If East Timor Can’t Get a Question, Neither Can Obama

By MichaelJames

Mar 19, 2011 9:28am

ABC News' David Kerley and Jon Garcia report:

After White House officials said Obama will “be having three press conferences with each of the leaders” on his Latin America trip, press conference number one in Brasilia was axed. Why? Apparently Obama’s host, Brazil’s new President Dilma Rousseff doesn’t do questions.

"It's not her way,” a Brazilian Foreign Ministry official, who declined to  be named, told a pool reporter when asked for an explanation.

“She didn't do it with the prime minister of East Timor either," the official said.

Reporters traveling with Obama, anxious about dwindling opportunities to quiz the president on everything from Libya to Japan to Brazilian trade, made appeals to the White House to find a way to make Obama available for questions. Some hoped Obama would keep his promise and, while appearing with Rousseff, would take questions anyway. But White House officials said that wouldn’t fly — not very diplomatic to show up your host that way.

The leaders won’t be mute, however. Both will be making statements to the press — with ability to follow up.

- David Kerley and Jon Garcia

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