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Saturday, February 23, 2019

By Kathleen Hennessey, Tribune Washington Bureau (TNS)

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama not only made a little news at his annual year-end news conference Friday, he appears to have made history.

For the first time in recent memory, the president called only on female journalists — eight in a row — during an extended question-and-answer session at the White House. The lineup appeared to be a landmark moment for a press corps with a history of being a boys’ club, where high-profile female correspondents were the exception, not the rule.

Friday was a reminder of how much has changed. The president began with a question from Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico and continued with reporters from Bloomberg BNA, Associated Press, McClatchy Newspapers, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and American Urban Radio Networks. All were women. The group represented a mix of major news outlets and smaller organizations. Notably, television correspondents, who sometimes dominate the news conferences and daily media briefings, were shut out.

Though at least one brief news conference overseas saw one or two questions from only women, for a formal session at the White House, this appeared to be the first.

“In my 40 years, I’m sure there was never a full news conference where only women were called on,” said ABC News’ Ann Compton, who retired this year. Compton said the choices were also notable because they represented “core White House regulars” — beat reporters who cover the president full time.

That group has gradually grown to include plenty of female faces. Women regularly fill close to half the seats in the briefing room and have made a majority of the small band of reporters that follow the president when he travels. The Tribune Washington Bureau’s Christi Parsons serves as president of the White House Correspondents’ Association.

The list of reporters the president calls on at formal news conferences is often predetermined by the White House and given to the president as a list. (On Friday, Obama described it as the “Who’s been naughty, and who’s been nice” list.)

One White House official said the choices were made by White House press secretary Josh Earnest.

“The fact is, there are many women from a variety of news organizations who day in and day out do the hard work of covering the president of the United States,” Earnest said in a statement after the news conference. “As the questioner list started to come together, we realized that we had a unique opportunity to highlight that fact at the president’s closely watched, end-of-the-year news conference.”

Earnest notified television networks before the news conference that they would be left out. In an email, he wrote that each of the networks had been able to ask the president two questions since last month’s midterm elections and all but one, Fox News, has gotten a one-on-one interview in that time.

“We’re going to give an opportunity to reporters from outlets that have NOT gotten to ask (Obama) a question since the election — without putting you at a competitive disadvantage,” he told the television reporters.

Photo: President Obama speaks at a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room on Friday, Dec. 19, 2014, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

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36 responses to “Obama Takes Questions Only From Women, Apparently A White House First”

  1. itsfun says:

    “We’re going to give an opportunity to reporters from outlets that have
    NOT gotten to ask (Obama) a question since the election — without
    putting you at a competitive disadvantage,” he told the television
    reporters.

    Apparently not allowing men to ask a question doesn’t constitute a competitive disadvantage.

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      Oh boo hoo…All the big mouth yapping gaping male maws went silent …and thank goodness for that for a change. The sound of the male voices in this country is boring to the max. It’s about damn time men shut their fat yaps for a while. Women are fed up hearing their motor mouths.

      • itsfun says:

        Written by a true hater of men. Why are you such a hater?

        • Eleanore Whitaker says:

          Written by the sister to 5 brothers and half brothers, 11 nephews, 3 nieces, 2 sons, one deceased ex, 16 salesman with whom I worked and a dozen male chemical, industrial, mechanical and environmental engineers.

          I hate stupid men. My best friend is a guy I’ve known and respected for 28 years. He isn’t like you…a psychological bully always hot to insist on his own way. Time for itsy bitsy you to grow the hell up.

          • itsfun says:

            You have such a wonderful way with words. Almost everyone of your posts call men stupid, bullies, and any other insult yo can dream up. You obviously hate men.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            Of course I do…I’m a professional writer. As for calling men stupid and bullies…I only reserve that for those who strut, swagger, drawl, get religion after years of scumming around and men who have brains that they rarely use when it’s so much easier to let Fox News and Limbaughspeak do their talking for them.

            My ideal man is the one who is intelligent, classy and doesn’t feel the need to embed his superiority in my brain.

          • kG says:

            i guess when you say your ideal man ” intelligent ,classy ” I guess you are attracted to someone who is the complete opposite of you? I guess it is true,opposites do attract!
            I think the ideal “man” for you is a plaid wearing,Suburu driving gal!

          • Carolyn1520 says:

            LMAO Of course, any woman who calls you out for what you are must hate men or be a lesbian. I venture to say you’ve met quite a few who turned you down in your many years of trying. If you ever did catch one, I bet she’s wishing she was with “a plaid wearing Suburu driving gal” instead.

  2. kG says:

    How is this good? This monster is tearing thiscontry apart.

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      As a woman? I think it’s wonderful! For once, all those commandeering BS male reporters got their come uppance. Any press conference held always has men acting like roaches all diving for the last morsel. And why is that you might wonder? Because men believe in their own superiority. In this day and age, that’s more BS than all the long horns in TX can produce in a millennium. Step aside boys…time to shut up and sit down for a change.

  3. Eleanore Whitaker says:

    And now we see what the real bully boys agenda has always been…To go deaf at the sound of female voices. Along comes a president used to equality between the sexes and all the male honchos start right in with their elbowing, shoving, pushing and fighting …the real war they are bound to lose come 2016…Time for a female in the White House. Get over it boys.

    • kG says:

      I hope we have a real war! We need to rebuilt this country from the blood of patriots! I hope a real war between the rule of the Constution and the founding principals of this nation vs the ruinous and illegal policies of this monster.
      His promise of fundamentally changing this nation was not just a promise but a threat. He has certainly succeded.

      • Eleanore Whitaker says:

        Of course you do…Most blood thirsty vampires like you love streets bathed in blood, guts and gore. Don’t you? So..tell us…How many years did it take your Big Daddy to teach you how to hate minorities? Get over it bigot. You’re the minority…Most Americans knows that skin isn’t the pivot point upon which intelligence is judged. You are one sick sick sick hateful little turd.

        • kG says:

          Ah ah ..u are bat sh!!! Crazy. Is it that tim. .

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            You do realize that mentally ill people like you are loathe to admit they are insane? There has never been a person who was clearly mentally ill like you are that ever admits to it. Get help.

          • kG says:

            You sound really hot! Are you a hot chick? Santa likes good girls, if youbbeen a good girl mybe he will bring you a boy friend. That is what you need. A nice boy to take care of you!
            Try a few Advils,this time of the month can be hard on you gals!

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            It figures. The minute a guy with a brain like you has nothing of intelligence to offer, all he’s left with on his obsessive addictive mind is sex. Aren’t you just a little old to have raging hormones geezer?

          • kG says:

            Too old? Are u an ageist?.

      • charleo1 says:

        Well, we won’t. “Have a real war.” So once again, the haters,
        the nihilists, and the minority malcontents like yourself, are
        disappointed. But, since when you’re disappointed, the rest
        of the Country wins. It is my fervent hope, as long as attitudes
        like yours remain, they are forever frustrated.

  4. Eleanore Whitaker says:

    kG …Your “culture” of hated is getting to be a pedigree for anyone who lives in a red state. All your red states want is for middle aged, white males to be in total control. You want to explain how that will EVER happen when women and minorities ALL pay their taxes for the industries that are falling apart in red states? We are not going to support your phony welfare recipients, your phony SSDI trough feeders and than allow you to pollute our country with your rabid “culture” of hate. Time for you to go back to DogPatch where no one cares if you lay around useless and vegging out all day.

    • kG says:

      Sugar buns, I don’t live in a Red state. I live in the bluest ,most corrupt and bankrupt of all the American cities ruined by millions of illegals and liberal social welfare programs with the highest taxes in country.

  5. 4sanity4all says:

    I am delighted that the ladies were given their due. Isn’t it odd that the men never have a comment about equality when they are given respect and attention, but give respect and attention to women, and all of a sudden, it’s a big deal. Howling outrage when men have to endure what women have had to deal with. Hint to men: show some grace when women are given the privileges that you have always taken for granted.

  6. charleo1 says:

    I just wanted to say, I thought this was one of President Obama’s finest press conferences. What the Country seen was a President that’s faced, collapse level, recession. The almost indescribable mess of the ideologically stupid, and breathtakingly incompetent, Dick Cheney Presidency. (Starring G. Bush, as President.) The ongoing unraveling, and unprecedented rise of civil wars, and revolution throughout the Mid-East. With the accompanying rise of well funded radical extremist, like ISSL. An immigration crisis, a healthcare affordability crisis, a growing wealth inequality, crisis, a Middle Class jobs crisis. And nothing to deal with any of it, but a totally dysfunctional Congress. With half of it’s members personally hating, and plotting against him from the beginning. Oh, and the limited power granted under the Constitution, to one of the finest Presidents to ever grace the Office. And that’s not only my personal opinion. But is reflected in the hard cold numbers of a near roaring economy. And also, the realization of a wider World, within the ranks of both friend, and foe alike. That there is an extraordinary leader at the helm of the United States of America. When only a few years ago it was feared the World may need to cast around for another Country to fill America’s role. And finding China eagerly vying for the job! Remembering those days, the President verily oozed confidence. And why not? He had taken on the toughest job in the World, in one of the World’s toughest periods, and with that same quite confidence, and assurance of purpose, lead us all to a better place!

    • kG says:

      Ah ah …the delusional left! Easy on the cool aid there,an anemic growth of 1.25 % growth,an actual unemployment of 13% ,25% among new grads and African teens,the highest number of African American unemployment in history. 600 million spent on a “stimulus ” package that failed to produce a single job. 70 % of the “shovel ready ” jobs went to illeglas of the measles one million job created in six years. The most number of people in history on food stamp and welfare. National deficit of 18 trillion doon to be 24 trillion. An unconstitutional and unlawful decree of amnesty for 20 million illegals law breakers all the while decrying about police abuse by calling this country a nation of laws!!
      Do u remember the disaster that was the Obama care roll out. 300 million dollars to his buddies to set it up. In a country of 350 million people his signature accomplishment has managed to have 7 million enrolled!
      The worst foreign policy disasters since ,well W,with Libya ,Syria ,Egypt and Iraq going into chaos. The failure to stop ISIS at its inception.
      A failure ,a miserable failure at every level. A man can go to a city that has suffered horribly and has over 200,000.00 of Americans out work and tell them illegals are plus for them because the bring “vitality and youth” to their city! A true psychopath of monstrous proportions this man is !!

      • fortunev says:

        Please. Climb back into your hole.

      • charleo1 says:

        Ah, yes! Bring your own numbers. Or else how does one call a rather spectacular recovery, a dismal failure? I got you. I’ve heard you call the slow climb out of the deepest hole in 80 years a failure, for 6 years now. And even your numbers have improved! For credibility purposes I’m sure. I’ve also watched as you supported politicians who were trying to stem the recovery for political advantage. Then essentially bragged about their success. As if it was a thing to be proud of. I consider it an act against the best interests of my Country. Too bad about your alliances. They don’t speak well of you, in my opinion. Yes, there it is, my opinion. You don’t like it, but you can’t dispute, or refute it. So I hope you had fun writing about it. By the way, who was the last President you were proud of? That you could have written such a comment?

    • kG says:

      “Diplomacy with current American president ,Obama , is like playing chess with a pigeon, if he doesn’t have a move he flaps his wings and knocks off all the pieces.” An annynomous European ally in Match Feb. 2014 issue

      • charleo1 says:

        What does that mean? It has no context, no by line, no reference, and no one willing to take responsibility for it’s utterance. It’s like if say I suspect a person once cheated on his taxes. Then, I assume if he did that, he must a liar. And so, must fool around on his spouse. And, probably steals from his employer. It’s cheap cross fence gossip.

    • Carolyn1520 says:

      Thank you charleo1. Well stated and all true.

  7. docb says:

    Until recently, we have never had enough women in the WH Press core for this to happen. Thought it was excellent!

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