In his first White House news conference, roadblocked on the major broadcast and cable news networks, President Barack Obama cited TV stations in making his pitch for his economic stimulus package before taking questions from reporters. In his opening remarks, the president cited broadcasters early on, saying that “local TV stations have started running public service announcements that tell people where to find food banks, even as the food banks don’t have enough to meet the demand.” Perhaps that was a consolation prize for the fact he had scheduled that first conference for prime time, forcing networks to move or preempt programs, and give up an hour of ad time in the bargain. The president talked about infrastructure improvements in general in his introductory remarks, but he did not refer directly to the broadband rollout initiative that has been billed as a key element in the stimulus package. “Step number one, we have to pass an economic recovery plan,” the president said,” adding that he hoped the Senate and House would be able to come together on a compromise bill in the next several days.
Not surprisingly, the president spoke eloquently and assuredly, but he also spoke at length, often turning the questions in to launching pads for very long, thoughtful, answers.