This White House, like others, likes to pretend ignorance of the petty news cycle, while in fact being obsessed with it, something CBS’s Mark Knoller exposed a bit today in an exchange with Robert Gibbs:
QUESTION: Robert, what gave the president the impression that there was a media frenzy and his message wasn’t getting through? He often says he doesn’t read — watch cable news much.
GIBBS: No, but…
QUESTION: … you tell him, did the staff tell him "you need to address this" (inaudible)?
GIBBS: I was with him yesterday — I was with him yesterday, but the reports on cable TV were that this was taking up a lot of real estate.
QUESTION: And you told him that, you let him know, or he?
GIBBS: A number of people I think let him know.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) anybody on the outside about this issue?
GIBBS: Not that I know of.
QUESTION: So it wasn’t one of these things where you’re talking to an old friend or something?
GIBBS: Not that I know what.
QUESTION: And was there discussion of him issuing a written statement rather than coming in? It’s incredibly unusual what he did here today.
GIBBS: And miss the opportunity to see you guys?
No, I — I — the notion that the president wanted to come — I don’t know who’s laughing back there.
If you laugh like that, we’ll move you up to the front row. That’s — that’s — no, the decision to come in here and tell you all about it was the president’s decision.
(via Carol Lee)