Choire on Obama's Press

Columnists ahoy! The Times’ Joyce Purnick and the Post’s Andrea Peyser confabbed briefly in a house phone alcove on the 36th floor of the Mandarin Oriental, the north tower of the Mordor that is the Time Warner Center. More and more press arrived–Maggie Haberman, Ben Smith, that tall annoyed blonde from local 4–not for the lure of a charity benefit for K.I.D.S., but for Barack Obama.

Around 8 p.m. last night, the Senator delivered half an hour of a not entirely committed speech, one which was marked by his usual mistake of being unwilling to arrange his text with places for an audience to applaud.

This time, he forewent his Martin Luther King, Jr., references for a story about Bobby Kennedy in Mississippi. The Senator, for all his talk about the death of baby boomer politics, only refers to the highlights of the 60′s as a moral.

At the end he trailed off, and the press horded into a back room to briefly grill him.

“I was supposed to be here all day and have a bunch of meetings,”
Senator Obama said after–but they’d been cancelled, or at least postponed. “I circled and circled around Manhattan for a while,” he said. How much longer will the Senator’s vow to only fly commercial last?

According to his spokesfella, Tommy Vietor, he was departing immediately afterwards. This would turn out to be not exactly true.

Peyser, in the front row, got off the first question in the hastily assembled presser in the hotel’s Lotus room. Imagine the most sarcastic tone of voice possible: “Have you met with Hillary Clinton while you’re in town?” He had not. Shortly thereafter, the lights, overloaded by camera drain, went out. “It’s Hillary,” Peyser told the Senator. “She’s got her finger on the switch.”

– Choire Sicha