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Too Bad Presidents Can Be Asked Uncomfy Questions

December 13, 2008

The President-elect (the guy who promised more transparency and openness of the government during his tenure) is already known for not enjoying it when journalists ask him questions that go too far beyond “Oh, worthy Healer and Redeemer, how does His Oneness enjoy the weather today?” (Remember “Why can’t I just eat my waffle?” or “But Jake, we’re on a tarmac!”)

Now we hear that the Obama team, which has been frequently lauded for their savvy use of the communication technologies most favoured by Generation i-pod, is savvily using their “Open for Questions” feature on the Obama Transition website to avoid questions. Ben Smith reports that all questions containing the “inappropriate” term “Blagojevich” got red-flagged on the site.

The Blagojevich questions — many of them polite and reasonable — can be found only by searching words in them, like “Blagojevich,” which produces 35 questions missing from the main page of the site.

“Given the current corruption charges involving Blagojevich, will ‘serious’ campaign finance reform that takes money completely out of politics through publicly funded elections be a priority in the first term?” asked Metteyya of Santa Cruz, California.

“This submission was removed because people believe it is inappropriate,” reads the text underneath it.

Also removed as “inappropriate”:

“In light of the recent corruption scandals (Blagojevich, Rangel, Jefferson, Stevens, etc) that have dominated the political scene,is there any ethics legislation being crafted to actually curb corruption and prevent another wave of nixonian cynicism?”, a question from “lupercal,” of Gainesville.

And: “Is Barack Obama aware of any communications in the last six weeks between Rod Blagojevich or anyone representing Rod Blagojevich and any of Obama’s top aides?”, a question from Phil from Pennsylvania.

The Associated Press writes today that the announcement of M Obama’s pick of Shaun Donovan for the Department of Housing and Urban Development was uncharacteristically shy:

[T]he rollout of the selection — announced at 6 a.m. Saturday via e-mail and later in Mr. Obama’s Saturday radio address — broke with how Mr. Obama has announced previous cabinet positions. For his other appointees, Mr. Obama invited reporters to a news conference, along with the nominee, and took questions.

The AP continues:

Mr. Obama’s last news conference on Thursday, to introduce former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as his pick for Health and Human Services, was dominated by questions about the corruption scandal swirling around Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is accused of putting Mr. Obama’s Senate seat up for sale.

Hmm, why have those two paragraphs directly one after the other? You are not suggesting anything, AP, are you?

The French Cowboy, for one, is getting the impression (confirmed) that M Obama is either a sissy or that he has something to hide or both.

And here is a note to all men and women who are considering to run for the presidency: if you don’t have the stomach to take legitimate questions from the media then better find another way to make a living than by being the president. And if you don’t have the stomach to take really stupid, unfair, and annoying questions from the media then don’t run as a Republican.


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