Obama Gets Grilled
Perhaps responding to accusations made by pundits and politicians that Barack Obama has been given kid-glove treatment by the media, reporters at a San Antonio, Texas, press conference made sure they didn’t invite similar criticism Monday night.
“I don’t have any preliminary statement,” Obama said as he began his news conference, encouraging reporters to “just dive in.” That was a mistake.
Tom Raum of the Associated Press led off with a question about whether an Obama aide had told Canadians not to take seriously the candidate’s public rhetoric critical of the NAFTA trade agreement. “Let me, let me, let me, let me just be absolutely clear what happened,” Obama answered, explaining that the meeting was a “courtesy” and involved no “winks and nods.”
Then an agitator — columnist Carol Marin with the Chicago Sun-Times — broke in. Marin, a visitor to the Obama entourage who accused the regulars of being too “quiet,” accused the candidate of concealing details about fundraisers Rezko had for him and a real estate transaction between the two.
“I don’t think it’s fair to suggest somehow that we’ve been trying to hide the ball on this,” Obama answered. But this only provoked a noisy back-and-forth between Marin, Sun-Times colleague Lynn Sweet and Michael Flannery from Chicago’s CBS affiliate. “How many fundraisers? . . . Who was there? . . . Disclosure of the closing documents?”