Liberal talk radio host Bill Press — known for a career in California Democratic politics and progressive punditry on cable news — says that despite his open support for President Barack Obama and the Democrats, he's willing to hold the administration's feet to the fire in the White House press room.
Press is running for the vacant radio seat on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association, which represents the White House press corps. While the mainstream media is often accused of having a left-leaning bias, Press makes no pretense of his political views, openly endorsing Obama on his show and writing a pro-Obama book in the midst of the 2012 campaign.
Liberal radio host Bill Press is running for a seat on the White House Correspondents' Association board.
“As a commentator, I have been as critical of President Obama on occasion as many conservative commentators,” Press told TheBlaze. “Among other issues, I criticized his abandonment of the public plan option. I accused him of dragging his heels in getting rid of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and caving in too easily on extension of the Bush tax cuts. I slammed his attempt to name Larry Summers next head of the Fed. I oppose his use of NSA to monitor phone calls of all Americans. And I have raised all those issues at White House briefings.”
Press made news earlier this year when he called for Attorney General Eric Holder to be fired for subpoenaing reporter records. He also made news in 2011 for slamming popular quarterback Tim Tebow by saying, "I’m tired of hearing Tim Tebow and all this Jesus talk.”
Press has attended White House press briefings since 2009, and covered various White House events for his radio show the same as other reporters with traditional news organizations. He has been a Washington pundit since 1996 after leaving his job as chairman of the California Democratic Party to co-host of CNN's previous version of "Crossfire," where he was introduced as “from the left.”
He spent two decades in California politics, including serving as the director of the California Office of Planning and Research for Gov. Jerry Brown from 1975 to 1979. He worked on Brown's presidential campaigns and he also ran for the Democratic nomination for California insurance commissioner in 1990. After "Crossfire," Press was the co-host of CNN's "Spin Room," a liberal-conservative show similar to "Crossfire," and then reunited with former "Crossfire" co-host Pat Buchanan on MSNBC's “Buchanan & Press.”
His radio show, which began in 2005, was simulcast on Al Gore's former Current TV network last year before being picked up by the liberal Free Speech TV after Current was sold to Al Jazeera.
[sharequote align="center"]"Whether I voted for Obama or not has nothing to do with anything."[/sharequote]His most recent book, released during the 2012 presidential campaign, was titled, “The Obama Hate Machine: The Lies, Distortions and Personal Attacks on the President – and Who is Behind Them.” Other books have included titles such as, “Bush Must Go” in 2004 and “How the Republicans Stole Christmas,” in 2005.
“Whether I voted for Obama or not has nothing to do with anything,” Press told TheBlaze. “The briefing room is filled with a wide variety of journalists: print and electronic, foreign and domestic, liberal publications and conservative, reporters and producers. Ideology has nothing to do with this election.”
Other candidates for the White House Correspondents' Association radio seat are Jared Rizzi of Sirius/XM, Scott Horsley of National Public Radio and Daniel Robinson of Voice of America. The seat became vacant upon the reassignment of NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro. Though the election is specifically for the radio seat on the board, all members of the White House Correspondents Association are eligible to vote. The same is true in voting for the seats in TV, print and photography. Voting ends Nov. 15.
“The only question is: Who can do the best job fighting for what all members of WHCA, especially regular attendees at the daily briefing, need to do their jobs,” Press said. “I bring years of both broadcast and print experience to the board, and believe I can effectively represent all those who cover the White House in any capacity.”
Press believes his years in politics gives him some experience in seeking this office even among a limited electorate.
“The one thing I learned, both as a campaign manager and candidate, is the need to work your butt off,” Press said. “There are four candidates in this race. It won't be easy. I may not win. But nobody will out-hustle me.”