President Bush has been criticized for limiting his exposure to the press, but he is actually more accessible to reporters than are some of the leading candidates vying to replace him, including Hillary Clinton, according to one observer.
Bush had participated in 25 news conferences from the beginning of this year through September, and fielded questions from reporters at 19 other sessions.
In contrast, Ruth Marcus writes in the Washington Post, Clinton and Barack Obama “have only occasionally held the kind of ‘press avail’ that for other candidates, and in previous years, has been a common, often daily, occurrence.”
Marcus noted that her Post colleague Dan Balz said on “Meet the Press’ in September that up to that point, Clinton had given only “one real press availability out on the campaign trail since she announced.” He added: “Obama is very much the same way.”
Sunday talk shows have traditionally been popular venues for candidates. But Hillary, although she made the rounds of five shows when she unveiled her healthcare plan in September, has “otherwise been unavailable,” Marcus pointed out, and “Obama has appeared just twice all year on Sunday shows.”
Among GOP candidates, front-runner Rudy Giuliani has appeared on a Sunday show only once.
Marcus observed: “Candidates eager, desperate even, for coverage are happy to make themselves available to reporters who have an interest in questioning them. Those in a strong position don’t want to risk veering off message.”
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