The Washington Times - March 24, 2009, 10:22PM

For those who want to keep track, President Obama has taken 88 questions during news conferences since winning the presidency Nov. 4.



I’ve been keeping a tally of which journos get called on, and updated it following the 13 questions from his first presidential presser and the 13 tonight.


During the transition period from after the election through Jan. 9, he took 62 questions as president-elect during 15 news conferences.


Here’s a quick trip down memory lane from how many questions Obama has taken.


Nov. 7 - 9 questions
Nov. 24 - 6
Nov. 25 - 4
Nov. 26 - 3
Dec. 1 - 6
Dec. 3 – 3
Dec. 7 – 3
Dec. 11 – 4
Dec. 15 – 3
Dec. 16 – 4
Dec. 17 – 3
Dec. 18 – 4
Dec. 19 – 3
Jan. 7 – 3
Jan. 9 – 4
Feb. 9 - First presser as president - 13
Tonight - Second presser as president - 13


Adding together the transition press conferences and his news conferences as president, Mr. Obama has called on these organizations:


Seven questions each from the Associated Press, Reuters news agency and CBS.

He has taken six questions each from NBC and Bloomberg, five questions each from CNN and ABC, and four questions from the New York Times.

He has fielded three questions each from National Public Radio, Politico, Fox News, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal.

He has taken two questions each from Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago ABC affiliate, USA Today, Ebony Magazine, Univision.

He also has taken one question each from the AFP, ABC radio, the Chicago NBC affiliate, Telemundo, McClatchy, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Des Moines Register, Denver Post, Helen Thomas of Hearst, Huffington Post, Stars and Stripes, Washington Times.


(Note - I’m not including the Canadian press conference, when he called on USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, or the pool sprays here at the White House where he answers impromptu questions fairly frequently.)


Also, the White House plans to seize the moment and host its own online town hall forum at Thursday.


You can find details here, but they say “the president will conduct a special online town hall on the economy and answer some of the most popular questions and the event will be streamed on”

This experiment is about encouraging transparency and accountability, so ask the President exactly what it is you want to know – but let others do the same.  It is a community-moderated system, but remember that even though you may not like the viewpoint behind someone’s question, everyone has a right to their opinion.  Also remember that Americans of all ages will be participating in this event, so be thoughtful about the words you choose.  Participants are asked to follow some basic guidelines for submitting their own questions and flagging other questions as inappropriate.

The folks over at Ask the President (a Wash Times/Nation/Personal Democracy Forum venture) have a compilation of tons of good questions.


 Christina Bellantoni, White House correspondent,
The Washington Times


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