Go, Sam Stein! One of the handful of reporters who were called upon to ask a question at President Obama's first press conference was Sam Stein of the Huffington Post.
His question was whether or not Obama supported the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in order to prosecute Bush administration officials who broke the law during the past eight years. Obama did not admit to having read Senator Leahy's proposal, but he did reinforce his opposition to torture and his support for the rule of law. It sounded like he'd rather not go down that road, but he didn't absolutely rule it out.
The press conference itself revealed very little new for those who follow the news. But what WAS new was the way this president handled the questions and who he called on. First, he knew his stuff. He answered comprehensively and didn't get trapped into saying things he would regret. He took thirteen questions, and he started with a female AP correspondent. He then proceeded to call on most of the major networks and finally acknowledged the power of blogs like the Huffington Post by calling on Sam Stein.
Some wanted Obama to blast the Republicans and give up on bipartisan efforts, but he refused. He made some gentle fun of those who believe the government should do nothing, as well as those who criticize stimulus as "spending". "Of course it's spending," he said! "What do you think a stimulus is, if it's not part spending?"
Even CNN has acknowledged that calling on Sam Stein was a "first" for a presidential news conference. It's a new age, folks!
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