Obama Creates Possible White House First by Taking Questions from Women Only at End of Year Press Conference

© Provided by The Hill
© Provided by The Hill

President Obama held a press conference on Friday at the White House, where he did something rare: He took questions from all female reporters.

Obama didn’t offer an explanation for the decision, only to say at the start of the press conference that White House press secretary Josh Earnest made him a “naughty and nice” list.

Obama took questions from mostly print reporters, including McClatchy’s Lesley Clark, BNA’s Cheryl Bolen, Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown, and The Wall Street Journal’s Colleen Nelson. The president also took one question from a radio reporter, April Ryan. None of the major TV networks was called upon for a question.

It is unclear if this was the first time a president called on all women during a press conference, but longtime White House reporters were declaring it a historic occasion.

At the end of the press conference, hours before Obama leaves for his Christmas vacation in Hawaii, a male reporter tried to fire off a question about Hillary Clinton, Obama’s former secretary of State and the 2016 Democratic front-runner for president if she runs.

But Obama left the briefing room.

White House officials could not confirm whether an all-women presser had ever been done before. But they did recognize what Earnest called a “unique opportunity.”

“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. “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.”

White House officials say they informed the the television networks prior to the news conference that they were not likely to be included on the President’s list because each of them has asked the President questions at least twice since last month’s election.

The officials say most of the network reporters have had exclusive presidential interviews during that timeframe.  So, the officials decided to call on reporters who have not questioned the president since the election.

SOURCE: The Hill – Amie Parnes

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