A puzzle for you

Photo courtesy of
‘Metro Rider, Express Reader’
courtesy of ‘chip py the photo guy’
Tom took a swing  at Fletcher for his choice of question at President Obama’s news conference the other day but he was one of many folks who took issue with it. It seems like every one of Tuesday’s WaPo chats included mention of it. Out of the three times I saw it only one Post writer gave anything other than a weasely defense of it.

Below the fold, see if you can match the quotes with the speaker.Highlight the hidden name to see who it is. Your three possibilities are:

Robert Barnes: political and Supreme Court reporter
Gene Weingarten
: humor columnist
Howard Kurtz
: media reporter

Q: DeKalb, Ill.: Dear Howard, Was a question about A-Rod really appropriate during the President’s press conference last night? Why not also ask about Jessica Simpson’s weight gain or the fact I missed House…. I would expect that question from a sport reporter, but I was shocked a “serious” reporter would ask it based on the topic at hand.

A: Howard Kurtz: You know, there are different views of this, but I didn’t have any problem with Michael Fletcher’s question. A-Rod is not only the biggest star in baseball, he’s a huge celebrity. I mean, he hangs out with Madonna! He had just admitted the past steroid use, which clearly and irreparably tarnishes his record, that day. The story of past baseball cheats — Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Jason Giambi — has badly hurt the sport. So it’s hardly in the same category as Jessica Simpson (which Obama has already opined on, when asked — I believe by Matt Lauer — how he felt about her weight gain, and not him, being on the cover of Us Weekly.)


Q: Dunn Loring, Va.: Do the Post editors get together and decide what question their reporters should ask at a presidential news conference, or did Michael Fletcher come up with his question about A-Rod on his own? If the latter, how much longer while he be on the White House beat?

A: Robert Barnes: I don’t know how Michael decided to ask that question, but he’s certainly got people talking. From what I see reading the papers or watching tv, there is a lot of interest in the A-Rod story, so what’s wrong with getting Obama’s reaction? I know when I was a kid, about the only way I would have read about the president was if he showed up in the sports section.


Q: Washington, D.C.: Scenario:

U.S. is about to embark on enormous program doubling the size of the government in an effort to stave off economic collapse. The plan will cost $850 billion plus $500 billion in interest payments in the future. The financial sector is on the verge of collapse needing an additional $1.5 trillion in support.

The people of the country — from bankers and lawyers to millworkers — are terrified that their jobs are disappearing, and don’t understand how the plans will help them.

Some members of Congress, apparently unaware of the history of the Great Depression, are proposing a “Buy America” provision in the legislation that could spark a trade war, creating a few hundred jobs in steel manufacturing and causing tens of thousands in exporting to lose their jobs.

The country is fighting two wars, and dealing with pockets of geopolitical insecurity. The budget is unsustainable in the long term.

The President agrees to speak on primetime television for the first time in his administration. You work for the most important political newspaper in the country. So you ask the President what he thinks about Alex Rodriguez taking some drugs five years ago.

You’re the expert on all things humorous. Is this a form of subtle comedy? Tragicomedy? (Unintentional tragicomedy?) Some sort of performance art I didn’t understand?

A: Gene Weingarten: I heard this question. I know the questioner. I did not like this question, not so much because it was trivial, but because it led to a simple, moralistic, non-answer. It was a softball.

Well I used to say something in my profile about not quite being a “tinker, tailor, soldier, or spy” but Tom stole that for our about us page, so I guess I’ll have to find another way to express that I am a man of many interests.

Hmm, guess I just did.

My tastes run the gamut from sophomoric to Shakespeare and in my “professional” life I’ve sold things, served beer, written software, and carried heavy objects… sometimes at the same place. It’s that range of loves and activities that makes it so easy for me to love DC – we’ve got it all.


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