Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Set-Up Question at The Press Conference?

As an update to our post from last evening, which can be found here . . . it looks suspiciously like the press conference question intended for Steve Koff of the Cleveland Plain Dealer last night, was a deliberately pre-arranged question.

You see, when Obama called out for "Steve Koff," instead, Steven Thomma of McClatchy apparently heard the "Steve" part and immediately hopped up. The President called on him, thinking he was recognizing Koff.

President Obama was asked these questions in key part by Thomma:

Q: ... Two questions. One, can you guarantee that this legislation will lock in and say the government will never deny any services; that that's going to be decided by the doctor and the patient, and the government will not deny any coverage?

And secondarily, can you, as a symbolic gesture, say that you and the Congress will abide by the same benefits in that public option?

Obama spent a long time talking all around it, and never actually addressing the second question at all. But he did go on and on, talking at length about the Cleveland Clinic, including saying: "I'm going to be visiting your hometown tomorrow to go to the Cleveland Clinic to show -- to show why their system works so well. And part of the reason it works well is because they've set up a system where patient care is the number-one concern, not bureaucracy . . . etc, etc."

Then came the follow-up query from Thomma, the President having completely ignored the issue in his first answer:

Q: And what about yourself and Congress? Would you abide by the same benefits package?

His answer NEVER addressed Congress, and while he said he would be happy to himself, he went on to point out that it never could work out for him . . . "You know, I would be happy to abide by the same benefit package. I will just be honest with you -- I'm the President of the United States so I've got a doctor following me every minute. (Laughter.) Which is why I say this is not about me."

Obama then called on Lynn Sweet, who politely pointed out that Steve Koff never got to ask his question because of the mix-up.

So Obama let Koff ask a quick question . . and what did he ask?

Koff asked the question about the Cleveland Clinic -- the very question that Obama had just answered in responding to Thomma!

Check for yourself in the CBS transcript and in the video!

UPDATE: We commented on a Powerline post by Scott, about the mix-up by the President of the "two Steves" during his Press Conference. Scott graciously elevated the comment to an update of his main post. In the comment we noted that the mix-up certainly suggested that Steve Koff appeared to be scrambling to "amend" his question, as the President's answer to Steven Thomma's question had already responded to Koff's prepared question. If you watch the video of the question, it sure looks like it!

In his post, Scott had raised the notable failure of both Steve Koff and the President -- in their exchange -- to mention a letter that had been signed by numerous healthcare providers (including the Cleveland Clinic), that was critical of the Obamacare and Congressional approach.

That can easily occur when you are apparently intent on feeding someone a softball question -- perhaps even a set-up one!


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