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06-23-09, 10:29 PM #1
...it was "very unusual that Obama called on Huffington Post second, appearing to know the issue the reporter would ask about."
Obama calls on HuffPost for Iran question UPDATE
In what appeared to be a coordinated exchange, President Obama called on the Huffington Post's Nico Pitney near the start of his press conference and requested a question directly about Iran.
“Nico, I know you and all across the Internet, we've been seeing a lot of reports coming out of Iran,” Obama said, addressing Pitney. “I know there may actually be questions from people in Iran who are communicating through the Internet. Do you have a question?”
Pitney, as if ignoring what Obama had just said, said: “I wanted to use this opportunity to ask you a question directly from an Iranian.”
He then noted that the site had solicited questions from people in the country “who were still courageous enough to be communicating online.”
“Under which conditions would you accept the election of Ahmadinejad, and if you do accept it without any significant changes in the conditions there, isn't that a betrayal of the — of what the demonstrators there are working towards?”
Reporters typically don’t coordinate their questions for the president before press conferences, so it seemed odd that Obama might have an idea what the question would be. Also, it was a departure from White House protocol by calling on The Huffington Post second, in between the AP and Reuters.
CBS Radio's Mark Knoller, a veteran White House correspondent, said over Twitter it was "very unusual that Obama called on Huffington Post second, appearing to know the issue the reporter would ask about."
According to POLITICO's Carol Lee, The Huffington Post reporter was brought out of lower press by deputy press secretary Josh Earnest and placed just inside the barricade for reporters a few minutes before the start of the press conference.
(This post was rewritten shortly after the exchange and updated in the text. Initially, I wrote the exchange was "clearly coordinated," but have since put the question to a Huffington Post spokesperson and the White House for more elaboration. See updates: There was discussion between the White House and Pitney about asking an Iran question).
UPDATE: Deputy press secretary Bill Burton responds: "We did reach out to him prior to press conference to tell him that we had been paying attention to what he had been doing on Iran and there was a chance that he’d be called on. And, he ended up asking the toughest question that the President took on Iran. In the absence of an Iranian press corps in Washington, it was an innovative way to get a question directly from an Iranian."
UPDATE 2: Knoller, again via Twitter: "Huffington Post's Nico Pitney says the WH called him this morning and invited him to ask his Iran questions at the news conference."
UPDATE 3: Pitney says the White House reached out about his Iran coverage, but only said it was possible he'd get a question.
Obama calls on HuffPost for Iran question UPDATE - Michael Calderone - POLITICO.com
06-24-09, 08:21 AM #2
It was the voices in Obama's Blackberry told him to do it.
06-24-09, 10:31 AM #3Reporters typically don’t coordinate their questions for the president before press conferences, so it seemed odd that Obama might have an idea what the question would be.
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06-24-09, 10:59 AM #4
Pitney must have gotten control of Presdient Obama's teleprompter.....SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM-Ex-Sheriff Martin Howe to Will Kane in "High Noon"
"It's a great life. You risk your skin catching killers and the juries turn them loose so they can come back and shoot at you again. If your honest , your poor your whole life. And , In the end , you wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For a tin star."
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