A couple of surprising words were missing from President Barack Obama’s 55-minute news conference on Wednesday: “Iraq” — and “Afghanistan.”
Also MIA: “Korea,” “Pakistan,” “soldiers,” “surge” and “war” — as well as the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
The omissions were partly a result of the short attention span of the press, which did not ask about those topics after the president did not mention them in his opening statement.
But the silence on those subjects also provides a striking illustration of one of the singular differences between Obama and his predecessor.
Whereas President George W. Bush invoked his status as wartime commander in chief so often that it seemed like a crutch, Obama has much more of a domestic focus, and resists rhetorical calls to arms like “war on terror.”
Matt "Yardbird" Cooper, The Former Atlantic Monthly:
It tells you something that neither Afghanistan nor Iraq came up at the president's press conference. The United States is simultaneously prosecuting two wars in the Muslim world and neither merited a question of the president. It's the surest sign of how quickly attention shifts and flits from one topic to another and how surefooted the White House needs to be in a fluid news environment. Iran might have gotten one question a few weeks ago. Now it dominates the news conference. The collapse of the American automotive industry didn't come up either, nor did rail safety after yesterday's accident or hate crimes, which so dominated the news cycle after the shooting at the Holocaust Memorial. Nothing lasts.
So given the changing world, how did Obama do both in terms of style and substance?
1. Is Mike Allen's standing to criticize the tone and content of our national debate equal to Maury Povitch's? Or less than? Try to include recent vocabulary words, such as "mumpsimus", "coprophilia" and "corporate demirep" in your essay.
2. Do you think the revelation that "Things Change" occurred to Matt Cooper before he became Scooter Libby's buttboy, during the two or three seconds when he was contemplating whether he would be like to be the buttboy of some guy called Bubba or sing his lungs out, or shortly thereafter, while he was washing his undies?
3. The First Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits the abridgment of a Free Press. Given that none of the Founders, other than Ben Franklin, is known to have had a sense of humor, do you still think it's possible this was intended as some sort of Age of Enlightenment leg-pull that got lost in translation?