President Obama: No questions, please 

Ahhh -- no comment.                          (afp)

Remember when President Obama was so ubiquitous we were all complaining that he was overexposed? Well, the White House has gone to the other extreme, and the president has not had a full press conference since July. And no, taking two questions in the East Room with the prime minister of India doesn't count.

Later today, the president heads to West Point to deliver a speech to the nation on his new Afghan war strategy. There's really nothing like troops in uniform clapping to round out a political tableau.

As Dana Milbank points out, West Point was a favorite venue of former President Bush and was also the birthplace of the Bush Doctrine (Sarah Palin: look it up). So far, reporters have not had a chance to ask President Obama about his new plan for the war.

Friend-to-the-world and silver fox Joe Curl of the Washington Times takes umbrage at the suddenly-elusive presidency, quotes Beltway Confidential and generally smacks the West Wing around in his column today.

The president, whose job-approval ratings have been on a steady slide, hasn't held a formal news conference in 19 weeks, since July 22. That one ended badly, when Mr. Obama waded into a racial controversy by saying a white police officer "acted stupidly" when he arrested a black Harvard professor.

"It can't be a total coincidence that the last time he faced the press corps, we ended with beers in the Rose Garden with Henry Louis Gates and James Crowley, when the focus was supposed to be health care," said Julie Mason, a White House reporter for the Washington Examiner who also covered the Bush administration for the Houston Chronicle.

"It does seem like they are responding to the overexposure argument and trying to exert more control over his appearances," she said.

At the White House press briefing yesterday, press secretary Robert Gibbs sniffed that overexposed or underexposed, the administration can't win with the press.

"I think the last time we got a question about the president answering questions, if I'm not mistaken, it was - wasn't it couched in the - in the notion that he was overexposed?" press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

"Hard for me to imagine that the president would submit himself to so many questions that the punditocracy would say he was overexposed, but the new thing happens to be that he's not answering enough questions," he said.

Read Curl's piece here.


Curl: Back when he was allowed in the Rose Garden.

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Julie Mason

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