Unlike the past, which was Questions and Evasions.
He did actually answer every single question, and he stayed on point each time. I have a finely tuned bs meter, and the needle never did anything more than sort of make a small twitch off of the zero peg. He was certainly more impressive than was the media. Gak.
How long has it been since we have has a President who could explain anything as clearly as President Obama explained the charitable deduction issue last night?
In that sense, what it would do is it would equalize -- when I give $100, I'd get the same amount of deduction as when some -- a bus driver who's making $50,000 a year, or $40,000 a year, gives that same $100. Right now, he gets 28 percent -- he gets to write off 28 percent. I get to write off 39 percent. I don't think that's fair.
Or can turn an objection on its head as quickly.
…are you confident the charities are wrong when they contend that this would discourage giving?
OBAMA: Yes, I am. I mean, if you look at the evidence, there's very little evidence that this has a significant impact on charitable giving.
I'll tell you what has a significant impact on charitable giving, is a financial crisis and an economy that's contracting. And so the most important thing that I can do for charitable giving is to fix the economy…
Then there was this from Chuck Todd,
Thank you, Mr. President. Some have compared this financial crisis to a war. And in times of war, past presidents have called for some form of sacrifice.
Why, given this new era of responsible that you're asking for, why haven't you asked for something specific that the public should be sacrificing to participate in this economic recovery?
Before we get to the President’s answer, that may be the most inane thing I have heard asked at a news conference in years. I used to respect Chuck Todd, but I think he just looked at too many poll numbers during the election and it did something to his mind.
Anyone comparing a declining economy to a war, a comparison I have not heard used by the way, is an idiot and Chuck Todd is an idiot to bring that comparison into the question. And asking why the President hasn’t asked for the public, the public, to be sacrificing “something specific” in this crisis is stupifyingly idiotic.
I’m surprised that President Obama didn’t just tell him to shut up and sit down so that somebody else could ask a sensible question, but after talking about requiring sacrifices from Wall Street, he did say this,
With respect to the American people, I think folks are sacrificing left and right. I mean, you've got a lot of parents who are cutting back on everything to make sure that their kids can still go to college. You've got workers who are deciding to cut an entire day -- an entire day's worth of pay so that their fellow co-workers aren't laid off.
Todd was sufficiently self-absorbed not to realize he had been bitch slapped and had the nerve to sort of babble a rather incoherent follow-up. I have lost any trace of respect for him. He’s been palling around with Dick Gregory.
Jake Tapper, ABC’s version of a Basset Hound and just about as coherent, asked about signing a congressional budget bill that hasn’t even been drafted yet. I think he was competing with Todd for the inanity award. President Obama had to answer the same question twice, that he wouldn’t decide whether or not to sign it until it actually existed, because Tapper didn’t understand the answer the first time. I don’t think Tapper understood the second answer either, but they didn’t allow him a third try.
At one point the President said this, which practically had me cheering,
I mean, when you have an economy in which the majority of growth is coming from the financial sector, when AIG selling a derivative is counted as an increase in the gross domestic product, then that's not a model for sustainable economic growth.
I could not agree more, and my thoughts on that will be the subject of a whole future post. I am cheered by the suggestion that the President gets what is wrong with the nature of our economy, though, even if it doesn't square up with any of the actions currently being taken by his Treasury Department with respect to Wall Street.
The best of the night, and I’m sure what will be most quoted,
It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak.
That will make him pretty much unique in Washington.
Update: Wednesday, 9:00am
Ding, ding, ding, okay we already have a candidate to supercede both Todd and Tapper for the Inanity Award. It's still early, but Ron Fournier of the Associated Press comes out with an article today under a headline that contains "Analysis," "Teleprompter" and "caution" to describe President Obama's press conference last night. Go read his drivel at the link if you want, but the headline pretty much says it all.