04 Mar 2008

Obama’s Press Honeymoon Coming to an End

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The first drops of blood are in the water, and reporters are aggressively circling an Obama campaign (which is beginning to paddle frantically) with questions about secret reassurances to Canadian officials about NAFTA and questions about Obama’s real estate deal with financier Antoin Rezko, currently on trial for politically-associated extortion.

As Susan Estrich recently predicted, the relationship of the press to Barack Obama may be about to change from that of teenage girl to pop star to that of predator to prey.

NBC describes the Big Zero fleeing a barrage of hostile questions. Poor guy! he’s not used to that kind of thing.

Led by the Chicago press corps that has covered Obama for years, the candidate today faced a barrage of questions in what turned out to be a contentious news conference.

Questions centered on why his campaign had denied that a meeting occurred between his chief economic advisor and Canadian officials as well as questions on his relationship with Tony Rezko, a Chicago land developer and fast food magnate, now on trial for corruption charges.

Obama claimed that when he had first denied the meeting between Austan Goolsbee and any members of the Canadian administration he provided “the information that [he] had at the time.”

He added, “Nobody reached out to the Canadians to try to reassure them. They reached out, unbeknownst to the rest of us; They reached out to Mr. Goolsbee, who provided them with a tangible conversation and repeated what we’ve said on the campaign trail.”

When did the meeting take place? Why did the Canadian officials reach out? Did Goolsbee not come forward right away and admit the meeting to Campaign Manager David Plouffe and Obama when both denied it last week? These are questions that went unanswered as the press conference was cut short. …

Toward the end of the press conference, the question of Goolsbee’s meeting was raised again. Obama answered curtly and then walked out after a staffer called last question. The press erupted with shouts, but Obama continued to walk out.

He paused only to say, “Come on guys; I answered like eight questions. We’re running late.”

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