Debra Saunders in the San Francisco Chronicle on the White House press corps Presidential press conferences are a strange ritual. The answers given from the podium are often long-winded, non-committal, and not very helpful for understanding the issue. So why does the White House press corps keep asking such lame questions, knowing full well that President Obama could only reply with lame answers? That's what Debra Saunders wondered while watching Monday's press conference. "There's a law of verbal physics: The longer the question, the less likely it is to be answered," she writes. "Yet, White House reporters rehearse these paragraph-length sentences, adding context the president doesn't need and clauses that bury the lead. Many such questions are so complex that the questioner cannot reasonably expect an answer."
Maureen Dowd in The New York Times on President Standoffish Then again, President Obama shares blame for these dreadfully boring press conferences too, argues Maureen Dowd. Back in 2008, Obama had the capacity to inspire voters and instill hope in the general population. Now he has to remind people that he's "a pretty friendly guy" who enjoys "a good party." On the day of Obama's first inauguration, Dowd remembers, "The nation’s capital was suffused with passion and wonder and dreams ... Now the thrill is dimmed, with a series of grinding, petty fights ahead." And looking back on Obama's messaging track record, she writes, "Obama underwhelmed on traits everyone thought he’d excel at: negotiating, selling, charming, scaring, bully-pulpiting, mobilizing, dealing with Capitol Hill and, especially, communicating. It’s taken the White House four years to develop a coherent message: Pay your bills."