President Barack Obama gave his first press conference since being reelected for a second term – as well as being as his first press conference in many months. First and foremost, though sounding appropriately presidential, President Obama spent much of his time sounding like yet another campaign speech of which the nation has heard enough in the past. He repeatedly said, “As I said during the campaign…” Since he said many of his points during the campaign over and over again, it’s logical to say that we did not need to hear so many of the points again.
While prepared comments at the beginning of the press conference rolled off the president’s tongue like a prepared campaign speech regarding the “fiscal cliff”, he was obviously uncomfortably hesitant when speaking to the many, many questions the press asked him about the deadly terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans including Chris Stevens on Sept. 11, 2012. Had the president tackled the initial questions with complete, open, and satisfactory responses to the Benghazi concern during the press conference, there would obviously had been no need for so many questions on the topic which made him appear uncomfortable.
By the end of the press conference, there was no sense of being convinced that Obama is cleared of wrongdoing in regard to keeping the Benghazi victims safe. He repeated that “all Americans’ safety” is always a priority with the government which came across as a panned answer that was not sincerely convincing. The many questions on the topic were obviously not about “all Americans”, but instead they were about the four Americans who died on Sept. 11, 2012 in Benghazi. The president tended to have trouble focusing on the specifics of the questions, thereby appearing evasive.
The low point of the press conference, I felt, was when Obama dodged the question in which a reporter asked him about his communications with families of the men who died in Libya on September 11. Of course, as we all know by now, some of the families have been critical of the government and President Obama’s responses to them regarding the controversy and the deaths of their loved ones.
Regarding the economy, on the one hand, the president indicated that he wants to compromise on the “fiscal cliff”. However, on the other hand, he made it clear that he won’t agree to anything that doesn’t involve increased taxes for America’s wealthy citizens. Where then, does alleged compromise come in? The president is being contradictory by saying he wants to compromise – but then insisting that it’s got to be his way by insisting that the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives agree with him.
That is not compromise. And, as we found in the past four years with Obama in office, it doesn’t work. While he insists that he has a right to force his way of dealing with the economy and taxes due to the election of Nov. 6, 2012, he tends to conveniently forget that American voters voted in the 2010 midterm elections for their Republican-elected officials to do what they were elected to do, too.
Lastly, it was of tremendous concern to see President Barack Obama strongly defend Susan Rice who repeatedly said that the Benghazi, Libya attacks were due to an anti-Islamic video after the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks. In fact, a week after the attacks Rice was still making comments about the attacks being a response to the video. Yet, the president still backs her and claims that Susan Rice’s erroneous comments were justified when we now know how out-of-line her comments were when American people needed common sense and truth regarding the incident.
Obama looks as faulty as she does regarding the Libya tragedy by his defense of her speaking the mistruth long after the attack occurred. Then, Obama criticized Senators John McCain and Graham for going after the truth by disagreeing with Susan Rice’s comments in September – yet that is what politicians are elected to do, seek the truth.
All in all, the president’s first press conference was not as comfortingly welcoming as some hoped it would be. It confirmed the fear that many Americans have. It’s the fear that Americans are apparently in for more of the same in terms of having a non-compromising and less-than-totally-transparent politician in the Oval Office at the beginning of Obama’s second term.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.