Passage of the Day

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on August 13, 2010

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On the President’s media availability, or lack thereof:

Martha Joynt Kumar, a professor at Towson University, who tracks Mr. Obama’s interactions with the media,  noted that the president had appeared in front of White House reporters fewer times than his predecessors did.

Though her figures are open to debate — the White House may disagree with her on the distinction between a press conference and a brief question-and-answer session — they show that George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were generally more willing to stand before the White House press corps.

Through July 20, Ms. Kumar counted 36 press conferences since Mr. Obama took office. That compares with the same number for the second President Bush, 66 for President Clinton and 54 for the elder President Bush the same amount of time into their presidencies.

As for short question-and-answer sessions, which Ms. Kumar defines as “events where only a small number of reporters representing the White House press corps are allowed in to question the president,” she counted 67 so far with President Obama. That compares with 205 for George W. Bush, 356 for Mr. Clinton and 93 for Mr. Bush’s father.

Of course, the criticism of President Obama hasn’t nearly reached the heights it would have reached if George W. Bush–or any other Republican, really–posted President Obama’s numbers.

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