Opinion: Tomorrow: Wolf blitzes Hillary
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CNN, which ought to be known as SCNN (Self-Congratulatory News Network), has been gloating over the fact that its correspondent Ed Henry got under the skin of President Obama at Tuesday night’s press conference.
If you believe CNN, Henry, part of the best political team in the galaxy, had a mano-a-mano moment with Obama as momentous as Dan Rather’s famous face-off with Richard Nixon during a Watergate-era press conference. (Nixon: ‘Are you running for something?’ Rather: ‘No, Sir, Mr. President, are you?’)
It wasn’t that big a deal. Henry asked the president a trite and tendentious question about AIG bonuses, i.e., why did Obama wait two days to express oyutrage? Why was all the action coming out of the New York attorney general’s office? Oooh, burn! And then a mildly irked Obama replied: ‘It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak.”
Now if Obama had said ‘I am not a crook!’ or ‘You can’t handle the truth!’, this might have been a memorable exchange, and CNN could claim that Henry drew blood. But if Dan Quayle is no Jack Kennedy, Barack Obama is no Richard Nixon -- or Jack Nicholson.
On the other hand, Ed Henry may be another Dan Rather. The CNN website is showcasing Henry’s breathless ‘behind the scenes’ account of this clash of the titans.
* ‘The pressure was on now because the president had called on me. Someone handed me a microphone, millions were watching, and it’s scary to think about changing topic in a split second because you might get flustered and screw up.’
* ‘So I waited patiently and then decided to pounce with a sharp follow-up. From just a few feet away, I could see in his body language that the normally calm and cool president was perturbed. It was quiet -- too quiet.’
OK, I made up that last sentence. But it gibes nicely with Henry’s self-dramatizing description of his encounter with Obama. And it reminds me of Gunga Dan’s dramatic dispatches from Afghanistan all those years ago.