June 23, 2009


Nico Pitney of The Huffington Post asks "Under which conditions would you accept the election of Ahmadinejad, and if you do accept it without any significant changes in the conditions there, isn't that a betrayal of what the demonstrators there are working towards?"

Obama's response:

Well look, we didn't have international observers on the ground, we can't say definitively what exactly happened at polling places throughout the country. What we know is that a sizeable percentage of the Iranian people themselves, spanning Iranian society, considered this election illegitimate. It's not an isolated instance, a little grumbling here or there. There [are] significant questions about the legitimacy of the election. And so ultimately, the most important thing for the Iranian government to consider is legitimacy in the eyes of its own people, not in the eyes of the United States. And that's why I've been very clear, ultimately this is up to the Iranian people to decide who their leadership is going to be and the structure of their government. What we can do is to say unequivocally that there are sets of international norms and principles about violence, about dealing with peaceful dissent, that spans cultures, spans borders, and what we've been seeing over the Internet and what we've been seeing in news reports, violates those norms and violates those principles. I think it is not too late for the Iranian government to recognize that there is a peaceful path that will lead to stability and legitimacy and prosperity for the Iranian people. We hope they take it.

UPDATE: John Amato sez:

Awww, the Politico and the Villagers are upset at the White House because Nico was singled out and asked a question about a subject that they all missed: Iran. Not that they didn't know the story, but that they didn't know how to cover it, since Iran was blocking as much info as it could get away with. I think it's exciting that the Obama Administration knew what Nico was doing -- and by the way, major props go to Nico for doing an incredible job, because he knew what to do before the Villagers did.

Iran Updates (VIDEO): Live-Blogging The Uprising

The traditional media never wants to recognize excellent work except when it comes from their own. How many times have we heard Chris Matthews call Chuck Todd a genius? Why is Chuck Todd a miracle worker? Before he was the anointed one, he was crunching election numbers for the presidential primary. Anyway, Michael Calderone wasn't too happy that Nico got called on by the White House. And by the way, Nicco's question was one of the toughest to answer, but the substance of what happened didn't matter to them. To Villagers everywhere, Nico cut in line.

Here's what Greg Sargent wrote:

Some reporters and right wing bloggers are accusing the White House of “coordinating” a question with The Huffington Post at today’s press conference, suggesting this shows the White House cozying up to a lefty news outlet.

Actually, the White House didn’t have to coordinate with HuffPo to know what Nico Pitney was going to ask, since he wrote this the day before the presser:

Tomorrow, President Obama is holding a news conference at the White House and I’ll be attending. If I get called, I want to ask a question that comes directly from an Iranian.

Emptywheel writes: Politico: “Oh Noes! The Best Reporter on a Subject Got Called on!!!”

When I heard, before the presser, that Nico was hoping to pose a question from an Iranian, I knew some beltway idiot would bitch if the HuffPo got a question. I just thought the bitching would come from someone with a more consistent record of being a complete idiot than Calderone...read on.

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