GIBBS PUSHES BACK…. After the president’s prime-time press conference this week, two of the more popular topics of conversation in major media outlets were Obama reading an opening statement — I still have no idea why this is a “story” — and the president not calling on reporters from major daily newspapers.
MS. ROMANO: The teleprompter changed last night.
MR. GIBBS: Mm-hmm.
MS. ROMANO: What was that about that? It’s a big jumbotron now.
MR. GIBBS: You know can I tell you this?
MS. ROMANO: Yes.
MR. GIBBS: I am absolutely amazed that anybody in America cares about who the President picks at a news conference or the mechanism by which he reads his prepared remarks. You know, I guess America is a wonderful country.
MS. ROMANO: You’re saying this is all Washington Beltway stuff?
MR. GIBBS: I don’t even know if it’s that. I don’t think I should implicate the many people that live in Washington.
MR. GIBBS: No, I you know, I don’t think the President let me just say this: My historical research has demonstrated that the President is not the first to use prepared remarks nor the first to use a teleprompter.
I’ve been watching presidential press conferences for about as long as I can remember, and seeing presidents begin with an opening statement is hardly unusual. The difference this week, I suppose, is that Obama read from a screen, while his modern predecessors read from pieces of paper. This, for odd reasons I’ll never understand, has caused quite a stir among most of the media establishment.
Given this, Gibbs’ response to Romano sounds about right.