Skip to comments.The story behind my Obama question
Posted on 07/25/2009 8:16:17 AM PDT by lex33
July 24, 2009
BY LYNN SWEET Sun-Times Columnist WASHINGTON -- I asked President Obama what turned out to be a provocative question at his press conference on Wednesday night -- well, it was his answer that was really provocative -- about the arrest of noted Harvard African-American studies Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his home in Cambridge, Mass.
I asked,"What does that incident say to you? And what does it say about race relations in America?"
Obama's answer included a sound bite picked up by scores of outlets, whether print, TV, radio or on the Web. Said Obama, "the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home."
Obama's answer also triggered a storm of questions to me -- by other reporters, readers e-mailing me and commenting on my blog about how and why I came to ask about Gates.
No conspiracy, folks.
When President Obama called on me, he had no idea what I would be asking. I had not written or blogged about the Gates incident, so no one in the White House had any clue that I was particularly interested in Obama's reaction.
I got a call from the White House press office about 6:30 p.m. confirming I was indeed going to show up at the 8 p.m. press conference. I was told I "may" get a question from the president. No one asked me -- directly or indirectly -- about what I may be asking. No one from the White House tried to plant any question.
By calling a prime time news conference, Obama got a chance to read a statement at the beginning pushing Congress to pass his health-care reform proposals.
But the White House did not set this up as a health-care-only press conference. There was no mandate on reporters who attended to ask questions about health care.
Ten journalists asked questions, including me; seven had health-care questions, three asked about other topics. The Sun-Times and Tribune Co. reporters both got questions -- the pairing of the rivals was by White House design.
Obama gave me the last question. I had no control over the timing. There was no chance for a follow-up. If I was called on earlier in the press conference, I may have asked about health care. I thought it was appropriate at the end to bring up another matter in the news--the Gates arrest. I would have posed the same question to President Bush.
Some saw a plot because I read my question. I do write them down for a White House press conference. No plot. I want to be concise.
What? Now the reporter is supposed to apologize because she asked a question???
A pretty easy question that the 0 flubbed.
Well, Ms. Sweet, your lobbed softball question turned out not to be so soft after all, and for that serendipitous event, I thank you.
“No one asked me — directly or indirectly — about what I may be asking. No one from the White House tried to plant any question.”
Well, that’s damn sure going to change! There’s no way his handlers can ever let him answer an unscripted question again. It’s bad enough when he has to speak without his teleprompter, it’s a disaster when he hasn’t been briefed and prepared for press questions.
Bull crap. Lynn Sweet is a Hussein sycophant.
She sounds worried that Obama is angry at her for asking him a question that he horrendously mishandled.
8 softball questions and one knuckleball, and Obama whiffs it.
Gotta love it!
It's not the question....It's the "stupid" answer that was heard round the world!!
Gates, Wright, Sotomayer, Obama....ALL racists of the worst kind!!
I can only imagine the pure hell she’s catching from her press buddies for creating this PR disaster for Obama. They can’t blame him so they have to shoot the messenger.
As much I dislike Obama, I also dislike the self-congratulatory attitude Sweet has.
Media’s main goal seems to be the pride that comes from saying: “I’m the one who took down xxxx person and made it a public scandal!”
Your questions were idiotic, Lynn Sweet. You inflamed the situation.
Pure and simple Thank you.
Pretty sad that a journalist has to justify a perfectly legitimate question, just because the President blew the answer.
I had assumed the question was planted and the response rehearsed, which made his miscalculation all the more inexcusable. The press is so dedicated to spinning this administration into appearing to be something it’s not, I’m still not convinced this was spontaneous. The MSM has succeeded in irretrievably demolishing the credibility of the media so that absolutely everything they say is suspect. Everything.
Here’s the facts.
A Black Celebrity Professor tried to destroy the life and career of a well respected white cop.
The black mayor of Cambridge joined in.
The black governor of Massachusetts tried as well.
And then the black president of the United States went in for the kill.
Unfortauntely a little thing like the truth got in the way.
This really is a “teachable moment.” These black leaders are the racists. They are disgraceful and should be punished. Period.
He said, and I quote, “Okay? All right. I tried to make that short so that Lynn Sweet would get her — the last question in.”
He felt it important she get “her” question in, and I have to believe he knew what it was in advance. Maybe no one did suggest it to her; maybe she suggested it to him when he called to invite her; but I believe he knew; he thought he could get a distraction out of it and play the race card AND get everyone sympathetic to him again. It didn’t work. It backfired. So now, Sweet is about to find her place under the bus next to Wright, Ayers, Grandma, Burris, Gates, et. al.
Now she's crying the blues because she's not being invited to any wine and cheese parties. Too damn bad.
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