A long-standing tradition of a rowdy press pool peppering the commander in chief with questions was shot down by White House press secretary Jay Carney today when he warned reporters to tone it down. As a result, television crews and print reporters were reportedly barred from the pool shadowing the president, including a meeting with congressional leaders on the deficit:
Obama chafes at the time-honored practice of answering questions shouted at him during pooled, non-press conference events — and his staff has often opted for “stills sprays,” excluding print reporters or TV cameras who might capture Obama in the less than flattering non-act of snubbing a query. ...
When asked today why TV crews and print reporters were barred from the pool covering the White House meeting with congressional leaders on the deficit, Carney responded by pointing out that the administration has held two press conferences in the past two weeks and allowed TV cameras into the spray earlier this week.
"People shouted questions at him," Carney added.
The White House Correspondents’ Association has protested exclusion of print and TV from pools — and several reporters in the briefing room took Carney’s comment as an annoyed expression of presidential displeasure with shouted questions.
“It's an absurd reason to say that because we asked questions you're not going to allow cameras in there. He's capable of ignoring our questions. He does it all the time,” said Chip Reid of CBS.
Carney, a former Time magazine White House reporter, shot back with, “I appreciate your opinion.”
Apparently the White House press corps didn't get the memo from Esquire: this is the week we're all just supposed to sit back and basque in the glory that is Barack Obama...