From the “Even a Blind Squirrel” department:
“This president was interested in diminishing the role of the press secretary,” said David Gregory, NBC’s chief White House correspondent. “Our collective frustration with him and Ari was with the fact that you just couldn’t get answers out of this group. . . . Scott had the advantage of being well regarded and trusted by the inner circle. But he was just as cautious as anybody else about going further than the president wanted him to go from the podium, and that limited the White House’s ability to drive a story.”
It’s not everyday I find myself agreeing with David Gregory, but those three words — drive the story — describe pretty accurately what the White House has been unable to do since Bush’s re-election. The next press secretary needs to create a more dynamic relationship with the press — stonewalling only works when you’re more popular than they are. Once your public approval ratings get down into the 30s, you’re about neck-and-neck.