Bush’s Hesitancy at Press Conference


* Re “Bush Breezes Through 1st Press Room Briefing,” Feb. 23: Clearly reporter James Gerstenzang saw a different press conference than I. In the conference Gerstenzang watched, Bush “demonstrated enough confidence to . . . skim easily over [questions] he didn’t want to answer.” I saw Bush demonstrate his usual hesitancy and inability to go off script, frequently refer to notes when at a loss for answers and skirt questions he would not or could not answer.

His response to Helen Thomas regarding the separation of church and state showed me a man angry at being challenged, not a deft handling of the reporter, and his non-answer of the Blair question showed a man who had no idea what to say. Bush’s boorish nickname dubbing of reporters is an embarrassment to watch, as both an example of his own behavior and that of members of the press, who are starting to look like PR flacks for the Bush team. Gerstenzang did a fine job of burnishing the Bush image, just as they want. Maybe Bush will honor him with a nickname real soon.


Los Angeles


Bush’s first press conference was a definite flop. I really think that the press corps felt sorry for him. Why are the media so easy on this bumbler? Never in the history of televised presidential press conferences has there been such a poor performance by a standing president. As he left the podium it was apparent that he was uptight and, I am sure, relieved that it was finally over. He will not be giving many more of these. His supporters will put him under wraps and start woodshedding for the State of the Union speech. This administration is very fortunate that the focus for the time being is on the Clintons, which is obviously by design.



Valley Village