January 25, 2009
Notes

Controlling The Space

Obama Limits Of Power.jpg

I’ve got some questions about that honeymoon.

Judging by this pic and accompanying article in Saturday’s NYT, the press seems engaged in some serious turf marking. Just three days into his administration, this “White House Memo” (“Great Limits Come With Great Power, Ex-Candidate Finds“) suggest Obama is acting wishy-washy, putting off tough decisions and engendering wariness in the opposite party.

The sharpest tone, however, is married to the photo. Although the image is innocent enough on its own (I believe the reporters are simply pointing Obama to where they’re supposed to meet), the caption reads:

“President Obama got a grilling, not the hoped-for small talk, on a surprise visit to the press room.”

According to the article, Obama — looking to chat and reacting negatively to questions about his conflict-of-interest waiver to the Pentagon’s #2, William J. Lynn — threatened reporters he wouldn’t come back “if I’m going to get grilled every time I come.” Wrapped in this kind of envelope, the picture has a different, weight-shifting resonance, the media — surrounding the President and possessive of the space — telling the new boss how it is.

(image:Ruth Fremson/The New York Times. White House. January 23, 2009)

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Michael Shaw
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