"Overexposed" Obama learning the art of ducking media

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Washington, Dec 1(ANI): U.S. President Barack Obama, who as a candidate vowed an unprecedented level of transparency, has of late been avoiding questions from the White House press corps and news conferences.

Obama has also closed the traditionally informal question-and-answer sessions with reporters at the Oval Office, and has pulled back from the fast pace of news conferences he established when taking office.

The President has not held a formal press conference in 19 weeks, since July 22, and the last one does not have good memories as well, as he waded into a racial controversy by saying that a white police officer "acted stupidly" when he arrested a black Harvard professor.

"It can't be a total coincidence that the last time he faced the press corps, we ended with beers in the Rose Garden with Henry Louis Gates and James Crowley, when the focus was supposed to be health care," The Washington Times quoted Julie Mason, a White House reporter for the Washington Examiner, as saying.

"It does seem like they are responding to the overexposure argument and trying to exert more control over his appearances," she added.

Obama also took few questions when he attended joint news briefings along with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Japanese Prime Minister and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak, the report said.

"It's surprising and quite unusual that President Obama meets with an allied leader like the Prime Minister of Australia and there's no photo op at the beginning or end of the session," said Mark Knoller, a White House reporter for CBS Radio.

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs quashed the observations and said: "The president enjoys taking your questions and questions from reporters throughout this process.

And I am - assume he'll continue to do so." (ANI)

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