February 24th, 2009
07:51 PM ET
10 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. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Same old same old. Still missed the opportunity to tell his daughter where the chicken she eats comes from. American people do not pay him for walking his daughters to school. Can't handle the responsibility, step down. I have yet to hear him speak another language now that Ahmidanejad is presently visitng his fathers country. We are also mindful of other factors besides domestic issues that affect the economy and the leadership role the US plays on a world stage. So cut the crap. Republicans are still ahead of the president.

    February 24, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  2. Mari

    I do not have time to read the entire article, but its good to know that our president is a gracious man, and one that likes to engage his guests.

    I expect the usual vile comments from the far-right, and to the far-right I say:

    HOW CAN YOU CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIAN, AND SPEW SUCH VILE??

    Shameful!

    February 24, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  3. Lib's are Goofy....

    Geeezz , John. That was some hard hitting journalism. I think you left out the part about you also having "a thrill going up your leg"

    February 24, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  4. Harry

    How can Governor Jindal critcism the Democrats' stimulus plan when his own state is stilling feeling the aftermath of Katrina. Once again, they are quick to criticism but offer no constructive solutions, but taxes. The suggestion to Governor Jindal would be not the accept any of the stimulus money and continue to let the people of New Orleans suffer.

    February 24, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  5. Wow!!

    Our president is such a good, smart, thoughtful man.

    I'm sorry he's irked by the bubble, but I would just as soon he stay there – this world is full of loonies. BTW I volunteer to have my taxes raised to pay for a new helicopter if it is more secure for the president.

    God bless President Obama and keep him safe.

    February 24, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  6. texas teacher

    BON APPETITE, MR. PRESIDENT.... I hoped I spelled that correctly, I'm home sick... and the old texas teacher has trouble controlling her old fingers on the best of days.... *LOL*

    February 24, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. Felicia

    I LOVE A MAN WITH A HEARTY APPETITE: GO FOR THE GUSTO PRESIDENT AND LET THEM WHO RUNNING THIS SHY@.

    February 24, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  8. Joy

    Pres. Obama seems to be able to relate to all different people and their backgrounds and that is a good thing because you less judge people and really focus on getting to know each ethnic group and what makes them unique.
    Jindal and his response is going to make him look like an idiot just like Steele and his responses. They want to fight while the rest of the world want peace.

    February 24, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  9. texas teacher

    Sounds like a delicious lunch! Good for you, Mr. President... you have as much right as anyone to finish your lunch! You don't keep a wiry frame like yours from starving and just playing basketball! 🙂 Nice to hear about Obama INSTEAD of McCain or BUSH!

    February 24, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  10. texas teacher

    oh, wait.... I know... to be polite, President Obama, should have pushed the plate away as though it is beneath him to finish a meal while in such in important conversation! *LOL*

    February 24, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  11. K Fergus

    I pray everyday that the president is safe. The last thing the country needs is some idiot to do something foolish because a vile loathsome man like Alan Keyes tries his best to incite hatred, fear, and treachery in people.

    God bless him and keep him safe.

    February 24, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  12. Cindy

    How chummy. Having Lunch with those who got him elected- CNN correspondants and the mainstream media.

    February 24, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  13. bj, texas

    Perfect example of why the media is in the tank for this moron. He's driving our country towards socialism and here we have the media playing footsies under the table with him. What a joke!

    February 24, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Smart ? He eats, sleeps blackberry to make him look thoughtful. He is but a theory.

    February 24, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  15. Steve (the real one)

    Mari February 24th, 2009 8:02 pm ET
    I expect the usual vile comments from the far-right, and to the far-right I say: HOW CAN YOU CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIAN, AND SPEW SUCH VILE?? Shameful!
    ---------
    Once again I say, is it ONLY the far-right? Have you even been reading comments from the far-left or is that vile OK with you? Your outage is laughable!

    February 24, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  16. Steve (the real one)

    1. I do not have time to read the entire article, but its good to know that our president is a gracious man, and one that likes to engage his guests
    2. Our president is such a good, smart, thoughtful man.
    3. BON APPETITE, MR. PRESIDENT
    4. I LOVE A MAN WITH A HEARTY APPETITE:
    5. Pres. Obama seems to be able to relate to all different people
    ---------------–
    Is he the President or the captain of the high school football team because the cheerleaders are out in full force!

    February 24, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  17. Rave

    You Rock Sir. Look at that whimp Jindal..he has barely any idea what to comment

    February 24, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  18. Thank you President Obama

    ...nothing lasts forever..wok together to restore America.....a house divided against itse;f can not stand...you don't expect AMerica to prosper when you can't find a common ground to fix the problems we have....it's a shame

    February 24, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  19. Shankar

    GOP wants our President and Country to fail..so they can take over and continue with their corrupt principles.
    Even if Jindal was my brother, I would vote for Mr.Obama without a doubt.
    JINDAL = CLUELESS = BASELESS = FAKE = ZERO

    February 24, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  20. me in md

    to ula nejad

    When did Bush speak another language? He could barely speak English and don' t get me started on his attempt at Spanish. You silly people think that the only people who pay taxes are
    Republicans/conservatives. Guess what, you are not!! I pay taxes, probably more than you. I'm black, have a college education, have had the same job for over 20 yrs. All 7 of my brothers went into the military as my 3 sisters and I went to college and graduated. I would rather my tax dollars pay to keep a child from starving than for it to go to the greedy Wall Street players. Yeah, and all 11 of us are liberals/Democrats.

    February 24, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  21. Salas

    I guess ula(sacramento) is having a little issues that needs to be sorted out,this is called fixation to a stage in early life according to sigmund freued.If you want to say something, talk about issues and not hate statement.Maybe you guys cant live with the reality that he appears despite GOP taliban style opposition in the congress.Ula wake up and stop living in denial.Group psychotherapy would help,see ya for the therapy

    February 24, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  22. Salas

    I guess ula(sacramento) is having a little issues that needs to be sorted out,this is called fixation to a stage in early life according to sigmund freued.If you want to say something, talk about issues and not hate statement.Maybe you guys cant live with the reality that he appears calm despite GOP taliban style opposition in the congress.Ula wake up and stop living in denial.Group psychotherapy would help,see ya for the therapy

    February 24, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  23. cocoatan247

    Some of you will get it, some of you won't and to the rest of you you may catch up but Gov. Jindal is no authority on anything, not even his own state. Repuglicans are really pulling out the 'color' card for 2012. Too bad because there is something definitely wrong with your mindset and it will be a real cold day in hell before your party runs this country again. BARACK ROCKS!!!!!!!

    February 24, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  24. Why can't we be friends?

    Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca and Steve (the real one) can't we give the president a chance?
    Mari do we have to over simplify the response of all Christians and "far right" people?
    Why don;t all of us listen critically to the president without letting our pre-existing conceptions, good or bad make us go to positive or too negative. I think that the president had some good ideas tonight, and some less good one. I think at time he was too harsh and that saying that he inherited the deficit was unnecessary. However, I think that it is clear that he cares about the American people, he is wiling to be bipartisan, and that he is willing to work hard. That said why can't we work together all of us? Put the bickering aside and move forward giving the president a chance while we do what we can to help ourselves and our neighbors?

    February 24, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  25. Nikky

    ULA NEJAD.. YOU KEEP CALLING THE PREIDENT CORRUPT. MAYBE THE CIA SHOULD GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU, YOU ARE ON EVERY BLOG CALLING THE PRESIDENT AND HIS WIFE CORRUPT. CORRUPT JUST LEFT OFFICE , MAYBE YOUR FRIEND BOBBY JINDAL KNEW HIM...HIS NAME WAS BUSH IN CASE YOU FORGOT.

    February 24, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
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