“Excuse me, Mr. President?”
Interrupting the President of the United States would not be neccesary if the President simply upheld a fundamental part of democracy and took questions from the press. President Obama has repeatedly failed to do this, so when The Daily Caller’s Neil Munro made headlines Friday during an exchange with Obama in the White House Rose Garden, the media erupted with chatter.
With time to campaign all over the country and claiming to have the most ‘transparent’ administration in American history, President Obama has had countless closed door meetings, events closed to the press and continually walks away from the microphones immediately after speeches and addresses.
During his address on a new immigration policy, Obama had a brief exchange with Munro when he asked a question before the President finished speaking. Taking a dig at the new policy which offers work permits to some young illegal immigrants, Munro asked why Obama favored foreigners over Americans.
“Excuse me sir, it’s not time for questions, sir,” the President said, “next time I’d prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that question.”
Instead of taking questions, a stern Obama continually repeated that his new policy was “the right thing to do.”
After the address, the President walked away from the microphones without taking a single question, of course. Surprised?
6o seconds. Did the President not have 6o seconds to answer one or two questions? Was he unprepared to defend his new policy? Surely it was much easier to state the new policy and sternly repeat that it was “the right thing to do!” than have to talk to the media.
“He comes out of the Rose Garden, gives a short statement and then turns his back and walks away very quickly without taking questions,” said Munro in a video by The Daily Caller. “Sometimes he takes questions. He took a question on Trayvon Martin in March. Sometimes these shouted questions at the end work — not today: He refused to answer an obvious and conventional question about the impact of his policy on American workers at a time of record unemployment.”
Tucker Carlson, editor-in-chief and publisher of The Daily Caller praised Munro for doing his job saying, “a good reporter gets the story.”
Having personally worked alongside Mr. Munro during my time at The Daily Caller, sometimes sharing his desk and phone and occasionally delivering flashdrives to him at The White House, I can testify that Munro is serious about transparency and accountability. Although his question might have been asked too quickly, his excuse was legitimate:
“Timing these things is a little awkward. He speaks very well, very smoothly — very nice delivery,” Munro states in video by The Daily Caller. “It’s hard to know when he’s about to end. I thought he was going to end today. I asked my question too early. He rebuked me. Fair enough.”
Despite the interruption, at the end of his speech, President Obama had a chance to uphold democracy and the express the importance of transparency by answering a few questions which may have possibly included respectfully calling on Mr. Munro. This chance was once again, missed.