By Bill SammonDeputy Managing Editor, Washington Bureau, FOX News Channel
He seated a left-wing radio host in the coveted front row. He called on a liberal blogger from the Huffington Post. He even brought far-left columnist Helen Thomas out of the wilderness and let her ruminate about "so-called terrorists."
[caption id="attachment_7044" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="President Barack Obama answers a question during his first prime time televised news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)"][/caption]
Clearly, President Obama was making a point of showing deference to the Left at his first prime-time press conference, which was broadcast to millions from the stately East Room of the White House on Monday.
Longtime members of the White House press corps who are accustomed to sitting in the front row of presidential press conferences were surprised to find their prime real estate occupied by the likes of Ed Schulz, a strident liberal who hosts a nationally syndicated radio program based in Fargo, North Dakota.
During last year's presidential campaign, Schultz warmed up the audience for Obama at a Democratic fundraiser in Fargo by denouncing Republican John McCain as a "warmonger." When Obama took the podium, he thanked Schulz and called him "the voice of progressive radio," although the campaign was later pressured into distancing itself from Schultz's inflammatory remarks.
Critics also accused Schultz of carrying water for Obama during the candidate's presidential primary battle against fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton. During one TV appearance, Schultz went after Clinton's husband in order to defend Obama.
"Bill Clinton is lying about Barack Obama's record," Schultz fumed. "He lied 10 years ago about Monica Lewinsky and he's lying about a very viable candidate and somebody who could really bring change to this country."
On Monday, Schultz was seated next to Thomas, who was once the doyenne of the White House press corps.
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Bill Sammon is FOX News Channel's (FNC) vice president of News and Washington managing editor.