The accepted story of President Obama in the six weeks since the November elections is that he's been liberated. No longer tied down by the political prospects of Democrats in Congress, he has upended the low expectations placed on a lame-duck president and moved in rapid succession on immigration, climate change, net neutrality, and just this week, to normalize relations with Cuba after a 50-year freeze.
Yet Friday's year-end press conference yielded a remarkable presidential moment of another kind: Obama called out a major American corporation for acting like a coward.
"Yes, I think they made a mistake," the president said of Sony's widely-criticized decision to cancel the release of its satirical movie, The Interview, following a cyberattack from North Korea and threats of violence from the hackers who orchestrated it.
Coming from a cautious president who carefully selects his battles, that statement was newsy enough. But Obama went much further. Sony's retreat, he suggested, was as silly as a football fan who wouldn't go to an NFL game because of the vague, post-9/11 threat of a terrorist attack on a stadium. Or, he mused, what if the organizers of the Boston Marathon had cancelled this year's race after last year's bombing?