Reporter's Notebook



 Reporters at the daily White House Briefing tried a variety of ways to get Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to draw conclusions or say something meaningful about the special election for the Massachusetts Senate seat, but the spokesman wasn’t playing.

“You know, we're going to have plenty of time to get into the back-and-forth of all this,” Gibbs told one reporter.  “I'd prefer to do that when we know what the result is.”

Here are some of the attempts by reporters to draw Gibbs out: “So in the event of a Democratic loss in Massachusetts, what kind of contingency planning is the White House doing to prevent -- to keep the health-care bill alive as well as to...”

Another reporter tried: “Whatever the outcome of the election up there in Massachusetts, what's the thinking within the administration that this has exposed public skepticism, perhaps, even backlash against the president's agenda?  And I'm speaking not just health care but financial reform...”

Yet another reporter attempted in this way: “A heavily contested election in Massachusetts.  Does the president think that the fact that it's so close is any reflection at all on him or his agenda or his governing style?”

The Press Secretary’s pretty standard response was something to the effect of we’ll be able to address those questions tomorrow.

“Well, look, again, we'll have a chance to discuss the outcome of the election when we know the outcome of the election when, as many people know, is ongoing,” Gibbs said.

And now, you have a pretty good idea of some of the questions that will be attempted during the January 20, 2010 White House Briefing.