February 24th, 2009
07:51 PM ET
6 years ago

Lunch offers insight into Obama's thinking

Obama's team believes stimulus speed is critical but knows there's a danger in trying too much, too fast.
Obama's team believes stimulus speed is critical but knows there's a danger in trying too much, too fast.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – When the waiter reached for the plate, President Obama shook his head and smiled as he asked for a few more minutes. He had been talking to his guests, and had barely taken a bite of his lunch.

The new president was keeping with a longstanding tradition on days when the commander in chief delivers an address to a joint session of Congress: Around the table Tuesday sat television anchors and the Sunday morning interview program hosts and two senior aides. The location was the dining room in the White House residence.

Over lunch of lobster bisque and striped bass, it was a chance for the president to share his thoughts on the goals of Tuesday night's big speech and the challenges ahead. There were ground rules for the discussion: We are not allowed to quote the president or his senior aides directly.

In Washington journalism parlance, this is called "background" - what we heard was attributable to "senior administration officials." Or, the ground rules allow such constructions as, "The president is known to believe ..." or "The way the White House sees this is ..."

Some things we learned were policy-related, some more personal. Some highlights:

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Jean

    bj, Cindy...this lunch before a speech to congress is a tradition, whether the president is Democrat or Republican.

    Rave, no need to insult Governor Jindal. Remember Obama's line about disagreeing without being disagreeable?

    February 24, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  2. Steve(the smart one)

    @steve(the real one) Whats the matter Steve,couldnt you make the football team?Sounds the the green eyed monster got you son.

    February 24, 2009 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  3. Leah DiMarco, Texas

    CNN you have a typo.

    According to other articles yesterday... President Obama reads 10 letters per DAY from the public. I think you have a typo up above in the article because John King typed ' per week ' instead of ' per day '.
    Obama reads 10 per day Monday thru Friday.

    February 25, 2009 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  4. Steves cheerleader

    @Real Steve.Your wisdom is so impressive,you should work for Faux News or Rush Limbaugh.

    February 25, 2009 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  5. L

    Let them eat cake!

    February 25, 2009 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  6. Diji

    I watched Alan Keyes say on TV that Obama must be stopped or America will cease to exist. He is saying Obama should be eliminated to save America. There must be a law against this kind of utterance. Alan Keyes belongs in a nut house for much needed psychiatric treatment.

    February 25, 2009 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
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