The mean Obama, again

Does Obama come off as a mean person? I think that more people are hopefully finally getting to see this less appealing side of him. How about this interview with a reporter from Texas?
President Obama has troubles with voters in Texas, and, apparently, with interviewers from the Lone Star State as well.

"Let me finish my answers the next time we do an interview, all right?" Obama told reporter Brad Watson after an interview with WFAA-TV of Dallas, one of four interviews with local television stations at the White House on Monday.

The exchange is toward the end of the video.

At one point, Watson asked the president: "Why do you think you're so unpopular in Texas?"

After some jousting about the size of his loss in Texas in 2008 -- the president said it was "a few percentage points," but it was more like 11.8% -- Obama told his interviewer: "If what you're telling me is that Texas is a conservative state, you're absolutely right." . . .
UPDATE: Politico headlines this "The outburst heard 'round the world'"
When the even-keeled and cool President Obama gets prickly in public, it never goes unnoticed.

For Obama, who has carefully cultivated a reputation of easily managing confrontations with people who disagree with him, these moments are as rare as they are revealing of the person behind the presidency.

So it’s no surprise that Washington took notice when after a tense interview with a Texas TV reporter on Monday, Obama unclipped his microphone with no smile in sight, and tersely warned, “Let me finish my answers next time we do an interview, all right?”

The president of the United States was not happy. Obama had been corrected (he lost Texas by 12 points, not “a few,” in 2008), he was accused of punishing the state for political reasons (he denied that the White House had any part in the decision not to award a space shuttle to Houston), and he was challenged with the most basic of political questions: Why are you so unpopular in Texas? . . .

The problem: The reporter’s questions weren’t particularly difficult, but they were clearly not what Obama was expecting. The result was a viral video that depicted Obama as angry when faced with tough questioning. And it unveiled some of the degree to which the White House would like to control its message. . . .

Pfeiffer was asked by Time reporter Michael Scherer, “So will WFAA's Brad Watson get another interview one day?”

Instead of quickly taking the high road, Pfeiffer suggested that Watson may truly be out in the cold after irritating the president. And he did it by revealing yet another trick of Washington communications: playing one news outlet against its rival. . . .

This isn't the only problem that Obama has had with local reporters going off the approved script.

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Blogger dWj said...

Often when a politician stands up to the media, I think, "Good for him," and I thought that when I first heard about this, but then I actually saw it, and you're right; he doesn't even get talking back to the media right. (Tone and so on can be hard to teach, but the first thing his handlers should do is mention that it's a lot harder to make "let me finish my answers" not come across as mean after an interview than it is during an interview; if you think you're being cut off, waiting to mention it after the fact serves no constructive purpose, and it's harder to give a favorable spin to it that way.)

4/19/2011 6:25 PM  

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