The President’s Feisty Press Conference

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My piece on Obama’s press conference today begins like this:

Even within the White House complex, the opposing teams each have their own turfs. In the halls of power — the Oval Office, the East Room and the Rose Garden — the President oversees his domain. But just a few steps away sits the White House briefing room, a hotbox of cameras and television lights, where the President holds no real dominion. Here the press corps — a ragtag assortment of denim-clad cameramen, unkempt writers and preening television talkers — makes its home. When government officials come to visit, they enter a different space and are generally asked to prove themselves. Questions fly fast.


Barack Obama scheduled his Tuesday press conference, like the three that came before, on home turf, in the Rose Garden, just outside his office. But owing to the heat, the event was moved inside at the last minute — to the foreign soil of the briefing room. And the press corps, which has been deferential through repeated prime-time pressers in the East Room, began to assert itself as never before in his tenure.