The Ed Show | February 19, 2013
>>> and we are back. the washington, d.c. media has finally showed some concern about a very serious issue, not having access to the president of the united states when he played golf with tiger woods . here is fox news ed henry , the president of the white house correspondence association.
>> this is not about a trivial issue like a golf game. we don't really care about the president's score. what we care about is access to the president of the united states , whether it's a democrat or a republican. this is about the very serious issue of transparency.
>> okay. let's have that discussion and run the numbers. here are some statistics on presidential access. president obama has held 79 news conferences in his first term compared to 89 for george w. bush . but according to white house press secretary jay carney , president obama has held 35 news conferences in which reporters were permitted to take questions. okay. president bush held 19 by this point in his presidency. so what are we talking about here, ed? the media frenzy over the golf game reached tiger woods himself during a news conference about an upcoming tournament today.
>> playing with mr. president was pretty cool. he is a wonderful person to be around and we won. yeah, he calls up and said hey tiger, you want to play?
>> he does not.
>> obviously, there is a process that is involved. and i was invited to play. he hit the ball well and got amazing touch. he can certainly chip and putt.
>> just how regular of a guy is barack obama ? he is president of the united states . he wants to play with the best golfer in the world, arguably. the white house has said the golf game was played on a private course, and therefore the press pool was not invited. let's sort it out tonight. if we're talking about transparency and access, i'm joined by joan walsh of salon.com, and susan del purcio. great to have all of you with us tonight. joan, if it is about transparency and it is about access, hasn't barack obama been more than forthcoming? and why does this come it now when president obama is arguably on his recreational time? your thoughts.
>> well, you know, the last time the president used the word transparency, ed, was last week in the state of the union talking about his national security policies, which have not been as transparent as many of us want. so when i read ed henry 's letter, i thought he must be talking about that. he must be talking about the drone program. he must be talking about that white paper on targeted killings, right? that's what we need transparency on. and, of course, he was not. the letter really reached a certain kind of self-satire that made me think that it's time for those guys to have stephen colbert back as their keynote speaker at their din their year, because this is ridiculous that the most important thing, disappointing thing that the president has done is golfed with tiger woods privately, and this is what they're raising a ruckus about. it's ridiculous.
>> susan , a golf game. isn't the timing terrible for ed henry if he represents the press corps?
>> i really think this is unfounded. i really think there is no reason for going after the president whether he is playing golf with tiger woods or anybody else. i'm fine with his vacation time for the press not to have access. as a matter of fact, it's probably more relaxing for the president, which is a good thing. but there is some pushback here. and i think it has to do with something deeper, which is the complaints the press has had with this administration leapfrogging them at times and using social media and other tools to get their message out, which is perfectly acceptable in this world. i think that the press probably hasn't caught up to it yet, the more traditional press.
>> ryan , did tiger woods have anything to do with any of this? it would have been a heck of a story if somebody had gotten access and they would have had fun with it. it would have been ratings.
>> if it was just obama and a staffer and two other folks out golfing, they probably wouldn't have wanted to go out there. they wanted to see tiger woods hit a drive. these reporters are just like any man out there. but what they missed is that the other two members of the foursome, milton carroll and jim crane, as lucia graves has reported for " huffington post " are oil men. so at the exact same time there is this huge climate protest going on in washington, obama is out playing golf with texas oilmen. and this is just after, you know, he gave his speech on at the state of the union saying that we cannot wait. the world is being destroyed by climate. we have to do something.
>> that would have been really bad optics.
>> luckily for him the press was so worked up about the fact that they couldn't get a photo of tiger woods that they didn't google the other two guys that he was golfing with.
>> right. they didn't mention it. they didn't google it. it doesn't matter. they're not complaining about golfing with oil men. they're complaining about golfing with a celebrity and that they didn't get their time to ask tying area few questions.
>> all right. two days ago senator marco rubio said the president's plan on immigration was dead on arrival . the president today reached out to several senators, including senator rubio. both sides have released statements saying they are committed to a bipartisan commission and they agree there is progress. joan, what is going on here? these statements are very diplomatic given the statements telephone last few days. we have gone from dead on a rival to these guys talking to one another. what does it say about the president reaching out to senator rubio?
>> well, it seems like it helped. and it is also clear there had been staff communications all along that the president is not doing this in a vacuum, and that they know that they can't do it without democrats either. so it's actually a rare sign that something might get done on this, and that they decided to dial back the insanity and not slap him and slap him back when he called. i think it's a good thing from what we can tell. i think they're probably still pretty far apart.
>> it would it seems to me that the president, i'm speculating, would call up rubio and say hey, my plan is just like yours. it really me? is newt gingrich right? am i the problem in all of this? ryan , is this new president obama in his second term who is going to, you know, press the republican senators on issues like this where he really wants to see something get done, and we all know that immigration reform is a big deal .
>> he certainly has learned a lot from his first term. what he is showing now is that he doesn't want another episode where mack baucus spends eight months sitting around with a couple of republicans pleading to get one of their votes and eventually they all trickle off. and, you know, he was also not involved at all during the health care . certainly he was sending people down, but he wasn't picking up the phone, you know, and calling down there like he did today, though certainly he had some phone conversations with olympia snowe .
>> that obviously didn't pan out. but that's what this is. he is saying this is not going to be a 14-month affair. we know where we are. we're going to do this or we're not going to do it. but we're not going to drag it out for 14 months.
>> susan , the president says that he'll work with anybody. i mean, he is calling republican senators, trying to get something to move on immigration. doesn't this put rubio in somewhat of a box? one day he says it's dead on arrival , the next day he making progress, had a good conversation with the president.
>> this was a great move by the president strategically, there is no doubt about it. and he said he was open to conversation. he didn't say it was his plan and that's it. they said they were going to work together. as you said, they were both very diplomatic. and now it is on the republicans to show that they can work with this administration and they have more incentive because, frankly, it's very much in their own agenda. the problem that the president potentially can have is within democrats in his own party who are up for reelection in 2014 on this and a couple of other issues. he may also have to call some democratic senators to get this done.
>> all right, joan walsh , ryan grim, susan del percio. you never know. the president might have been breaking the news to the oil guys that hey, fellows, we're not going to do the keystone pipeline . it's your putt.
>> we'll never know.
>>> first karl rove attacked her. now the senate minority leader is desperately going after ashley judd , 20 months, 20 months? before election day . we're rights