aid and train Syrian rebels. Disgusted, Obama scolds her for ‘going there’ by violating the sanctity of the photo-op with an inquiry about an unapproved topic. Which brings me to the promised analysis:

(1) According to Politico’s recent poll of the White House press corps, reporters gave the Obama administration low marks on accessibility and transparency. Asked how many times their news organization has been granted an exclusive interview with Obama, a majority respondents said ‘zero.’ Follow up: “How does that number compare to any past presidents you’ve covered?” Result: ‘Fewer’ outpaced ‘more’ by a 31-point margin. On the question of which recent administration has been more forthcoming with information with reporters, Team Bush topped Team O, 41 percent to five percent. That’s a striking number. In his first term, Obama held fewer press conferences than any president in the last 25 years. An intrepid correspondent might be forgiven, therefore, for taking a stab at an important question when an imperfect opportunity presented itself. Obama was having none of it, and decided to make an example of the transgressor. His antipathy was palpable.

(2) By the way, what is America’s Syria policy these days? And when was the last time President Obama answered a question about it? When we last covered the issue over at Townhall more than a month ago, the US government was looking into allegations that the Assad regime had once again crossed the chemical weapons “red line” — making a further mockery of last year’s half-baked, essentially accidental (and empirically failed) disarmament deal. A few weeks later, Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to confirm the worst:

Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Thursday that he has seen “raw data” indicating that the Syrian government has used chlorine gas as a chemical weapon in a “number of ­instances” in recent months. “There will be consequences” if evidence of new chemical use is confirmed, Kerry said, but “we’re not going to pin ourselves down to a precise date, time, manner of action.”

There will be consequences, but we won’t say when or how they’ll be meted out. Fearsome stuff. The problem, of course, is that the president already ‘pinned us down‘ on a military response to chemical weapons use. The so-called compromise that averted such an action required the Syrians to turn over all of their illegal weapons stockpiles along a strict timeline. They quite obviously haven’t fully complied; allegedly employing deadly gases again is an overtly brazen move. The regime apparently made the calculation that any potential downside of sticking a thumb in America’s eye was minimal, at least compared to the tactical value of poisoning the opposition en masse. It sounds as though the US is preparing to respond by training anti-Assad rebels (how thoroughly vetted will they be?), but that report is yet unconfirmed. Because “we’re doing a science fair. C’mon.” So don’t even think about asking about this.

That foreign policy pivot is going swimmingly so far.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Come on Meow.

Bmore on May 28, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Guess that should actually read.

C’mon, c’mon Meow.

Bmore on May 28, 2014 at 5:56 PM

So the VA is melting down and Obama is doing science fairs?

TexasDan on May 28, 2014 at 5:34 AM

The prezy is just rising to his level of competence .

Bakokitty on May 28, 2014 at 6:03 PM

Was that Alexis Simendinger asking the question?

tanarg on May 28, 2014 at 6:29 PM

So the VA is melting down and Obama is doing science fairs?
 
TexasDan on May 28, 2014 at 5:34 AM

 
The prezy is just rising to his level of competence .
 
Bakokitty on May 28, 2014 at 6:03 PM

 
You know he was the kid with the volcano.

rogerb on May 28, 2014 at 6:57 PM

Are we all not so tired this act, that we could just barf? Who does he think he is intimidating at this point? Has he not worn out the red carpet by now? What is the opposite of noblesse oblige? Whatever it is, he’s got it. We will suffer under the worst possible post-presidency, far out-doing the pathetic Carter mess. It’s time to rebel. Call him a cad and a bounder and a scalawag and a scoundrel, to his fat, sad, melting face. Make him face the insults and offenses. He can no longer repel them.

Esaus Message on May 28, 2014 at 7:09 PM

He heads down the hallway and yells “hey” so he can point her out to The IRS for an audit.

Conservative4Ever on May 28, 2014 at 7:26 PM

So the VA is melting down and Obama is doing science fairs?

TexasDan on May 28, 2014 at 5:34 AM

The prezy is just rising to his level of competence .

Bakokitty on May 28, 2014 at 6:03 PM

Basically. The VA and its ‘constituents’ are not his voter base so he doesn’t care about them. He’s protecting the IRS, EPA, DOJ etc. But ICE, VA? Nah, they don’t fit within his world view.

LaughterJones on May 28, 2014 at 7:26 PM

We’re not living up to the promise of most transparent administration ever because, STFU!

hawkdriver on May 28, 2014 at 7:46 PM

It doesn’t matter where Obama is, or where the reporter asked the question, the problem was the reporter wasn’t following “the script”.

Sterling Holobyte on May 28, 2014 at 7:46 PM

War on women folk

SouthernGent on May 28, 2014 at 7:50 PM

A reporter’s apology:

“Sorry, Mr. President, I was looking at next week’s script.”

Picaro on May 28, 2014 at 8:52 PM

It’s moments like these that reveal the most about this petulant, arrogant man-child.

WhatsAMattaU on May 28, 2014 at 9:39 PM

Shall we call this Obysmal’s “My Pet Goat” moment? (although he has lots of them when the questions are off script.

O can’t answer the question because he doesn’t know what Jarrett has cooked up.

onlineanalyst on May 28, 2014 at 9:52 PM

And the affected swagger as he exits stage right (or is it stage left?) is laughable.

MAzingrace on May 28, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Nothing new to see here, keep on walking, folks.

Sherman1864 on May 28, 2014 at 11:49 PM

That was pretty mild for jug ears, actually.

Sherman1864 on May 29, 2014 at 12:56 AM

Can we see his science fair project? Did he plot the temperature rising as the globe was warming yesterday? Did he glue a cut-out picture of Al Gore holding a hockey-stick?

Oh, that’s right, I forgot, his science-fair submission is sealed.

He was ticked off that he didn’t win and the last thing he needed to hear was a reporter asking him about work (C’mon, man!).

virgo on May 29, 2014 at 2:59 AM

President Stompy-foot strikes again.

Sterling Holobyte on May 29, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Always a weeney. Never misses an opportunity to use the bully pulpit; but can’t stand up to the responsibility.

StevC on May 30, 2014 at 12:47 PM

He is such an a-hole

Dino V on May 30, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Comment pages: 1 2