Obama's first year, by the numbers 

Yeah, so. That happened.                                  (ap photo)

Was it just a year ago that Beltway Confidential watched the inauguration on TV, wondering what this new president would be like to cover? So much has happened -- we'll spare you the recap.

But the esteemed Mark Knoller of CBS News has his own way of looking back on the year that was. A ruthless compiler of stats, Knoller today posted Obama's first year by the numbers. A few caught our eye:

INTERVIEWS: 158.
• This is a striking number of interviews and far more than any of his recent predecessors in their first year. Ninety of the sessions were TV interviews. Eleven were radio. The rest were newspaper and magazine. The number reflects the White House media strategy that Mr. Obama can best respond to questions in an interview setting.

This White House likes interviews. Part of the appeal is that it's easier to control an interview -- a presser can be so messy. But there also was high demand for interviews with the president -- and it was a primary way the administration got their message out this past year.

POLITICAL FUNDRAISERS: 28
• The events raised at least $27.25 million. (3 of the events Mr. Obama attended declined to disclose how much was raised.
• George W. Bush did 6 fundraisers his 1st year raising over $48 million.

CAMPAIGN RALLIES: 7
• The rallies were for Gov. Jon Corzine, D-N.J., gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, D-Va, and U.S. Senate Candidate Martha Coakley, D-Mass. All of them lost.

Wow. Look for both of those numbers to go sky-high this coming election year. And Michelle Obama, more popular than her husband, will likely also be pressed into service to campaign for Democrats, much like former first lady Laura Bush did for Republicans.

VACATIONS: All or part of 26 days over 4 trips
• George W. Bush spent 69 days at his Texas ranch over 9 trips to his ranch his 1st year.

GOLF: 29 rounds of golf
• Most frequent courses: Fort Belvoir 11 times; Andrews AFB: 8 times.
• George W. Bush played golf 7 times his first year.

We do not begrudge a POTUS his vacation -- which it never really is, anyway. Remember how stressed the Obamas looked coming back from Martha's Vineyard last year? Same with golf -- Bush quit playing after the war started. But Obama seems to really dig it. We dig the saddle shoes.

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Julie Mason

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