Today President Obama tried to make nice with White House reporters by hosting an off-the-record lunch. The reporters are mad and sad because the President doesn’t speak to them very often, especially not in casual settings.
The New York Times didn’t go to lunch — no time to waste with off-the-record chicken salad — but blogged about the invitation. The dozen or so reporters who did eat with the President this afternoon weren’t allowed to write about it.
We are reminded of nine minutes in April when the President sauntered to the back of Air Force One to talk to speak wiht the press off-the-cuff. President Obama timed his visit to coincide with a press corps chicken parmigiana chow session. It’s hard to ask questions when you’re chewing.
By this time in President George W. Bush’s adminisration he had spoken casually with the press three times as much as President Obama, according to a professor at Towson University. Maybe the President’s media strategy is to limit access. And, when that doesn’t work, he just tries to avoid reporters on an empty stomach.