President Barack Obama spent most of his surprise April 30 press conference on the defensive, blaming the Senate, budget cuts, Republicans, Syria’s dictator and much else for the shaky start to his second term.
He had nothing major or new to announce, and no theme or message to steer media coverage.
About a third of the way through the press conference, Obama responded to a question about his political clout by saying sardonically that “as Mark Twain said, rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point.”
“In the Senate, this habit of requiring 60 votes for even the most modest piece of legislation has gummed up the works there,” he complained.
“On Syria, I think it’s important to understand that for several years now what we’ve been seeing is a slowly unfolding disaster for the Syrian people … this is not a situation in which we’ve been simply bystanders to what’s been happening,” he argued.
“It is true that the sequester is in place,” he also observed. “It’s damaging our economy. It’s hurting our people,” he said.
The word “economy” came up ten times. However, six of those times concerned Latin American economies. Three other mentions came when he tried to blame United States’ stalled economy on the GOP’s agreement to sign his 2011 proposal for a budget sequester.
The 48-minute press conference ended with the departing president turning back to the podium to congratulate a basketball player for being gay.
“We judge people on the basis of their character and their performance,” Obama said. “I’m very proud of him.”
Videography by Molly C. Braswell