March 25th, 2009
12:25 PM ET
13 years ago

Behind the scenes: Ed Henry's take on exchange with Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="CNN's Ed Henry says he had several provocative questions prepared in advance of the news conference."]
Ed Henry, CNN's senior White House correspondent, got a tough answer from President Obama when he asked Tuesday night why Obama waited days to express outrage on the AIG bonuses. "Because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak," Obama said. Here's Henry's take on what happened.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The most amazing part of the exchange to me is that I didn't go into the East Room intending to ask President Obama about AIG.

After frantic preparation for the prime-time newser with several colleagues, especially lead CNN White House producer Tim McCaughan, I had several provocative questions in my pocket.

But none of them had much to do with the financial crisis because I assumed several of my colleagues would exhaust the topic of AIG before my turn came up.

Watch: Ed Henry on his exchange with Obama

At the first presser in February, I was about the 10th reporter the president called on. The economy had been chewed over so I went with a "sidebar" question about whether Obama, given his push for transparency, would overturn the policy at Dover Air Force Base preventing media coverage of coffins returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was a surprise line of inquiry. The president made news by saying the policy was under review - and a few weeks later he overturned it.

I was heading into this event with the same strategy: make news on something unexpected (I won't tell you which topics I was working on cause it would ruin the surprise for a future presser or interview with the president).

But on Tuesday night, as I sat in the front row nervously reviewing my hypothetical questions written out in longhand (decidedly old school), I kept thinking back to a conversation I had with Wolf Blitzer Saturday night at the Gridiron dinner.

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Filed under: AIG • Obama administration • President Obama
soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. SunDawg

    SMACKDOWN!!! Ed Henry is not a journalist – he should go to FAUX or ET for a better fit.

    March 25, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. Jeff D

    You poor leftist pukes! I think CNN is so far left they had their own inaguration ball! Yet you demean anyone that dares practice their rights to questions the administrations policies or lack there of.

    If you want to be an NOBAMA cheerleader only....go to MSNBC where Chris Mathews exhaulted on election night it was that stations duty to make the president successful.

    As much as I disagree with most of CNN's coverage, at least they are showing they are somewhat leaning both ways and giving the appearance of being fair!

    March 25, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. JBoss

    Ed Henry was in those ""Gocha Moments". He looked completly rediculouse. Also bringing the Presidents daughters into the situation was uncalled for. Next time Ed ask the question and stop the " Gotcha".

    March 25, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. di from NC

    I have noticed from the first news conference that Ed Henry did that he asks his questions in a beligerent tone. You folks at CNN need to send a reporter to the WH who is not so anti-Obama. Also, if you remember Obama's expression when he was angry at the VP's joke about Justice Roberts forgetting the oath of office, then where did you get the tidbit about his anger over Ed's silly question last night?

    March 25, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. kaydeedee

    I can't believe Mr. Henry is patting himself on the back about Obama's answer to his insipid question about "outrage." He and all of the press fail to recognize their part in creating the current pathetic level of discourse on crucial issues. Who cares WHEN the President showed his "outrage?" And this whole concept of outrage is a distraction from actual problem-solving. Sure, we're all angered about the rich guys profiting off taxpayer money. But when the "outrage" is all that's talked about for days on end because it's a good "story" for the press, and the press is feeding the pitchfork-in-hand mob mentality, all reason goes out the window. So I agree with those who called Obama's response a smackdown, and a well-deserved one. Sad that Henry doesn't get that. But not surprising.

    March 25, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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