The news conference, Mr. Obama’s fourth at the White House, was moved from the Rose Garden to the briefing room at the last minute. White House officials said the shift was related to the summer heat, and denied it was made because teleprompters, which Mr. Obama relies on at nearly every speaking engagement, could not be seen in the bright, sunny garden.
Officials set up teleprompters in the briefing room, only to break them down an hour before the news conference.
But Mr. Obama stuck with his game plan, even working the referees when calls didn’t go his way. When ABC News’ Jake Tapper, also not playing ball with the dribbler-in-chief, stepped up to once again ask Mr. Jackson’s question, the president put on a dazzling act of having been fiercely fouled.
“Are you the ombudsman for the White House press corps? What’s your question? Is that your question?” Mr. Obama said to raucous laughter from the room, although Mr. Tapper held his ground, unamused and unsmiling.
Much has been made about the giddy laughter among the White House press corps during presidential news conferences, but Tuesday offered a window into just who packed into the tiny briefing room for the show.
A slew of nonworking “journalists” stood along one side of the room. One woman, who identified herself as working for “Hungary News TV,” took pictures with a small camera throughout the hour. Another very young woman stood among the working reporters, taking no notes. Asked afterward who she was, Rebecca Cooper, a reporter for WJLA-Channel 7 in Washington, stepped in to answer: “She’s an intern.”
“Everybody wants to see an Obama press conference!” she said happily.
• Joseph Curl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org