One thing that was clear from tonight's press conference was why the White House keeps wanting to get Obama out in front of the cameras and on TV. Obama has a ready and mainly unflappable command of the issues confronting the country, which I think people find reassuring in itself. In a climate of crisis such as this, I don't think most people's focus is ideological. They're looking for competence and command, a sense that someone is sailing the ship, at helm with a clear sense of where they're going.
There was nothing particularly soaring about the answers or the exchanges. But it's not that kind of a setting. What Obama did manage were a few of those 'gimme a break' zingers that ends an exchange on his terms.
What did strike me was that there was not a single question on what I think is the question of the day: the Geithner bank rescue plan. I take it that that means that most of the reporters think that issue is largely behind us now unless the market or any clear economic realities say otherwise. For better or worse.
The point of the exercise for the White House seemed summed up in Obama's clearly heavily-thought-out conclusion, the gist of which was: We just got here. The country's a huge mess. It's going to take a long time to dig our way out.
Not a bad point.
(ed.note: Live-blogging of the event below.)