Steve Krakauer catches this strange coincidence for Mediaite, in which the network appears to take Obama’s advice about Obama. Fox didn’t even bother to cover the visit by Barack Obama to his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill, which featured another strange coincidence in question selection:
Politicos watching President Barack Obama’s question-and-answer with Senate Democrats might notice: Many of the lawmakers pressing the president are vulnerable entering the 2010 election.
So far, Sens. Arlen Specter (Pa.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Barbara Boxer (Calif.) have taken to the microphones to ask Obama questions and, at the same time, stress their Democratic bona fides. …
Specter is trailing Republican challenger Pat Toomey (Pa.) in preliminary polls, despite a six-term incumbency. Meanwhile, Bennet’s seat is regarded as a toss-up, and Lincoln has faced near-crippling pressure from her opponents on the healthcare front.
While Obama won kudos for his appearance with Republicans last week from the media, and Republicans benefited from the media’s coverage of their policy proposals, very few appear impressed with today’s event. Krakauer himself noted the banality of the echo chamber feel of Obama’s appearance:
It was (sort of) Presidential Question Time, Part Two today, as Pres. Barack Obama addressed the Democratic Senators at their retreat.
It turned out to be far less of a pull-back-the-curtain moment … As a whole, the event turned out to be more of a chance for Democrats in contested races to speak on a big platform with the President – and less of a real give-and-take than Friday.
Following a few of the White House press corps’ Twitter feeds gave the same impression:
“I don’t think a D on D #QuestionTime works as well. Feels too staged. U also may need a random way to select questioners,” wrote Nate Silver, a political statistician at fivethirtyeight.com. …
“This Q&A was a lot more boring than the last Q&A,” wrote Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein.
The fact that five of the six Democrats who asked questions are up for reelection in November did not go unnoticed either.
“Takeaway from obama sen dems meeting: new transparency. It’s transparent that this was forum for vulnerable dems 2 campaign,” wrote CNN’s Dana Bash.
There was little tension and nothing said that hadn’t already been expressed over the past year. Perhaps in the future, the House and Senate could schedule these events and give equal time to Democrats and Republicans for questions, which would make it a more precedent-setting environment and allow for better transparency in the actual halls of power.