1. My story on last night’s press conference, “Obama’s Persistent Presser: Message Accomplished,” is here.
2. An employee from AIG FP speaks. And he has a point. As I have asked before, Where in the World is Joseph Cassano? He is, by most accounts, the guy who built the AIG bomb, while promising all the while that it would never go off. And here we all are raging at the employees he left behind.
3. I don’t really get all this gabbing about Obama and his teleprompter. Does anyone really doubt Obama’s ability to speak cogently and in detail without notes, after winning three presidential debates and slaying just about every press availability he gets? So he likes reading from a screen and not a piece of paper. But this whole line of attack, promoted widely by conservative blogs, sort of baffles me. And does anyone stop to think about how all this back and forth is effecting the feelings of the computer that powers Obama’s teleprompter? Well, I have, but that’s only because I have been reading the teleprompter’s blog and Twitter feed.
4. After the jump, take a read of Obama’s last answer at last night’s presser, in which the president pivots seamlessly from a question about Israel to a big closing thought. Pretty masterful, me thinks, and the teleprompter did not help at all.
QUESTION: Mr. President, you came to office pledging to work for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. How realistic do you think those hopes are now, given the likelihood of a prime minister who is not fully signed up to a two-state solution and a foreign minister who has been accused of insulting Arabs?
OBAMA: It’s not easier than it was, but I think it’s just as necessary.
We don’t yet know what the Israeli government is going to look like, and we don’t yet know what the future shape of Palestinian leadership is going to be comprised of. What we do know is this: that the status quo is unsustainable, that it is critical for us to advance a two-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in their own states with peace and security.
And by assigning George Mitchell the task of working as special envoy, what we’ve signaled is that we’re going to be serious from day one in trying to move the parties in a direction that acknowledges that reality.
How effective these negotiations may be, I think we’re going to have to wait and see. But, you know, we — we were here for St. Patrick’s Day, and you’ll recall that we had what had been previously sworn enemies celebrating here in this very room.
You know, leaders from the two sides of Northern Ireland that, you know, a couple of decades ago — or even a decade ago — people would have said could never achieve peace, and here they were, jointly appearing, and talking about their commitment, even in the face of violent provocation.
And what that tells me is that, if you stick to it, if you are persistent, then — then these problems can be dealt with.
That whole philosophy of persistence, by the way, is one that I’m going to be emphasizing again and again in the months and years to come as long as I’m in this office. I’m a big believer in persistence.
I think that, when it comes to domestic affairs, if we keep on working at it, if we acknowledge that we make mistakes sometimes, and that we don’t always have the right answer, and we’re inheriting very knotty problems, that we can pass health care, we can find better solutions to our energy challenges, we can teach our children more effectively, we can deal with a very real budget crisis that is not fully dealt with in my — in my budget at this point, but makes progress.
I think, when it comes to the banking system, you know, it was just a few days ago or weeks ago where people were certain that Secretary Geithner couldn’t deliver a plan. Today, the headlines all look like, “Well, all right, there’s a plan.” And I’m sure there will be more criticism, and we’ll have to make more adjustments, but we’re moving in the right direction.
When it comes to Iran, you know, we did a video, sending a message to the Iranian people and the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran. And some people said, “Well, they did not immediately say that we’re eliminating nuclear weapons and stop funding terrorism.” Well, we didn’t expect that. We expect that we’re going to make steady progress on this front.
We haven’t immediately eliminated the influence of lobbyists in Washington. We have not immediately eliminated wasteful pork projects. And we’re not immediately going to get Middle East peace. We’ve been in office now a little over 60 days. What I am confident about is that we’re moving in the right direction and that the decisions we’re making are based on, how are we going to get this economy moving? How are we going to put Americans back to work? How are we going to make sure that our people are safe? And how are we going to create not just prosperity here, but work with other countries for global peace and prosperity?
And we are going to stay with it as long as I’m in this office, and I think that — you look back four years from now, I think, hopefully, people will judge that body of work and say, “This is a big ocean liner. It’s not a speedboat. It doesn’t turn around immediately. But we’re in a better — better place because of the decisions that we made.”
All right? Thank you, everybody.