The first official word on record at today’s White House press briefing said it all: ‘Whoa!’
That was the reaction from a handful of reporters in their seats when President Obama made a rare, unannounced visit to the briefing room – precisely at 1:30 p.m. ET, the scheduled briefing start time.
The move caught the entire White House press corps off guard as members scrambled to their seats.
Rarely do Obama administration press briefings start on-time, and on Fridays in the summer they are often not even held.
“Do you think anybody else is showing up?” Obama asked the room of reporters.
The ensuing 20-minutes were more lecture than briefing, but afforded a rare opportunity to hear the president speak off-the-cuff on race. He did not take any reporters’ questions.
“We’ll try to arrange a fuller press conference to address your questions,” Obama said at the top of his remarks.
After Obama concluded, White House press secretary Jay Carney fielded questions from the podium for 20 minutes. He also announced that the president will hit the road next week, traveling to Galesburg, Ill., Warrensburg, Mo., and Jacksonville, Fla., for “events on the economy.”