You may have seen it on the news. President Obama appearing before a “Town Hall” audience at Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale campus discussing Health Care. These “Town Hall” events became famous during the Presidential campaign and now pretty much refer to any group of people sitting around a stage listening to a politician answer questions.
Well in the case of Obama, these events are now carefully screened, managed, and scripted — not because of security concerns — but by the President’s media team who obviously don’t follow the “openness” and “transparency” theme promised by the President. Obama said “”Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.” There is nothing “Town Hall–ish” about them.
On the Health Care “Town Hall” . . . the Washington Post is reporting that “of the seven questions the president answered, four were selected by his staff from videos submitted to the White House Web site or from those responding to a request for ‘tweets.’ ” And the three audience members he called on randomly? The Post says “all turned out to be members of groups with close ties to his administration: the Service Employees International Union, Health Care for America Now, and Organizing for America, which is a part of the Democratic National Committee.”
Knowing all that makes this exchange between White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, CBS’ Chip Reid, and veteran Helen Thomas, a thorn in the side to many a presidential administration, very interesting.
Remember, this exchange happened before the “Town Hall” Gibbs promises the questions will be fair. In fact at the 1:06 mark he says “Ask me that question tomorrow based on what questions were asked.” It is good to see the media calling the Administration out for their phoniness.