Accuracy in Media

The mainstream media loved to mock what they perceived to be President Bush’s lack of intelligence, but even Bush didn’t resort to writing down reporters’ questions during press conferences.

Politico reports that for the second time during his presidency Obama took to writing down a reporters question:

At Tuesday’s press conference, Obama picked Jackie Calmes as his last questioner, and then listened for the better part of a minute as the New York Times reporter talked at length about budget negotiations with Republicans.

Obama finally interrupted: “I should have written all this down — I’m running out of room in my brain!”

The moment might have prompted a feeling of déjà vu — this was not the first time Obama was stumped by a New York Times reporter’s wordy question.

In 2009, Obama called a press conference to mark his first 100 days in office. Jeff Zeleny of The Times caught the president off-guard with this four-part question: “During these first 100 days, what has surprised you most about this office, enchanted you the most about serving in this office, humbled you the most and troubled you the most?”

“Now, let me write this down,” Obama said, taking out a pen from the inside pocket of his jacket, as reporters laughed. “I’ve got, uh — what was the first one? Surprised. Troubled. Enchanted? Nice. And what was the last one? Humbled? All right.”

After taking a few seconds to regain his composure, Obama proceeded to tackle each of the four questions.

Obama has been viewed by the mainstream media as one of the smartest presidents in recent memory, and even if he was doing this in jest it must have been jarring nonetheless. If Obama is having trouble handling the more complex questions, then maybe he should ask that reporters submit them in writing so that he doesn’t overtax his brain.

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