Barack Obama

Barbara Boxer to Rudy Giuliani: ‘Ask Osama bin Laden’ if Obama loves America

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 20: U.S. President Barack Obama hugs Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) before delivering the State of the Union address in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC

Sorry guys.  Preparing for a major move up north and I’ve been too busy to post today.  I’ll do a couple of posts now and a couple tomorrow.  When I get settled I’ll be back on a regular schedule.

The Week

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) waded into the ridiculous “Does Obama love America?” debate Monday night with some sharp words for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani:

Giuliani came under fire last week for claiming President Obama does not love his country. He walked back that assertion in a Monday op-ed, saying he never meant to question Obama’s “motives or the content of his heart.”

Jon Terbush

Obama: We Must Confront ‘Twisted Ideologies’ That Spawn Violence

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AP Photo

NBC News

President Barack Obama on Wednesday said that the world is at war with those who have “perverted Islam,” and stressed the importance of reaching out to youth most at risk of being successfully recruited by radical groups.

“No religion is responsible for terrorism, people are responsible for violence and terrorism,” Obama said during a summit on countering the spread of violent radicalism.

Leaders from 60 different countries traveled to Washington for the summit, which focused on working with local communities to identify youth most at risk of falling prey to terrorist propaganda.

The president warned that terror groups are often effective in enticing poor or uneducated Muslims with a good salary and “twisted” interpretations of their religious beliefs.

The gathering comes shortly after terror attacks in Copenhagen and Paris and as ISIS expands its reach beyond the Middle East. Terror groups have rapidly improved their online and social media presence, and ISIS has successfully recruited American citizens.

“Terrorist groups like al Qaeda and [ISIS] deliberately target their propaganda in the hopes of reaching and brainwashing young Muslims, “Obama said. “Especially those who may be disillusioned or wrestling with their own identity.”

Obama said that parents, teachers and faith leaders play a key role in preventing terrorist groups from penetrating into local communities. They are usually the first to notice signs that someone is beginning to adopt radical religious beliefs.

Part of the Obama’s plan also includes increasing law enforcement outreach to Muslim Americans.

“Engagement with communities can’t be a cover for surveillance,” Obama said.

Throughout his remarks, the president stressed that no one religion or set of beliefs is responsible for terrorism.

“They are not religious leaders, they are terrorists,” Obama said of ISIS and Al Qaeda.

– Andrew Rafferty

Presidential Firsts in Tech

A late entry for President’s Day…

Telegraph

Telegraph

A 2012 New York Times piece titled “The First Wired President” explains how Abraham Lincoln pioneered government use of the telegraph during the Civil War. Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, had the first telegraph room built in the White House.

Telephone

Telephone

The White House got its first telephone in 1877, during the single-term presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes. The original phone number for the president was 1, though at the time the phone was installed, only the U.S. Treasury Department was able to ring him directly.

Electricity

Electricity

Benjamin Harrison had the White House wired for electricity. But since the 23rd president was reportedly afraid of being shocked, he never touched the light switches.

 Radio

Radio

Warren G Harding’s voice was the first of any U.S. president to be broadcast on radio. A year later, in 1923, Calvin Coolidge gave the original radio-specific presidential address.

Television

Television

Franklin Delano Roosevelt had the honor of being the first president to appear on television. His 1939 speech at the opening of the New York World’s Fair was broadcast by RCA and NBC.

Computers

Computers

Jimmy Carter, 1976’s “computer-driven” presidential candidate, was responsible for bringing the first computer database systemsinto the White House.

 

Email

Email

In 1998, Bill Clinton typed up and sent out the first e-mail by a United States president in office. The recipient: 77-year-old astronaut-senator John Glenn, who was in space at the time.

Website

Website

Clinton also oversaw the creation of the first presidential website in 1994, WhiteHouse.gov, which still operates today.
Social Media

Social Media

The Los Angeles Times proclaimed Barack Obama “the first social media president” upon his election to office in 2008. Obama now maintains active accounts on Twitter,Facebook, and YouTube, firsts for a sitting president. He’s also held online question-and-answer forums on Reddit and Google+.

 

Smartphone

Smartphone

Obama is also the first smartphone-using president. The current commander in chief carries a specially made BlackBerry with him (even though he’d rather have an iPhone), a first for a sitting U.S. president.

 

Selfie Stick

Selfie Stick

And let’s not forget about the selfie stick.

Obama: Eliminate The Senate Filibuster

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AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

TPM LiveWire

He said the “routine” use of the 60-vote requirement by Senate minorities makes it arcane in an era of partisan polarization, and that it “almost ensures greater gridlock and less clarity in terms of the positions of the parties.”

Obama, whose presidency has coincided with the dramatic escalation of filibusters, noted that there’s “nothing in the Constitution that” protects the blocking tactic.

Though he has typically been mum about Senate rules, Obama benefited greatly from Senate Democrats’ move in 2013 to eliminate the filibuster for most executive branch and judicial nominations. It remains in place for Supreme Court nominations and legislation.

Here’s the relevant quote by Obama, via Vox, in response to a question about how to govern amidst polarization.

Probably the one thing that we could change without a constitutional amendment that would make a difference here would be the elimination of the routine use of the filibuster in the Senate. Because I think that does, in an era in which the parties are more polarized, it almost ensures greater gridlock and less clarity in terms of the positions of the parties. There’s nothing in the Constitution that requires it. The framers were pretty good about designing a House, a Senate, two years versus six-year terms, every state getting two senators. There were a whole bunch of things in there to assure that a majority didn’t just run rampant. The filibuster in this modern age probably just torques it too far in the direction of a majority party not being able to govern effectively and move forward its platform. And I think that’s an area where we can make some improvement.

Obama Mocks Mitt Romney For Being ‘Suddenly Deeply Concerned About Poverty’

BARACK OBAMA MITT ROMNEY DEBATE

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the end of the third and final presidential debate October 22, 2012 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) | MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — Thought the 2012 presidential campaign was over? Think again.

President Barack Obama didn’t have much to say about Mitt Romney’s rekindled aspirations for the White House when he delivered a flat, “No comment,” earlier this month. But apparently he couldn’t resist much longer, following reports that the former GOP candidate was weighing entering the ring in 2016 on a platform focused on lifting up the middle class and eliminating poverty.

Addressing House Democrats at their annual retreat in Philadelphia on Thursday night, Obama referred to one “former presidential candidate” who was “suddenly deeply concerned about poverty.”

“That’s great. Lets do something about it,” Obama said, according to a White House pool report.

Romney fired back on Twitter, by noting poverty levels under the Obama administration.

“Mr. Obama, wonder why my concern about poverty? The record number of poor in your term, and your record of failure to remedy,” Romney said.

Obama also said in Philadelphia that he had heard a Republican senator, who he did not name, was “suddenly shocked, shocked, that the 1 percent” was doing much better than the vast majority of Americans.

“I consider imitation the highest form of flattery,” Obama said of Republicans’ sudden embrace of populist rhetoric.

Three Republican senators considering bids for president — Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Marco Rubio of Florida — spoke about the need to address income inequality at a summit organized by the Koch Brothers on Sunday.

53 Historians Weigh In on Barack Obama’s Legacy

Barack - NY Mag

New York Magazine ~News & Politics

I suspect that President Obama’s race will ultimately seem akin to President Kennedy’s religion. Each will certainly be remembered for their pioneering role, but upon closer inspection it’s clear that neither of them wanted to be remembered primarily (or even partially) for the breakthrough he embodied. ~ Kevin Kruse

“It’s a fool’s errand you’re involved in,” warned Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon Wood when approached recently by this magazine to predict Barack Obama’s historical legacy. “We live in a fog, and historians decades from now will tell their society what was happening in 2014. But we don’t know the future. No one in 1952, for example, could have predicted the reputation of Truman a half-century or so later.”

Wood is right, of course. Historians are experts on the past, not the future. But sometimes the wide-angle perspective they inhabit can be useful in understanding the present. And so, on the eve of Obama’s penultimate State of the Union address, we invited a broad range of historians — academic and popular — to play a game.

Over the past few weeks, New York asked more than 50 historians to respond to a broad questionnaire about how Obama and his administration will be viewed 20 years from now. After the day-to-day crises and flare-ups and legislative brinkmanship are forgotten, what will we remember? What, and who, will have mattered most? What small piece of legislation (or executive inaction) will be seen by future generations as more consequential than today’s dominant news stories? What did Obama miss about America? What did we (what will we) miss about him?

Almost every respondent wrote that the fact of his being the first black president will loom large in the historical narrative — though they disagreed in interesting ways. Many predict that what will last is the symbolism of a nonwhite First Family; others, the antagonism Obama’s blackness provoked; still others, the way his racial self-consciousness constrained him. A few suggested that we will care a great deal less about his race generations from now — just as John F. Kennedy’s Catholicism hardly matters to current students of history. Across the board, Obamacare was recognized as a historic triumph (though one historian predicted that, with its market exchanges, it may in retrospect be seen as illiberal and mark the beginning of the privatization of public health care). A surprising number of respondents argued that his rescue of the economy will be judged more significant than is presently acknowledged, however lackluster the recovery has felt. There was more attention paid to China than isis (Obama’s foreign policy received the most divergent assessments), and considerable credit was given to the absence of a major war or terrorist attack, along with a more negative assessment of its price — the expansion of the security state, drones and all. The contributors tilted liberal — that’s academia, no surprise — but we made an effort to create at least a little balance with conservative historians. Their responses often echoed those from the far left: that a president elected on a promise to unite the country instead extended the power of his office in alarming, unprecedented ways. Here, we have published a small fraction of the answers we found most thought-provoking, along with essays by Jonathan Chait, our national-affairs columnist, and Christopher Caldwell, whom we borrowed from The Weekly Standard. A full version of all the historians’ answers can be found here.

“Interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter,” Obama told his Cabinet last month, shortly after his surprise announcement about restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba. As it happens, this was exactly what a few of our respondents had nominated as the best remaining action Obama could take for his legacy. Before going to press, we let them revise their answers. There will certainly be more interesting stuff, of Obama’s design and not, before January 2017 that will date this project over and over. History is funny that way.

Continue reading the various bios here…

H/t: Don B

Laura Ingraham stupefied by Obama’s popularity: ‘In defeat… he’s setting the agenda’

Laura Ingraham speaks to Fox News (screen grab)

Best reader comment from TRS site:

The economy is getting slowly better IN SPITE OF Republican gridlock, not because of it. Of course Laura Ingraham’s troglodyte listeners wouldn’t be capable of understanding that.

The Raw Story

Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham on Sunday reacted to President Barack Obama’s rising poll numbers by advising the Republican-controlled Congress that “gridlock” would help the country.

“In defeat, Obama looks like he’s setting the agenda,” Ingraham complained during a panel discussion on Fox News Sunday. “I mean, his poll numbers are up. He’s got a bounce in his step… He is rising in the polls as he comes off this near-historic defeat across the board.”

“The Republicans shouldn’t fall into the media trap of ‘We have to work with Obama! We have to work with Obama!’” she continued. “Obama is going off on his own. He’s going to sign an executive order, he’s going to close Gitmo, he’s draining Gitmo down.”

“Republicans have been successful and the economy has been improving with two things: gridlock and opposing Obama. The economy has been getting better!”

Watch the video below from Fox News Sunday, broadcast Jan. 4, 2015.

Everything Is Awesome!

ARLINGTON, VA – DECEMBER 24: Dressed as Santa Claus, Kerry Nistel (R) holds an American flag after water-skiing along the Potomac River near the Washington Monument December 24, 2003 in Arlington, Virginia. This is the 18th year Nistel has dressed as Santa and water-skied on Christmas Eve. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Politico Magazine ~ Michael Grunwald

Well, not everything. But America’s looking much better than you think

Good news! The U.S. economy grew at a rollicking 5 percent rate in the third quarter. Oh, and it added 320,000 jobs in November, the best of its unprecedented 57 straight months of private-sector employment growth. Just in time for Christmas, the Dow just hit an all-time high and the uninsured rate is approaching an all-time low. Consumer confidence is soaring, inflation is low, gas prices are plunging, and the budget deficit is shrinking. You no longer hear much about the Ebola crisis that dominated the headlines in the fall, much less the border crisis that dominated the headlines over the summer. As Fox News host Andrea Tantaros proclaimed earlier this month: “The United States is awesome! We are awesome!”

OK, she was talking about the Senate torture report, not the state of the union, but things in the U.S. do look rather awesome. Mitt Romney promised to bring unemployment down to 6 percent in his first term; it’s already down to 5.8 percent, half the struggling eurozone’s rate. Newt Gingrich promised $2.50 gas; it’s down to $2.38. Crime, abortion, teen pregnancy and oil imports are also way down, while renewable power is way up and the American auto industry is booming again. You don’t have to give credit to President Barack Obama for “America’s resurgence,” as he has started calling it, but there’s overwhelming evidence the resurgence is real. The Chicken Littles who predicted a double-dip recession, runaway interest rates, Zimbabwe-style inflation, a Greece-style debt crisis, skyrocketing energy prices, health insurance “death spirals” and other horrors have been reliably wrong.

Come to think of it, the 62 percent of Americans who described the economy as “poor” in a CNN poll a week before the Republican landslide in the midterm elections were also wrong. I guess that sounds elitist. Second-guessing the wisdom of the public may be the last bastion of political correctness; if ordinary people don’t feel good about the economy, then the recovery isn’t supposed to be real. But aren’t the 11 million Americans who have landed new jobs since 2010 and the 10 million Americans who have gotten health insurance since 2013 ordinary Americans? It’s true that wage growth has remained slow, but the overall economic trends don’t jibe with the public’s lousy mood. And the public definitely does get stuff wrong. A Bloomberg poll this month found that 73 percent of Americans think the deficit is getting bigger, while 21 percent think it’s getting smaller and 6 percent aren’t sure. In fact, the deficit has dwindled from about $1.2 trillion in 2009 to less than $500 billion in 2014. My favorite part is the mere 6 percent who admitted ignorance; 73 percent are definitely sure the shrinking deficit is actually growing.

The point isn’t that the midterm election’s discontent was illegitimate. The point is that Americans should cheer up! Six years ago, the economy was contracting at an 8 percent annual rate and shedding 800,000 jobs a month. Those were Great Depression-type numbers. The government was pouring billions of dollars into busted banks, and experts like MIT’s Simon Johnson were predicting that the bailouts would cost taxpayers as much as $2 trillion. In reality, the bailouts not only quelled the worst financial panic since the Depression, they made money for taxpayers. Nevertheless, last week, after the government sold its stake in Ally Bank, its last major holding in a financial institution, Johnson complained to The New York Times about the “unfortunate and inappropriate message” being sent by people pointing out the bailouts were actually profitable. In this holiday season, can’t we be a little bit happy we didn’t have to waste the $2 trillion he thought we were going to waste?

This bah-humbug brand of moral superiority has flourished since the crisis: How dare you celebrate this or that piece of economic data when so many Americans are still hurting? It’s awkward to argue with that view, since many Americans are indeed still hurting. But the economic data keep showing that fewer Americans are hurting every month. No one is satisfied with 5.8 percent unemployment, but it’s way better than the 10 percent we had in 2010 or the 11 percent Europe has today. Declining child poverty and household debt and personal bankruptcies are also worth celebrating. Better is better than worse. Whether or not you think Obamacare had anything to do with the slowdown in medical cost growth, it’s a good thing that Medicare’s finances have improved dramatically, extending the solvency of its trust fund by an estimated 13 years. It’s a good thing that U.S. wind power has tripled and solar power has increased tenfold in five years. And while it’s true that the meteoric rise of the stock market since 2009 has produced windfalls for Wall Street, it has also replenished state pension funds and 401(k) retirement plans and labor union coffers. It definitely beats the alternative.

Let’s face it: The press has a problem reporting good news. Two Americans died of Ebola and cable TV flipped out; now we’re Ebola-free and no one seems to care. The same thing happened with the flood of migrant children across the Mexican border, which was a horrific crisis until it suddenly wasn’t. Nobody’s going to win a Pulitzer Prize for recognizing that we’re smoking less, driving less, wasting less electricity and committing less crime. Police are killing fewer civilians, and fewer police are getting killed, but understandably, after the tragedies in Ferguson and Brooklyn, nobody’s thinking about that these days. The media keep us in a perpetual state of panic about spectacular threats to our safety — Ebola, sharks, terrorism — but we’re much likelier to die in a car accident. Although, it ought to be said, much less likely than we used to be; highway fatalities are down 25 percent in a decade.

The other problem in acknowledging good news, not just for the press but for the public, is that it has come to feel partisan, like an endorsement of whoever occupies the White House. Republican leaders have exacerbated this problem by describing everything Obama has done — his 2009 stimulus package, his 2010 Wall Street reforms, his 2013 tax hikes on high earners, his various anti-pollution regulations aimed at coal-fired power plants, and most of all Obamacare — as “job-killing” catastrophes that would obliterate the economy. It’s hard to point out that the economy is humming along nicely without making those doom-and-gloom predictions sound ill-advised and over-the-top. Because they were. Liberals who predicted disaster when Obama refused to nationalize the banking system during the financial crisis and when Republicans insisted on the harsh budget cuts in the 2013 “sequester” were wrong, too. Disaster hasn’t happened.

As ideologically inconvenient as that may be for chronic complainers on the left and right — and for pundit types invested in their bad-year-for-Obama narrative — it’s wonderful for the country. You don’t have to endorse Obama’s economic philosophy to realize that it hasn’t wreaked short-term havoc, just as you don’t have to endorse the Obama or George W. Bush anti-terror philosophies to acknowledge that America hasn’t endured a rash of terror attacks since 2001. Last week, polls finally found a majority of Americans recognizing that the economy is improving, which is to say a majority of Americans are recognizing reality. It’s probably time for politicians to discover a new Ebola to scream about.

There is no shortage of candidates in this less-than-perfect union. The U.S. is still plagued by inadequate public schools, crumbling infrastructure, soaring college tuition costs, stark inequality. Many Americans want accountability for reckless bankers, torturers and fatal choke-holders. Washington is still almost as dysfunctional as everyone says it is. Congress this session really was the second least productive ever. And even though Obama is winding down the U.S. involvement in overseas wars, the world remains a scary place. There’s still plenty to worry about.

But for now be merry! And may the new year be as awesome as this year.

H/t: Don Babets

Conservatives use N.Y. shooting to bash Obama

The Washington Post – Plum Line

The horrifying shooting of two police officers in Brooklyn on Saturday has brought out the worst in some people. But it also gives us an opportunity to consider how we talk about the way we talk and whether we might do it in a more enlightening fashion. We regularly argue over not just the substance of issues but the way those issues are being discussed; both liberals and conservatives are convinced that their side presents its arguments in reasonable and logical ways, while the other side is prone to inflammatory, dishonest and demagogic rhetoric. When something like this shooting happens, the accusation that it occurred because of the words someone else spoke is almost inevitable. But it’s also almost always wrong.

The venom directed at de Blasio from police union leaders was particularly vivid. “There’s blood on many hands tonight,” said Patrick Lynch, the head of the New York police union. “Those that incited violence on the street in the guise of protest, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. We tried to warn it must not go on, it shouldn’t be tolerated. That blood on the hands starts at the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor.” Here’s a tweet from former New York governor George Pataki:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) seemed to want to say that public officials were not responsible for the murders, but yeah, they’re kind of responsible: “the tone they’re setting around the rhetoric regarding the cops incites crazy people, but I blame the shooter.” And then there’s Rudy Giuliani, who was much more explicit: “We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police,” he said in an appearance on Fox News.

It’s hard to find words to describe what a despicable lie this is. But here’s the truth: Every single time Barack Obama has spoken about these issues, he has stressed that violence of any kind, even when people are protesting over legitimate grievances, is utterly wrong and unacceptable. He makes sure, in all his public statements, to include praise of police officers. If he had ever said anything like “everybody should hate the police,” it would have been rather dramatic, to say the least. But he never said anything even remotely resembling that. For instance, here’s what Obama said after the grand jury’s decision was announced in the Ferguson case:

“I also appeal to the law enforcement officials in Ferguson and the region to show care and restraint in managing peaceful protests that may occur. Understand, our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day.  They’ve got a tough job to do to maintain public safety and hold accountable those who break the law. As they do their jobs in the coming days, they need to work with the community, not against the community, to distinguish the handful of people who may use the grand jury’s decision as an excuse for violence – distinguish them from the vast majority who just want their voices heard around legitimate issues in terms of how communities and law enforcement interact.”

Wow, that is some horrifying anti-cop rhetoric. And what about de Blasio? Here’s part of the explanation for why some in the NYPD seem to hate him so much:

There have been a number flash points between de Blasio and police, including one earlier this month, when the mayor spoke to George Stephanopoulos of ABC News about his fears for his biracial son.

“It’s different for a white child. That’s just the reality in this country,” de Blasio said. “And with Dante, very early on with my son, we said, look, if a police officer stops you, do everything he tells you to do, don’t move suddenly, don’t reach for your cellphone, because we knew, sadly, there’s a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color.”

I get that police officers might not like to hear that, but is there a single sane human being who can say it’s bad advice to give to a black teenager? Or that anyone could take it as encouragement to commit murder?

It’s perfectly fine to call people out on their rhetoric. Everyone fortunate enough to have a prominent voice in public debate should be accountable for the things he or she says. But when someone tosses off the accusation that an act of violence committed by one deranged person was a consequence of words someone else spoke, he or she should immediately be met with a couple of questions, the most important of which is: What,exactly, are you referring to?

So when Rudy Giuliani accuses Barack Obama of saying “everybody should hate the police,” the response should be, “Mr. Giuliani, can you tell us what quote you’re referring to? When did President Obama actually say ‘everybody should hate the police’?” And when Giuliani has no answer, then he ought to be asked whether he’d like to retract the accusation. When Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) says, “it’s really time for our national leaders, the president, it’s time for the mayor of New York, and really for many in the media to stop the cop bashing, to stop this anti-police rhetoric,” he should be asked what exactly the president said that constitutes “cop-bashing.”

To be clear, this isn’t about shutting down anyone’s right to say what they want, even to toss off unsupported accusations. People regularly react to criticism of the things they say with cries of “censorship,” as though the First Amendment not only gives you a right to speak but also removes anyone else’s right to tell you that you’re being a jerk. But if you’re going to say that someone else’s words led to violence, you’d better have a case to make, and that case has to include the specific words that supposedly pushed the violent person over the edge.

Liberals like me certainly spend our fair share of time examining and criticizing the rhetoric of conservative politicians. But when any of us do it, we should follow a simple rule: The more serious the accusation you’re making, the more responsibility you have to support it with clear, specific evidence. If we all followed that rule, we could have a debate about events like this shooting that actually brought some greater understanding.

Or we could just see how angry we could make people, and whether we could use the tragedy to stir up hatred at our political opponents.

Obama Only Takes Female Reporters’ Questions In Last Press Conference Of The Year

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama | Credit: AP

Think Progress

In his annual end-of the-year press conference on Friday, Obama took questions from eight women and no men— a move that did not go unnoticed by journalists and others listening to his remarks.

The president started the conference by joking that White House Press Secretary “Josh [Earnest] gave me the list of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice,” and then proceeded to call on eight women from various news organizations. CBS News’ White House correspondent Mark Knoller said on Twitter that TV reporters were advised in advance that Earnest wanted “other reporters not regularly called on to get to question the [president].” The strategy resulted in the likely unprecedented female question sweep in addition to leaving out the major news networks.

On Fox News, White House correspondent Ed Henry joked that he was “outraged for men everywhere” but then admitted seriously that he was not pleased with the questions the women asked.

“Frankly some of the questions just didn’t press him,” he said. “There’s so much going on right now and the questions were trailing off. The president was almost like, let me remember what you asked because it was so unmemorable.”

Watch it:

The eight female journalists asked Obama about Sony’s decision to pull The Interviewfollowing threats by North Korea, the deal to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, the state of race relations in the country and the Keystone XL pipeline, which incoming majority leader Mitch McConnell said will be the first matter up for a vote when the new Congress returns from the recess. Notably missing were any questions about the CIA torture report released last week.

While Obama only formally called on women, two men were able to yell out their own questions during the conference. “Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?” one asked, while a reporter called after Obama as he left the room. “Will you smoke a cigar Mr. President?”