December 17, 2013

Obama can't avoid PRing anything and everything - even a private meeting

Via Drudge,  Mail Online notes that president Obama hijacked a tech meeting about NSA over-reach and intrusive surveillance to pitch some PR about Obamacare and discuss the failed roll out of said program:
During a White House meeting called to brief America's largest tech companies today about government overreach in electronic surveillance, President Barack Obama changed the subject – angering some meeting participants by shifting gears to address the failed launch of healthcare.gov.

'That wasn't what we came for,' a vice-president of a company whose CEO attended told MailOnline. 'We really didn't care for a PR pitch about how the administration is trying to salvage its internal health care tech nightmare.'

One executive said that meeting participants were dead-set against straying from the principal focus of the meeting – the uncomfortable and legally untenable position they are in when the National Security Agency demands access to their digital records.

The White House said in advance that the meeting would include a discussion of healthcare.gov, but the company executive said the only subject that mattered to the participants was the NSA. 'He basically hijacked the meeting,' the executive said. 'We all told the White House that we were only there to talk about what the NSA was up to and how it affects us.'
When a presidency is based on public relations, it's the only trick in the bag of tricks.  It's no wonder the president, meeting with a group of technical insiders, felt the need to hijack the agenda and talk about his own legacy and the impact they all might have had on his legacy and what they could do to help him fix it. 

It's not what the rest of those in attendance wanted to discuss.
The unnamed business leader told the paper that 'there's only one subject that people really want to discuss right now.'

The 15 companies, including Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter, Apple and Etsy, issued a one-line joint statement after the 150-minute marathon meeting in the White House's Roosevelt Room, saying that they 'appreciated the opportunity to share directly with the president our principles on government surveillance that we released last week and we urge him to move aggressively on reform.' There was no mention in the statement of healthcare.gov.
The PR president is now failing at PR because there are important things going on that he can't seem to fathom, or even see.
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