Tuesday was a tough night for Democrats and Obama's whiny, defensive press conference in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday didn't make things any better. While repeatedely saying he took "responsiblity" for the bad result, he always seemed to find a way to suggest that it wasn't his fault.
He said he wanted to work with Republicans and will listen to their ideas. We've heard this a dozen times by now and when push comes to shove he always demanded we do it his way. At one point in the press conference he said: "it comes to job creation, if Republicans have good ideas for job growth that can drive down the unemployment rate, and we haven’t thought of them, we haven’t looked at them but we think they have a chance of working, we want to try some." Republicans have been trying to share their ideas for job growth with Obama from the first day of his Administration and he's dismissed nearly all of them. Same thing with health care.
Once again, Obama talked about the "pretty big mess" he inherited and used that tired old analogy of the car in the ditch one more time claiming that Republicans were "pushing in opposite direction" from where he wanted to go.
Reporters Critical Questions
You can read Obama's stale rhetoric for yourself if you choose. Here's the White House transcript. What I found more interesting were the critical questions being asked by reporters. Here's a sample:
Ben Feller AP: Are you willing to concede at all that what happened last night was not just an expression of frustration about the economy, but a fundamental rejection of your agenda? And given the results, who do you think speaks to the true voice of the American people right now: you or John Boehner?Does this questioning mean the "news" media will suddenly be more critical of Obama? Alas, we've seen it all before. News editors and anchors are likely highlight soundbites of the best of Obama's response and leave critical questioning or Obama's stumbling answers on the cutting room floor.
Savannah Guthrie NBC: Just following up on what Ben just talked about, you don’t seem to be reflecting or second-guessing any of the policy decisions you’ve made, instead saying the message the voters were sending was about frustration with the economy or maybe even chalking it up to a failure on your part to communicate effectively. If you’re not reflecting on your policy agenda, is it possible voters can conclude you’re still not getting it? Would you still resist the notion that voters rejected the policy choices you made?
Peter Baker NYTimes: After your election two years ago, when you met with Republicans you said that, in discussing what policies might go forward, that elections have consequences, and that you pointed out that you had won. I wonder what consequences you think this election should have then, in terms of your policies. Are there areas that you’re willing -- can you name today areas that you would be willing to compromise on that you might not have been willing to compromise on in the past?
Ed Henry CNN: On personal, you had a lot of fun on the campaign trail by saying that the Republicans were drinking a Slurpee and sitting on the sidelines while you were trying to pull the car out of the ditch. But the point of the story was that you said if you want to go forward, you put the car in “D”; if you want to go backwards, you put it in “R.” Now that there are least 60 House districts that seem to have rejected that message, is it possible that there are a majority of Americans who think your policies are taking us in reverse? And what specific changes will you make to your approach to try to fix that and better connect with the American people?
Followup: the idea that your policies are taking the country in reverse. You just reject that idea altogether that your policies could be going in reverse?
Matt Spetalnick Reuters: How do you respond to those who say the election outcome, at least in part, was voters saying that they see you as out of touch with their personal economic pain? And are you willing to make any changes in your leadership style?
But the very fact that the reporter for the New York Times is willing to ask such a question may mean that such critical reporting of Obama may escape the editor and leak into the paper and the wider press by osmosis.