The big issue is of course the oil spill.
When any political leader feels they have to declare that they are "fully engaged" in an issue, it is clear that they are in trouble. Talking about it undermines the very point you are trying to make - not to mention that pesky Oil Spill Cam showing that, 38 days into the Deepwater Horizon disaster, not a whole lot had been achieved.This is a great description of his reaction.
Even judging Obama by his words, he has fallen woefully short over what has now eclipsed the 1989 Exxon Valdez wreck as biggest oil spill catastrophe in American history. He may have described it as an "unprecedented disaster" in last Thursday's press conference but a week into the crisis he was blithely stating that "this incident is of national significance" and rest assured he was receiving "frequent briefings" about it.
His approach to the issue was that of the law student suddenly fascinated by a science project. He displayed none of the visceral indignation Americans feel about pretty much everything these days - two-thirds now say they are "angry" about the way things are going - resorting instead to Spock-like technocratic language and legalese. "I'm not contradicting my prior point," he stated at one juncture. During those 63 minutes of soporific verbosity, about 800 barrels of oil poured into the Gulf.Doesn't sound like the Telegraph likes him very much. And if you read the bits I didn't quote, you will find him being compared to Bush. And they didn't think much of his handling of questions about the head of MMS.
Of course there is also the Sestak issue.
Even worse was Obama's refusal to say anything about the growing furore over White House attempts to persuade Congressman Joe Sestak to pull out of the Democratic Senate primary contest in Pennsylvania. Obama's advisers had preferred the Republican turncoat Senator Arlen Specter - and Sestak inconveniently let slip that he'd been offered a government job to step aside.And I especially like the description of Rahm Emanuel as a Chicago political "enforcer." I think the London Telegraph has a better understanding of Chicago politics than the Washington press core.
That was potentially illegal and for weeks the White House stonewalled. When, even more inconveniently, Sestak beat Specter, the trust-us-nothing-untoward-happened approach would no longer wash. But still Obama declined to answer the question on Thursday, fobbing the reporter – and America – off with the promise that "there will be an official response shortly on the Sestak issue".