When is a news conference not a news conference? Maybe we'll see today at the White House. President Obama will speak about the Gulf oil spill and then take some questions, but it's not being called a press conference.
"THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks and takes questions from the press" reads the 12:45pm EDT entry on the White House schedule for Thursday.
You will note that it does not say something like, "The President holds a news conference."
It has been 10 months since Mr. Obama's last formal news conference, a prime time affair that bored the press corps to death, until the President took the last question of the night and said a Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer had "acted stupidly" when arrested a Harvard professor who was a friend of the President's.
But you could also argue that the President's last news conference was back in February, when made an unscheduled visit to the White House Briefing Room, discussing his talks with Congressional leaders.
Six reporters asked questions that day.
Or it might have been in April, when the President ended a nuclear summit in Washington, D.C. by making a statement and then taking questions from eight different reporters.
The White House transcript is labeled "Press Conference By The President."
But one might argue it was just last week when the President hosted his colleague from Mexico, and each leader took one question from the press corps in the Rose Garden.
The White House transcript called that a "Joint Press Availability."
While I don't have the numbers to back it up, my feel is that this President opens himself to questions at a lower rate than Presidents Bush I, Bush II and Clinton, and maybe even Reagan.
But President Obama does do a lot more one-on-one interviews - not that I'm going to get one of those anytime soon.
So we'll see later today whether this becomes a Press Availability or a News Conference.
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