Obama Takes Questions Only From Female Reporters; Gets Personal With One, Cuts Off Another

President Obama, ladies’ man.

Obama held a lengthy year-end news conference on Friday and took questions — but only from female reporters. In do doing, he was both flirty and dismissive.

The president said his press secretary had “given me the ‘who’s been naughty and who’s been nice’ list” to laughter from the lapdog media, then called on Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico to kick off the Q & A.

Obama got personal with the reporter, according to the official White House transcript:

THE PRESIDENT: And, by the way, I hear you’re moving to Europe. Where you going to be?
Q  Brussels. 
Q  Yes. Helping Politico start a new publication. 
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, congratulations. 
Q  I’ve been covering you since the beginning.
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think —
Q  It’s been a long road for the both of us.
THE PRESIDENT:  I think there’s no doubt that what Belgium needs is a version of Politico.  (Laughter.) 
Q  I’ll take that as an endorsement. 
THE PRESIDENT:  The waffles are delicious there, by the way. Cheryl Bolen. You’ve been naughty.  (Laughter.)  Cheryl, go ahead.

Yes, the president said “You’ve been naughty” to a reporter from Bloomberg BNA. 

He called on eight reporters during the 52-minute presser; the others were from the Associated Press, McClatchy, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and American Urban Radio Networks.

“There are many women from a variety of news organizations who day in and day out do the hard work of covering the president of the United States,” press secretary Josh Earnest told the AP. He said that as Obama’s aides began drawing up the list of questioners, “we realized that we had a unique opportunity to highlight that fact at the president’s closely watched, end of the year news conference.”

But no one thought the president would mock a reporter, as he did with McClatchy’s Lesley Clark, who asked a series of meandering questions but still had the floor — until Obama cut her off. From the transcript: 
Q  Thank you, Mr. President.  I had a number of questions on Cuba as well.  Appreciate that.  I wanted to —
THE PRESIDENT:  Do I have to write all these down?  How many are there?  (Laughter.)  ‘A number’ sounded intimidating.
Q  As quick as I can.  As quick as I can.  I wanted to see if you got an assurances from the Cuban government that it would not revert to the same sort of — sabotage the deal, as it has in the past when past Presidents had made similar overtures to the government.
THE PRESIDENT:  Meaning?  Be specific.  What do you mean?
Q  When the Clinton administration made some overtures, they shot down planes.  They sort of had this pattern of doing provocative — provocative events.
THE PRESIDENT:  Okay, so just general provocative activity.
Q Provocative activities any time the U.S. has sort of reached out a hand to them.  I wanted to see what is your knowledge of whether Fidel Castro — did he have any role in the talks?  When you talked to President Raul Castro, did Fidel Castro’s name come up?  Or did you ask about him?  How he’s doing?  People haven’t seen him in a while.  Given the deep opposition from some Republicans in Congress to lifting the embargo, to an embassy, to any of the changes that you’re doing, are you going to personally get involved in terms of talking to them about efforts that they want to do to block money on a new embassy?
 THE PRESIDENT:  All right, Lesley, I think I’m going to cut you off here.  (Laughter.)  This is taking up a lot of time.
Q  Okay, all right.

Today, Obama is likely heading to the golf course for the first of many rounds during his 16-day vacation in Hawaii. Wonder if he’ll invite along a female golfer — something he’s never done during his 200-plus rounds of golf as president. And for good reason: There aren’t any cameras out there, so no “unique opportunity to highlight that fact.”


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