Press Freedom, Sure. But No Questions.

Obama press conference July 24, 2009. CBS

Obama press conference July 24, 2009.
CBS

There was some rich irony at the White House today -- President Obama signed the Press Freedom Act, and then promptly refused to take any questions.

The new law expands the State Department's annual human rights reports to include a description of press freedoms in each country. It seemed a good opportunity to showcase press freedom in this country.

Recall that last Friday the president refused to take any questions after delivering his angry statement on the oil spill in the Rose Garden. And he has not held a prime-time White House news conference in many months, despite much pleading from pundits and members of the media.

So after he signed the bill, and as the press "wranglers" began aggressively herding us out of the room, I asked if he still has confidence in BP. He ignored the question so I tried this: "In the interest of press freedom, would you take a couple questions on BP?"

That did elicit a smile, and he told me I was free to ask questions. Someone else shouted, "Will you answer them?"

He said he's not holding a press conference today as we were escorted out the door.


Chip Reid, CBS News chief White House Correspondent
Chip Reid is CBS News' chief White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here.

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.

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