Um, Yes, That Is Pretty Testy

TPM argues that this is not testy:
"I am trying to make sure that his statements by him are answered. Don't you think that's important?" Obama shot back, while walking away. When Zeleny yelled a follow up question suggesting the Illinois senator had not answered the question, Obama fired back angrily, "Don't try cheap stunts like that."
That qualifies as testy. And the video does not change this conclusion.

Now the stupidity of all this is to even report on it. But excuse me, it was clearly a testy exchange.

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    He was testy (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by athyrio on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:58:45 AM EST
    what he said actually there is no other way to interpret it.....telling a reporter that he is pulling a "cheap political stunt" is a testy comment....Obama is in melt down....Clinton has gotten inside his head....Obama really thought he was the chosen one particularly after Iowa and he has found out to his despair quite differently since then....plus Bill yapping at his heels and he is in melt down....what would he do if it was the republicans and their attack dogs...He would go into a full spiral....

    Meltdown (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by felizarte on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:48:01 PM EST
    was exactly the word I had in mind; but you said it first, and just as well.  Barack is not at all doing himself a favor by responding in that manner.  It is the wrong time and issue to show his irritation. He should take a deep breath and re-focus on his campaign themes and policies.  He has to be careful not to appear wimpy or whiny.  He has demonstrated a good sense of humor; he should use that more often.

    Someone suggested a debate (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:03:09 PM EST
    between Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama.  Wouldn't that be fun?

    Melt down (none / 0) (#24)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:25:15 PM EST
    Maybe he should cry and start talking about fairy tales.

    Michelle can say:
    i can't change his sex, i can't make him shorter, i can't make him fatter, i can't make him white.


    Stop this now (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:46:14 PM EST
    I stopped people from attacking you and now you are going after people.

    What is this the Obama/Dean (none / 0) (#47)
    by jondee on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 04:18:29 PM EST
    Scream in which we try to convince everyone of how unfit and irrational he is?

    And later, if her nibs has a similar moment, we'll say "But Obama did it FIRST!"

    Puerile and Rovian all at once.


    Actually (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:02:36 PM EST
    My perspective is from having read the transcript first. SO i expected the exchange to be a bit testier.  I'll give you this content is pretty testy, delivery is not.

    Sargent closer (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by magster on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:22:12 PM EST
    It wasn't friendly, but relative to say the exchange Bill had defending the at-large caucus lawsuit, it was pretty tame.

    I'd give it a 3, 4 tops, on the testy scale.


    Out of 5 or 10? (none / 0) (#45)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 03:39:53 PM EST
    Now this is what I call (none / 0) (#52)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 04:48:07 PM EST
    Suggestion: next time, (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:22:21 PM EST
    just post a poll.  So simple.  testy/not testy/no opinion

    Imagine (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by xjt on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:28:29 PM EST
    ...if Hillary Clinton had jabbed the air with her finger and said, "Don't try cheap stunts like that." Why, I'm quite sure we'd get another round of cracks about Nurse Ratched, the shrew, the scold, the cold bi***, etc. on the blogs.

    I'm so glad TPM has assured us of their neutrality  in this matter.  

    Pretty much (none / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:33:10 PM EST
    Well, Hllary has Bill (none / 0) (#31)
    by byteb on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:14:31 PM EST
    to do her finger jabbing, testy stuff. Obama needs a Bill Clinton to be his "bad cop".

    Michelle qualifies... (none / 0) (#46)
    by ding7777 on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 04:01:42 PM EST
    Our view is that if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House,"

    in New York (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Judith on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:20:32 PM EST
    this does not qualify as testy in tone. A little schoolmasterish - yes - testy, not so much.

     lo siento

    just for that (none / 0) (#34)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:24:43 PM EST
    lo siento

    you get a five!

    if you agree (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by Judith on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:46:26 PM EST
    I must be wrong.

    Josh and I are in NY - that may be why we hear it differently from people outside of this area.  If he said it in another State the locals there may well indeed find it "testy".


    Good Point (none / 0) (#49)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 04:39:56 PM EST
    In NY this wouldn't be testy at all. In S.C., it probably would be considered testy.



    location location location (none / 0) (#51)
    by Judith on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 04:42:56 PM EST
    In Texas this would not be (none / 0) (#58)
    by Jgarza on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 05:24:38 PM EST
    We have state reps that slap microphones off podiums on the floor of the capitol, spray disinfectants on people, curse each other.  All sorts of stuff in Texas politics.

    That Must Be A Fun Place To Work n/t (none / 0) (#67)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:21:17 PM EST
    but... (none / 0) (#62)
    by Judith on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 08:24:31 PM EST
    I have to say that the reporter was from the NY Times, right? Also, if the quote above was from the same reporter, the description used was "angry", not testy.  Obama is not angry in that video.

    Oh, I Could See A Little Bit Of Anger Peeking (none / 0) (#68)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:27:45 PM EST
    out now and then. It was very controlled and covered by a less than genuine smile. A lot of people equate anger with a person raising their voice or yelling but that is not always the case.

    When I'm the most angry, my voice is very soft and quite and I am not a soft spoken person.


    Prediction: (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:31:48 AM EST
    jagarga will not think this was "testy."

    Heh (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:42:30 AM EST
    Well, neither did Sargent so it is a disagreement.

    Reading the exchange (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:44:51 AM EST
    I thought Obama was irritated.  Not so sure from the video, as there is so much commotion.

    He was irritated (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by TheRealFrank on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:53:17 AM EST
    From the video, though, it's not clear, as there is a lot going on, and obviously there are supporters around, so Obama's keeping a smile on his face.

    But, if you look at what he said, he was obviously irritated.

    And hey, the guy's human, it's no big deal. But, I wonder if reporting on this means that the honeymoon is now officially over for the media and Obama.


    So you agree with Sargent (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:50:12 AM EST
    and jgarza.

    I disagree, the "chepa stunts" line was clearly, to me, testy and irritated.

    I think you are wrong.


    I vaven't agreed with jgarza (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:53:21 AM EST
    yet and don't plan to start now.  Perhaps I'll hire an expert in breaking down sound from video.  What I sd. was, on paper, he was testy.  Video sound is a mess, but then I don't have the sharpest hearing either.

    Nothing to see here, folks (none / 0) (#59)
    by Demi Moaned on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 05:57:58 PM EST
    Testiness is not something that particularly comes to mind watching this video. No doubt I'm missing some of the context as this is the first I've heard of it.

    I think he says.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by desertswine on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:45:22 AM EST
    mis-statements, not his statements.

    The reaction (none / 0) (#8)
    by CathyinLa on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:56:05 AM EST
    is a bit over the top.  Charging the press with cheap stunts?  He's in store for much more than that.

    Obama is a moralizer.  It's a turnoff for me because he gets caught up in it to the point that he believes he's above question.  He's self effacing sometimes, and charming when he is, but the purer than thou route is fraught with perils.

    And not that it's a huge deal but questions about whether he's ready or not will be answered in the minds of some, and not in his favor.

    Sure (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:00:25 PM EST
    I think if he allows people to take him off the pedestal, he will be much better off.

    Doesn't he lose his rationale? (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by CathyinLa on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:16:11 PM EST
    If he becomes just another politician why not elect the tried and tested?

    He wants to offer a more hopeful less slimy kind of politics, but as soon as you see him as just another pol employing the strategies he despises, becoming a hypocrite right before our eyes, getting miffed, what is the rationale for being the alternative to Clinton?

    He has to stop the whining, the blaming, the agitation and be above it if he's going to ultimately beat what the Democratic party was destined to do all along, nominate Hillary.


    Cuz he is a better pol (none / 0) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:32:21 PM EST
    That is his rationale.

    more likeable? (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by CathyinLa on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:51:57 PM EST
    more successful for a progressive agenda?

    Then we're back to him not doing much different than the man he disparaged in that Reno newspaper. He's not much different than Clinton '92.  Except somehow he believes he can just tap into fevered rejection of conservatism, and I think he's wrong.  


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:54:04 PM EST
    I've always said he is most like Bill Clinton 1992.

    Likeable enough. n/t (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by LarryInNYC on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:08:01 PM EST
    this may seem silly and (none / 0) (#43)
    by hellothere on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 03:03:13 PM EST
    actually trite, but if someone wants to be what obama is projecting himself to be, then simply look at ghandi or someone much like him for example of how to answer that. one of the best ways of answering criticism came with the answer, "render unto caesar what is caesar and to god what is god's."

    Fired back angrily? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Pete Guither on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:53:53 PM EST
    OK, this is a silly discussion, but TPM actually took exception to the notion that he "fired back angrily" more so than the "testiness" of it (whatever that means).

    More broadly, it's clear that the tone of the exchange wasn't anywhere near as acrimonious as ABC claimed it was. When Obama said, "don't try cheap stunts like that," he was smiling -- he certainly didn't "fire back angrily."

    ABC said he fired back angrily.  He didn't.  TPM is correct.

    "irritably impatient; touchy." (none / 0) (#27)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:42:37 PM EST

    No (none / 0) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:45:21 PM EST
    On the FP of TPM the title is "You Call That Testy?"

    Sorry (none / 0) (#41)
    by Pete Guither on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:58:40 PM EST
    I based my comment on reading the full TPM post, not just on reacting to their title.

    My fault.


    I think he's irritated in his first reply (none / 0) (#25)
    by along on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:37:39 PM EST
    and that's close enough to being testy to qualify.
    but I also agree with TPM that "fired back angrily" and "confronted" are total mischaracterizations.

    two more points: I think the "cheap stunts" remark is a reply to Zeleny's follow-up question, which we can't discern on this video. Maybe we can assume it's simply "you didn't answer the question, senator," but we don't know exactly. What Zeleny specifically said and in what tone probably had a bearing on Obama's reply. I DON'T think Obama is saying the initial question is a "cheap stunt."

    also, you post the video, and everyone can make up their own mind, so that's cool. but before the video, you quote ABC's characterization of the exchange, which is in question, and then say that proves it was testy. That's kind of absurd, no?

    Evidently... (none / 0) (#26)
    by garyb50 on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:41:11 PM EST
    My testy-radar is seriously on the blink... I watched it twice and registered zero testy.

    Stop the cheap stunt comments (none / 0) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:42:53 PM EST
    No clue (none / 0) (#35)
    by garyb50 on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:28:01 PM EST
    What you're implying or ordering or whatever.

    Making a point (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:31:00 PM EST
    Did my reply seem testy to you?

    Now you listen to me ... (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by commissar on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:33:04 PM EST

    Heh (none / 0) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:40:27 PM EST
    That was testy on many levels.

    One thing (none / 0) (#40)
    by Judith on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:50:49 PM EST
    the qwuote you showed described him as shooting back a comment and then as saying something angrily.  The testy is in the description not the actual words he said and when I viewed it I did not hear testy.  Now again, I am in NY so my meter is set way higher or I would burst out crying when I left the house.

    Good one (none / 0) (#42)
    by garyb50 on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 03:00:39 PM EST
    Watching the video I was more into the body language & facial expressions... the background noise was too much for me.

    But I take your point.


    testy or headline (none / 0) (#32)
    by commissar on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 02:15:24 PM EST
    I'm not sure if this is "testy" or not. People can parse it; it's a fine distinction between "testy"  and "perfectly, roboticly calm."

    ABC News would have a headline here if a candidate got angry, red-faced, lost his temper, etc.  Maybe I'm a  little thick, but even Mitt's famous so-called meltdown didn't seem like much to me. This is nothing.  Could we not video all candidates 24/7 and record for posterity as "testy" all comments that went 0.1% off the equanimity scale?

    Testy? -- maybe, if you insist.

    Headline-worthy? -- no way.

    obma doesn't answer. (none / 0) (#44)
    by hellothere on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 03:05:49 PM EST
    he tells the reporter he'll talk to him off the record. then he gives his stock answer of about the other side being afraid and he must be doing something right.

    that's what i heard.

    sexist! (none / 0) (#48)
    by Kathy on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 04:26:02 PM EST
    I also thought that "testy" was a stretch when I watched the video, but the thing is, he keeps coming back.  He could've let it go the first time, just smiled and waved, or whatever, but he could not let the point go--which is what I've believed is his problem all along.  He doesn't know when to lose a spat to prevent an argument.  He always has to clarify and clarify until you agree with him.  Same with the Reagan thing. WHY is this still on his mind?  Let it go, man!

    As a woman (hey, ladies!) I have to say that this sort of behavior in connection with that sweet little story on Obama's website wherein it is stated that Michelle Obama would not accept a job until her husband met her future employee and gave his approval makes me think that he is just a know-it-all, misogynistic jerk.  I hope I don't get popped on the nose for saying this, and I can always just say if you don't agree with me that you are being sexist, but these are the sort of "silent" clues women notice in men that other men do not notice.  Sort of like men not noticing that the trash needs to be taken out or how to turn on the vacuum.  It's gotta be genetic.

    nope (none / 0) (#50)
    by Judith on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 04:40:49 PM EST
    He came back because there were other people calling to him situated in the vicinity of the reporter.

    I disagree (none / 0) (#53)
    by Kathy on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 04:48:07 PM EST
    I just watched it again (God, I'm ashamed to say that.  It's like porn, only I feel dirtier) and if other people are calling to him, then why does he only talk to that one reporter?   His attention seems to be solely on the questioner.  The one part at the end where he shakes hands with a supporter seems to be for show, as in, "see, she thinks I'm a good guy."

    But, you saw it differently, and I respect that.  I may just be seeing things my own way because of the whole "let me check out my wife's employer before she can take the job" thing, which frankly freaks me the frack out.


    location (none / 0) (#54)
    by athyrio on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 04:54:47 PM EST
    I agree it depends on the location of the remark...in this case south carolina it would be considered testy.....lol.....they are all about manners usually....

    it is ok (none / 0) (#55)
    by Judith on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 04:55:23 PM EST
    to disagree.  I think you are reading way too much into things...but that is your perogative.
    He didnt just talk to the reporter when he came back - he shook hands with someone. Other people wanted his attention.

    sorry - gotta go find some grub and feed the boarders.



    I can't get that upset about the job (none / 0) (#56)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 04:55:39 PM EST
    interview thing.  Both Obamas were mindful of his future trajectory in politics.  But, not so mindful re dealing with Rezko, his businesses, and his wife.   BTW:  Michelle Obama also took her child to an interview once.  That's gutsy.

    job thing (none / 0) (#57)
    by Kathy on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 05:14:25 PM EST
    I would call taking the kid unprofessional (even if Hillary did it, and y'all know that I loves me some Hillary).  

    I don't quite buy the "mindful of his political trajectory" argument, because, if I am reading this correctly,  (1) he only had aspirations at this point and held no elected position, rather he just had aspirations and (2) she (Michelle Obama, then Robinson) is quite capable of telling any perspective employer that she has a husband who wants to be a politician.  Why does she have to bring him in?  Does his presence give the statement more validity?  

    This is the exact line from his website, and I ask you to use the link provided at the end to see the full content, because I don't want to be seen as only giving one side of the story:

    "My fiance wants to know who is going to be looking out for me and making sure that I thrive," Jarrett recalled Robinson telling her.


    That sounds like something my daddy did when I first got a job at the car wash.  She is not a child.  She, at that point, was an Ivy League educated lawyer.  Why does she need a man to speak for her?  Why does she need his "approval" of her employer before she can take the job she obviously wanted because she interviewed for it?  Is he smarter than her?  Can her opinion of a situation not be trusted?

    Consider me boggled.


    I gather you don't believe this part of that (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 07:05:01 PM EST

    By that time, Obama the independent-minded community activist had privately expressed his political ambitions. This job would put his wife-to-be squarely in the offices of the man whose father had perfected the Democratic machine.

    "My fiance wants to know who is going to be looking out for me and making sure that I thrive," Jarrett recalled Robinson telling her.

    So the three of them -- the prospective boss, the job applicant and the man she would marry a year later -- piled into a booth at a seafood restaurant in the Loop and got to know each other over a long dinner.

    At the end of the evening, Jarrett turned to Barack and asked, "Well, did I pass the test?" Obama smiled, put his head down, closed his eyes and said, "Yeah, you passed the test."

    That was the start of a long relationship that has paid off politically for Barack Obama, connecting him to Daley's inner circle.

    At City Hall, Michelle Obama forged close and lasting friendships with Jarrett and many other top Daley aides, including former Corporation Counsel Susan Sher and David Mosena, who was the mayor's chief of staff when Michelle Obama first joined his administration. She left in 1993.

    Oculus? (none / 0) (#61)
    by Kathy on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 08:15:19 PM EST
    What am I missing?  Yes, I believe it, but I think it support what I am saying:  Why did he need to "approve" of her boss?  This is something you would do with a child, not an intelligent, well-educated woman.  I am flabbergasted here.  It still infuriates me.  I find it deeply, deeply insulting.

    I guess you thought Michelle could evaluate (none / 0) (#63)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 08:26:08 PM EST
    the job and interviewer with both her own best interests and those of her upwardly mobile, in a political sense, husband, so why did he have to get involved?

    Yes... (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Kathy on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 09:01:43 PM EST
    That's exactly what I thought.

    Am I missing something?  I'm new here, so if this is irony or sarcasm, you are Tom Cruise to my couch.  


    Don't you think he wanted to be (none / 0) (#65)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 09:56:28 PM EST
    introduced ASAP to the interviewer? He and Michelle didn't just drop by the office to meet the interviewer, all three went to dinner.  Very savvy.

    yes... (none / 0) (#66)
    by Kathy on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 10:18:10 PM EST
    I got that part, that he was using her to get to the mayor's office, but I suppose the thing that troubled me most is that it sent a clear message as to who is the most important person in that relationship.  Here she is in a job interview, which she got on her merits, and she was offered a job but she wouldn't take it unless it was clear that there had to be something in it for Obama, too.  And they weren't even married at that point, which makes it weirder for me.

    Maybe I just remember how my grandmother found that, after divorcing my cheating grandfather, she could not get her own checking account without a man to co-sign, could not buy a house or get a car loan, even though she had a steady job, and was not given promotions because they were giving them to "men who had families to support."  Never mind her own children.

    Now, if you said to me that Mrs. Obama took the job, worked her way into the office, THEN introduced him, I would have no problem with that.  That's networking.  This is so deliberate and demeaning.

    I'm sorry, and this may be off topic or too personal, so my apologies to BTD (and please tell me if I am wrong to post this so I know), but every woman I know is so angry about this.  It's just WRONG.