6:38: Starting soon. Think he'll get the hard questions? Think he'll use his boring professorial mode or his testy exasperated mode or might he attain true presidentiality?
7:02: He begins. If you don't believe we're in a crisis, you should talk to one person who's lost his job. Why would that be convincing? Only government can solve this problem. Money should go to the people most likely to spend it — not the wealthiest people, supposedly.
7:08: Failure to act "will only deepen" the crisis. That's less inflammatory that some of his recent statements.
7:10: Jennifer Loven asks him about his stronger earlier statement, that without action we may never recover. Do you think you risk losing credibility? No no no no no no. "You potentially create a negative spiral."
7:14: "That wasn't just some random number that I plucked out of.... uh" — he's thinking: can't say my ass — "out of a hat."
7:17: Iran. He's looking into it. "In the coming months, we will be looking for... openings...."
7:20: He's filibustering — using the boring professor mode.
7:23: "Everyone needs to be possessed with a sense of urgency." Let's be bipartisan: You must agree with me.
7:25: This isn't pork. There are no earmarks.
7:28: Is it so terrible to have a schoolhouse built in the 1850s? Let's see the school! You have to stop teaching when a train goes by. You get to hear a train go by. [ADDED: Don't liberals care about historical architecture?]
7:37: Jake Tapper asks how people are supposed to know if this economic plan is working — considering that earlier efforts haven't seemed to work. Obama talks about "creating or saving" 4 million jobs — huge difference between those 2 things! He talks a lot, but I don't feel that we got an answer (or that we could).
7:41: Will Obama let the press come photograph soldiers' coffins? He's looking into it. He'll get back to you later.
7:44: He's not going to let al Qaeda "act with impunity," but he has no details right now.
7:45: A reporter totally repeats Jake's question and Obama points it out. Embarrassing!
7:46: "I don't remember exactly what Joe was referring to." Laughter. "Not surprisingly."
7:47: "I have no idea" what Biden was talking about. "I really don't."
7:51: Helen Thomas gets her first shot at him. Does he know of anyone in the Middle East who's got nuclear weapons?
7:52: Huffington Post gets a question. What about Patrick Leahy's "truth and reconciliation commission" to investigate the "crimes" of the Bush administration? Will you rule out prosecutions? Come on, Barack. Just give us a nice upstanding "yes." [Sorry, I had "no" before, based on misreading the phrasing of the question.] Instead, we get the usual bullshit about how he hasn't "seen the proposals" and can't really "express an opinion" and he's got to look into it. Ugh! But his administration will do everything right. Fine. Good. Perfect. But the question is whether you will go in for this retribution against the prior administration? He does end with: "But my general orientation is let's get it right moving forward." Now, that is the right answer, and I think he knows it. It would have been presidential to take a stand against the Leahy effort. But that was not to be. A sadly missed opportunity.
7:58: "There's some ideological blockage there that needs to be cleared up." That's the characterization of the opposition to the stimulus. Makes those of us who are hesitant sound like some kind of disease. "But I am the eternal optimist... People respond to civility and rational argument... and that's the kind of leadership that I'm going to provide. Thank you guys!" Well, I respond to civility and rational argument, but I believe you just talked about me like I was some kind of disease!
8:00: He ends exactly on the button. We hear a stomp as he steps off the podium, and his walk back into the White House is noticeably different from Bush's. How can I describe the different feeling I get from that walk? You can object to this if you want. It's just my feeling. I think Bush would walk away in a ritual fashion that said: I am the President and I have accomplished what the President must do. Obama's walk said: I'm a man who has this job and now I've done it and I'm out of here.