Veteran White House correspondent Keith Koffler on why presidential press conferences – and Barack Obama’s distaste for them – are an important issue:
Press conferences are extraordinarily important for several reasons. A number of questions are asked on different topics. The pressure of being on national TV forces the president to explain his thinking. The public gets to actually see the president think and understand how he comes to his conclusions, an invaluable public service.
What’s more, the prospect of a press conference forces the White House to think through its own views. Everybody in the West Wing, including the president, has to stop and consider just what they are doing and why. Often the agencies are mined for answers about current policies so that White House aides can prepare the president, giving the West Wing valuable feedback about what’s going on.
My guess for why Obama doesn’t submit himself to rapid-fire questions about the issues of the day: there are no witty phrases to justify regulations and rhetoric that keep millions out of work while adding trillions to the deficit.
Better to just stay quiet.