Alex Flies Solo at White House

I’m sure she’ll be along soon to regale us, but in the meantime, here’s a screenshot of our White House correspondent in action.

Alex

Video: Chip Reid and Helen Thomas Give Gibbs What-the-Frak-For

Man, I miss all the good stuff!

At today’s White House Press Briefing, Chip Reid and Helen Thomas went at Robert Gibbs like he was a piñata.  The subject was the President’s town hall meeting on healthcare today, and the manner in which the questions were selected.  Reid starts the show, and Helen tags in about halfway through to deliver the scissor-kick: (h/t Hot Air)

It’s a matter of record that I admire Helen a great deal, and when I say that she (along with Reid) may have been overstating a few things (particularly with regard to “Pitney-gate”), that’s also what makes her such a great correspondent.

There’s no doubt that a significant amount of stagecraft went into the town hall meeting, and the dynamic duo obviously have a point, evidenced by Gibbs’ attempts to avoid it: (via email) Continue reading

White House on Michael Jackson

Before I get to Robert Gibbs’ statement on the death of Michael Jackson, here’s my personal favorite performance:

MJ superfan Jake Tapper broached the subject first, and Gibbs related some of the President’s thoughts: Continue reading

New Wrinkle in Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell Fight: Just Don’t Ask About the Told

This week, a new strategy emerged in the effort to keep brave and qualified gay soldiers in the military, despite the still-in-effect-for-the-foreseeable-future “Don’t ask/Don’t tell” policy.  From Advocate.com’s Kerry Eleveld:

Seventy-seven Congressional members led by Democratic Representative Alcee Hastings of Florida sent a letter to President Barack Obama Monday urging him to take immediate action to stop the investigations of “don’t ask, don’t tell” violations. The letter does not call for an executive order halting discharges but rather a change in how the policy is implemented within the Department of Defense.

“It is a presidential moratorium, it is a significant presidential action, but it’s not an executive order,” said Christopher Neff, political director at the Palm Center, a research institute at University of California, Santa Barbara. “They basically want the military to disregard anyone who ‘tells’ [of someone’s sexuality] as long as there isn’t a [Uniform Code of Military Justice] violation or something criminal.”

Kerry asked Robert Gibbs about it at yesterday’s briefing, explaining it well in the process:
Continue reading

President Obama Demands Ahmadinejad Apologize to His People…Sort Of

eye_on_the_WH

At a press conference earlier today, President Obama was asked, by the New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny, if he thought Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad owed him an apology for comparing him to George W. Bush.  The President’s answer seemed to indicate that he thought Ahmadinejad ought to think about apologizing to his own people.  I asked Robert Gibbs to clarify the President’s statement at today’s White House Press Briefing:

TC: (Jeff) asked if the President felt that President Ahmadinejad owed him an apology for comparing him to President Bush, and in his reply, the President all but — he stopped just short of saying that he thought that President Ahmadinejad owed an apology to his people. He didn’t quite say that, but would you — do you think that’s what he was saying?

MR. GIBBS: I’d simply point you to what he said. I think he was fairly clear on what he meant and who it was directed to.

That sounds like a “yes” to me, but you be the judge.  Here’s what the President said:

In any case, it was a good answer to the kind of question that doesn’t usually get one.  The President’s obviously not going to engage in verbal volleyball with Ahmadinejad, but he managed to put the gossipy question into a weightier context.

Video: Gibbs Zings Fox News

Man, I hope this doesn’t throw a monkeywrench into #CartoonMajor.  Press Secretary Robert Gibbs FTW:

Updated with Video: Robert Gibbs Gets Dunked By Press Corps

Update: We have video! (including slow-mo)

Here are a couple of quick photos of a pre-and-post dunking tank Robert Gibbs.  The AP’s Ben Feller and CBS News’ Bill Plante managed to drop Gibbs once each.

Gibbs_dunk2

Gibbs_dunk1

Thursday’s White House Press Briefing

eye_on_the_WH

Transcript after the jump.


Continue reading

Major #CartoonMajor News

Cartoon_TommyXtopher_WHouse

Update: I emailed the avatar to Major Garrett this morning, after having changed my own icon to a South Park cartoon.  #CartoonMajor freaks, hold on to your butts: (via email)

Tommy! Thanks for the South Park me. This may do it!

Try to react with some dignity, please!
cartoonmajor

Update: Major says “This weekend…if I can figure it out.”

Jun 18, 2009 @ 20:22

If you don’t know what #cartoonmajor means, you might just want to skip this one.

Fox News White House correspondent Major Garrett is a recent addition to the Twitter community, having joined a couple of weeks ago. Almost immediately, folks began to suggest icons for Garrett, as he currently uses a default avatar.

Then, some conservative tweeps launched a campaign to get Garrett to use an icon based on the South Park cartoon series, while simultaneously annoying the crap out of Jake Tapper.
Continue reading

Fox News Whines About HuffPo Reporter’s ‘First-Rate Treatment’

wahmbulance

President Obama’s press conference today was barely finished today when Fox News posted a story on their website about how a Huffington Post reporter got “first rate treatment.”  Read what’s got them in a tizzy while I get them some cheese to go with their whine:

White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest personally escorted National Editor Nico Pitney to the jam-packed presser from the lower press and personally created space for him near the front of the briefing room.
No one else received that kind of treatment. After the president’s opening statement, he called on Pitney second to The Associated Press and by name. He also appeared to have some advance heads up into the coming question.

As a matter of fact, it seems the White House knew that HuffPo was soliciting questions from Iranians, and invited Pitney to ask on their behalf.  Such villainy!

Oh, and about that special treatment.  Sure, it’s a little bit special for a blogger, but I’d point out that Fox’s Major Garrett, along with al of the other TV people, got to sit down in the first 2 rows, and routinely get to ask the President and/or Robert Gibbs, a Facebook quiz’s worth of questions.

As one of the few bloggers who ever gets a question in at briefings, I can tell you that none of us want to hear the TV people crying about this.  Just eat your goddam steak and let us enjoy our bone.

Update: Ed Morrissey says Politico’s “whining” about it too.  I checked it out, and they’ve obviously updated it since then, lowering the pitch.  Still, I had a tirade all ready to go, so here is why I don’t want to hear it from Politico, either.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve called the Obama press office, during and since the campaign, and been the first reporter to ask them about a story, only to have them promise to call me back and then feed the answer to Politico hours later.  I get that they’re the bigger platform, it’s not their fault, but again, cry me a freaking river.  In the spectrum of injustice, the President rewarding responsive journalism ranks pretty low.  From Politico:

Deputy press secretary Bill Burton responds: “We did reach out to him prior to press conference to tell him that we had been paying attention to what he had been doing on Iran and there was a chance that he’d be called on. And, he ended up asking the toughest question that the President took on Iran. In the absence of an Iranian press corps in Washington, it was an innovative way to get a question directly from an Iranian.”