More Press Conference Awards

MORE PRESS CONFERENCE AWARDS….Over at Tapped, Michael Tomasky has an award of his own for Most Revealing Answer:

[Edwin] Chen asked Bush exactly the right, on-point question: What, if anything, did you do in response to the PDB? Here’s the salient portion of Bush’s answer:

Now in the, what’s called the P.D.B. there was a warning about bin Laden’s desires on America. Frankly, I didn’t think that was anything new. I mean major newspapers had talked about bin Laden’s desires on hurting America. What was interesting in there was that there was a report that the F.B.I. was conducting field investigations. And that was good news that they were doing their job.

So now we have an answer to an important question: He did nothing. The FBI was on the case, and he was satisfied.

Michael also notes that the tenor of Bush press conferences is different from that of past presidents because no one asks followup questions:

The follow-up question was always when Dan Rather or Sam Donaldson or whomever really bore in; the questioner had the crucial opportunity to press the point after the first evasion. This second pass created press conferences that were entirely different in tenor from what we saw last night. But with Bush, the first evasion is all we get.

I too am mystified about why reporters don’t do more followups. Bush’s evasion about why he insisted on testifying before the 9/11 commission with Dick Cheney holding his hand practically cried out for a followup. But no one took the bait.