The infamous list of pre-selected reporters made a return on Wednesday at President Biden’s first press conference following the results of the 2022 midterms.
Biden took a bit of a victory lap after Republicans failed to make bigger gains on Election Night. Republicans are now expected to retake the House of Representatives but by a much smaller margin than previous midterm shifts. Control of the Senate is still hanging in the balance as the Georgia Senate race will head to a runoff next month and the two races in Arizona and Nevada have yet to be called.
Following his remarks, the president acknowledged to the press that he would be sticking to his list for questions.
“Now, I’ve been given a list of ten people that I’m supposed to call on and you’re all supposed to ask me one question, but I’m sure you’ll ask me more. So let me start off with the list I’ve been given,” Biden told reporters.
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Among the outlets he called on included The Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Reuters, ABC News, Bloomberg, The Grio, NBC News and The New York Times. However, he ended up calling on just nine reporters.
Several of the questions asked were about how he will work with a GOP-controlled House and his 2024 prospects, among other topics.
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Biden, who has held very few press conferences in comparison to his predecessors, began a practice of relying on a list of reporters selected by his staff early in his tenure instead of calling on them spontaneously.
During first formal press conference, photos showed Biden using “cheat sheets” with policy notes and what appeared to be photos of journalists.
Biden raised eyebrows in August 2021 when he told the press he was “instructed” to call on the pre-selected reporters.
“Ladies and gentlemen, they gave me a list here. The first person I was instructed to call on was Kelly O’Donnell from NBC,” Biden kicked off the press conference.
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The president has done this several times overseas, relying on prepared lists at the 2021 Geneva summit, the 2021 G20 summit in Rome and at a joint news presser in Israel this past July.
In May 2021, then-White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted that staff urge Biden not to take impromptu questions from reporters.
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“That is not something we recommend. In fact, a lot of times we say ‘don’t take questions,'” Psaki said during an interview with David Axelod. “But he’s going to do what he wants to do because he’s the President of the United States.”