In the Arena

First Press Conference

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Well, if the presidential campaign didn’t convince you that Barack Obama is one disciplined fellow, his first public appearance as President-elect certainly should have. The press conference was notable for several things:

–he did not stray from or change a single position that he took during the course of the campaign. He emphasized his previous stated desire for the passage of a second stimulus package. He was very matter of fact and not very emotional when discussing the economic crisis. There was no “Don’t you worry, now…” component to his initial statement, which was a bit disconcerting–to me, at least. 

–he was not lured into any speculative answers. He was properly cautious in response to the Ahmadinejad letter congratulating him on his victory and, by emphasizing his opposition to Iran’s nuclear program–and its support for terrorist groups–Obama conveyed a continuity appropriate for a President-elect. 

–His answers were crisp and brief. The most expansive was his response to the puppy question. This presages a cool, businesslike presidency. And I should add: His self-identification as a “mutt” was just delightful.

–No gaffes. Unlike Bill Clinton, who opened the door to the “gays in the military” question in his first press conference, Obama said nothing controversial, so far as I can tell. 

–Unlike his immediate predecessor, he seemed completely in control.