Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama and House Republicans: The Smackdown We've Been Waiting For?

Right now, both CNN and MSNBC are showing highlights from President Obama's Q&A session at the Republican caucus meeting today. Apparently it was the White House's idea for camera's to be present. Afterwards at least one Republican admitted regretting that they allowed the cameras to roll. From the coverage I've seen so far, Obama made Republican leadership look like petulant children for over an hour. It's hard to imagine another scenario where Obama could so thoroughly dismantle Republican talking points in front of hundreds of Republican representatives while also reaching out to those same Republicans. I mean, I don't know how the media interpretation of this will develop over time, but right now it's coming off like the president was a man among boys. It looks like he's bargaining in good faith while clearly showing that the other side is not. This looks like a disaster for Congressional Republicans. B.S. only works as a legislative tactic if you don't have cameras rolling while the president dismantles your B.S. for over an hour.

Everyone on TV right now is calling it "extraordinary political theater." From what I've seen, I agree.

Did anybody see it live? I have to step out for a bit, so I'm going to miss the cable TV coverage. It looks like you can see the whole Q&A here. Or, here's full video and transcript.


Elizabeth said...

Oh man, I wish Mason wasn't studying b/c he watched it earlier on CSPAN. He said Obama was very, very good and definitely did- and came off as- you're describing.

But how will conservative news channels cover it? Does it matter?

Dave said...

I read that Fox News cut away from it during the Q&A. But both CNN and MSNBC stayed with it. That must mean Fox thought the president was looking good. Later, one of Fox's news shows (Shepard Smith's show) didn't even mention the exchange at all.

Becky said...

Ooh, I read about this in the NYT and in HuffPo. NYT made it sound like a much more even exchange than HuffPo, anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Ask yourself this: can you IMAGINE George W. Bush doing this? I used to think that all the time when I watched Tony Blair doing the Prime Minister's questions in Parliament.

And lastly, I wonder if it will have any impact as far as changing hearts and minds--the people who we think need to see it may never do so.

Camp Papa said...

I watched most of the session and the President was masterful. The last questioner was Rep. Jeb Hensarling, of Texas. He made the silly assertion that the "annual Republican deficit" has become the "monthly Democratic deficit." The President thoroughly refuted the claim and called him out as being unnecessarily partisan. Hensarling was on Morning Joe today spreading the same bull.