As any regular reader knows, I often criticize Chuck Todd as an Obama/Democrat partisan.
So when he breaks free and asks the hard, and necessary, questions of this administration, I will be the first to credit him for it. And yesterday was the day.
Here, verbatim, is what he asked of Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney during yesterday\’s briefing:
“The president in explaining the problems of the VA seemed to sound a familiar theme that he did during the HHS situation, that he did during the GAO issue, which he did during the IRS, which is that its a systemic bureaucratic issue, out-dated technology in one case. In another case its people that didn\’t, there wasn\’t enough manpower over here, in another case its middle management not getting the issue up to the top. Is there now a concern that essentially if there was any department that we all spent ten days scrutinizing, we\’d find out it was just as mismanaged, just as bureaucratically a mess? Is he concerned that this technology issue that he has identified at HHS, that he has identified at the VA is systemic around the government? and if that\’s the case is it time to front load and do something about the management of government?”
Excellent question! Not insulting, not demeaning, not sarcastic, but dead on target regarding the formulaic way that President Obama addresses every issue which makes him and his administration look bad.
So, not surprisingly, Carney tried to deflect away from directly answering it. But Todd would not allow him to do so. He followed up with:
“Do you guys lack a system here, in the White House to find out what\’s going on at these agencies? Double check, Particularly on veterans affairs?”
And when Carney again tried to duck the question, Todd asked:
“How do you know that you don\’t have the same systemic technological problems at agriculture? Before I get a call from Tom Vilsack. That\’s the pattern that I feel like you see here and the President himself seems to explain everything to the American public which is that everything is a bureaucratic problem or technology problem when there are these issues that come up.”
Good for you, Chuck. These are exactly the kinds of questions which should be asked – not just of Barack Obama, but of any President who attempts to brush aside serious accountability for his failures the way Mr. Obama does.
I commend you for, yesterday, being the hard-nosed White House Correspondent that you, and every other White House Correspondent, ought to be every day….and strongly urge you to continue in this vein for as long as you hold the position (which, NBC being NBC, might well be a limited engagement if you take me up on it).
As for Jay Carney? Pity him, or anyone else, who has to try and defend the actions of this President.
I mean, if White House Correspendents, even from Obama-supportive venues like NBC, are going to be asking these kinds of questions, maybe the best thing he can do is pack up and….oh, wait. Never mind.