Saturday, June 16, 2012

Obama & Reagan have something in common

I don't know if you saw the news story regarding an Irish reporter asking President Obama a question...and the outrage it drew from other reporters. Outrage over interrupting a President with a question? Apparently today's media has no memory of how other reporters have treated previous Presidents.

Neil Munro, the reporter in question is only carrying on with a long-standing tradition of reporters interrupting Presidents... and best of all, this guy Munro is consistent with his answers to fellow reporters. ('Just questions you should be asking'. "I'd give you my name but you'd misspell it.") I also love the fact that he had a good reason for jumping in to ask a question...unlike most Presidents, Obama almost never takes questions after a briefing. I was in the White House rose garden with some other editorial cartoonists back in 1987, (and got to meet Reagan, Vice President HW Bush, Education Secretary Bill Bennet, etc.) Reagan was speaking to us at his podium, when Sam Donaldson popped up over the fence (uninvited and on. a ladder outside the fence, no less) and started heckling Reagan, which he did often back then. He yelled questions about Iran Contra and Oliver North.Unlike Obama, (at an event where reporters were invited and expected), Reagan was polite enough to stop what he was doing to answer Donaldson. Eventually, one of the cartoonists called for the group to go inside, and Reagan concurred...which really upset Donaldson.

A large political cartoon that we all created and gave to the President.

A separate cartoon Tom Toles created, with an empty word balloon for the President to finish:

It's amazing that the press seems to forget how rude and nasty Donaldson was, (and later with HW Bush), and additionally act as if this sort of "heckling" is unprecedented. How dare this guy Munro (who was invited to the press pool) ask President an actual question? 

I found a video of the event: (Donaldson heckles Reagan at the 11:38 mark)


  1. What a pompous a** Sam Donaldson was. My favorite clip of him was when Nancy was cutting a birthday cake for RR, Sam kept interrupting the ordered silence with an unanswered question along the lines of "Mr. President, don't you think you're too old to serve as President?"

    Finally, Nancy put him off to great applause with, "Sam, be quiet and eat your cake." I have that on DVD but can't find it on YouTube.

    1. That's a perfect example of Sam Donaldson's particular 'ettiquette', Kevin. I'd love to see that video sometime.


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