Effective first news conference for Obama

The president demonstrated that his administration will communicate more. But he must shorten his answers and speak in sound bites.

The president demonstrated that his administration will communicate more. But he must shorten his answers and speak in sound bites.

The formal setting, the East Room of the White House, seemed in sharp contrast to the popular president. Its jeweled tones of gold and red looked more palatial than populist.

Barack Obama addressed a country that has seldom heard a president speak about serious issues and take questions from the press so early on in its administration. And for a full hour! This is a good sign for communication, and he fared well overall.

Opening with a prepared statement, the president offered an anecdote about his trip to Elkhart, Indiana. He used numbers and examples to illustrate the impact the economy has had on real people.

“Last month, our economy lost 598,000 jobs, which is nearly the equivalent of losing every single job in the state of Maine,” he declared.

By making the numbers visual, he made me stop and think, “A whole state out of work? In America?” Give him props for technique.

Obama addressed his many critics.

“I suggest speaking to one of the millions of Americans whose lives have been turned upside-down because they don’t know where their next paycheck is coming from,” he said plaintively.

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