Yesterday, after the President parried shouted questions at a meeting with the Prime Minister of Greece by promising an open press conference today, my Twitter news feed erupted with “BREAKING” announcements from news media outlets announcing today’s presser at 3 pm. It’s a measure of how infrequently Barack Obama holds open press conferences with White House correspondents that his aside at the end of the availability made for news flashes from the majors. It’s only his third since re-election, and the first since April, although he did a joint appearance in May with David Cameron.
The question that prompted the promise — “Is the reset over?” — is likely to be repeated today. Russia will very much be on the minds of reporters after Obama snubbed Vladimir Putin over the Edward Snowden asylum case, but it won’t be the only issue at hand, or at least shouldn’t be. In fact, this seems like a strange time to hold an open forum, as Obama will go on vacation for eight days immediately afterward. Normally I defend presidential vacations — every President takes them, they all stay on the job the entire time anyway, and the Martha’s Vineyard destination is fairly unremarkable — but this is a very curious time to take a leave from the White House. The US has closed 19 embassies around the Eastern Hemisphere due to the biggest national-security threat since 9/11 … and the President is going to the beach? Just on the basis of optics, this is a strange decision, and it will be very curious to see if any reporter asks about it today.
That’s not the only question about Obama’s vacation plans, either:
President Barack Obama and his family fly this weekend to Martha’s Vineyard for a vacation at a rented multimillion-dollar modernist home owned by Chicago investment banker and Democratic Party donor David Schulte. …
Schulte is a managing general partner at the corporate finance firm Chilmark Partners. In 1990, he teamed up with billionaireSam Zell to form the $1 billion Zell-Chilmark Fund to buy control of financially distressed companies.
Chilmark’s investments included mattress maker Sealy Corp., Carter Hawley Hale Stores, Schwinn Bicycle Co., and radio station operator Jacor Communications Inc. When Clear Channel Communications Inc. bought Jacor in 1999 for about $4.4 billion in stock and assumed debt, the fund earned a profit of more than $1 billion.
Schulte has given $90,350 to Democratic candidates and party committees since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group. He contributed to Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns as well as his earlier Senate run, and gave the maximum $28,500 to the Democratic National Committee in 2008.
Of course, it will be very curious to see how many questions reporters get to ask. President Obama has a habit of showing up late and offering lengthy, meandering answers that limit queries. Hugh Hewitt has set the over/under for today:
Over-under on # of "reporters" who will get Qs (and "follow-ups") in today's presser? 8
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) August 9, 2013
I’m taking the under on that one. I’ll be on the air when the presser begins, but Allahpundit and Mary Katharine will be on hand to grab anything significant.