The replacement for the ‘overexposed’ talking point

THE REPLACEMENT FOR THE ‘OVEREXPOSED’ TALKING POINT…. Way back during the presidential transition, then-President-elect Obama held so many press conferences and media availabilities, it seemed reporters were running out of questions.

After the inauguration, President Obama held a series of prime-time press conferences, covering a wide variety of issues. By the summer, the media was largely divided between the journalists who a) complained about the president being “overexposed”; b) complained that the news conferences were dull and unnecessary; a c) complained that the president’s Q&A sessions were costing the networks too much money.

So, after a press conference in July, the White House scaled back. Now, the media that complained about too many opportunities to ask Obama questions is complaining about too few opportunities. Yesterday, Fox News had this report.

President Obama is preparing for his State of the Union address, expected sometime in the next month, but some in the White House press corps are getting antsy for him to hold a news conference with reporters, something he hasn’t done since July 22, almost six months ago.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday he doesn’t know when Obama may face reporters’ questions again.

“I don’t see one on the schedule, at least in the short term, which is precisely what I said,” Gibbs said, adding, “The last time we had this conversation here about the president’s media strategy, I was informed by many of you that the president was overexposed.”

It wasn’t, by the way, just Fox News — real outlets ran stories about this yesterday, too.

Transcripts of White House press briefings don’t tell us which reporters ask which questions, but apparently Helen Thomas got the discussion started yesterday, asking when the next news conference would be. The transcript quoted her as saying, “I mean, he’s gone an obscenely long time, not holding one.”

This follows a Washington Post editorial that ran over the weekend, arguing that in the wake of the failed Christmas terrorist plot, President Obama’s three speeches, weekly address, security review memo, and directive on corrective actions were welcome, but what he really needs to do is hold a press conference.

I get the sense these folks are hard to please. As Mark Knoller noted, Obama has given more speeches, comments, statements, and interviews at this point in his term than any other president in modern history. It’s what started the “overexposed” nonsense in the first place.

But yesterday, press secretary Robert Gibbs was nevertheless asked, “Is he avoiding us?”