Obama Transition More Open To Press Than Predecessors
After giving two network television interviews and four press conferences, including three this week and another expected on Monday, since the Nov. 4 election, President-elect Barack Obama is on track to run one of the most press-friendly transitions in recent history.
From The Washington Times:
Mr. Obama has beat his four predecessors in number of post-election, pre-inauguration press conferences, and is inheriting a more troubled nation than any of those men. With one Cabinet post officially named, he is working at a faster clip than former President Bill Clinton.
In 2000, Mr. Bush gave one press conference as president-elect, and not until Dec. 19, because the results of his victory over Vice President Al Gore were so long in dispute. As president-elect in 1992, Mr. Clinton held three pre-inauguration press conferences.
George H.W. Bush held one press conference as president-elect, on Nov. 11, 1988.
Ronald Reagan also held one press conference before his 1981 inauguration. He called the major press conference to trot out his Cabinet nominees, but didn’t show up himself.
As The Times notes, the high visibility is likely a function of the historic economic crisis in which the nation finds itself, coupled with the deafening silence emanating from the current White House.
And not everybody is happy. Some outlets are upset that the transition has pre-selected the reporters Obama calls on at news conferences. Fishbowl DC points out that Fox News has yet to ask a question.
Still, this represents a 180-degree shift from the campaign, during which reporters on Obama’s plane often complained about the notable lack of contact they had with the candidate.
The real test will be whether Obama maintains the increased level of press access after the inauguration — particularly in light of the fact that he follows arguably the most secretive administration in American history — but the early signs are encouraging.