You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Gates Question

Updated

Lynn Sweet, the Chicago Sun-Times White House correspondent and columnist who asked President Obama about Henry Louis Gates last night, said that she is sure that other reporters in the room had it on their list of questions.

“I figured that no matter what he would say, it would be a story,” Sweet said this afternoon. “I had no idea he would be so engaged in the question and give an animated defense of Gates.”

No, Obama did not know what she would ask. Sweet said. There seems to be a notion swirling out there after the flap when the president called on Huffington Post’s Nico Pitney at a press conference last month with the knowledge that Pitney had a question about Iran, generated by a request for queries that he sent out to Iranians via Twitter.

Sweet’s question was: “Thank you, Mr. President.  Recently Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested at his home in Cambridge.  What does that incident say to you and what does it say about race relations in America?”

Update: Sweet just posted a blog item on the question and whether there was any warning:

“No conspiracy, folks.

“When President Obama called on me, he had no idea what I would be asking. I had not written or blogged about the Gates incident, so no one in the White House had any clue that I was particularly interested in Obama’s reaction.

“I got a call from the White House press office about 6:30 p.m. confirming I was indeed going to show up at the 8 p.m. press conference. I was told I “may” get a question from the president. No one asked me — directly or indirectly — about what I may be asking. No one from the White House tried to plant any question.”

The White House plans in advance who the president will call upon — a far cry from the less orchestrated days when reporters anxiously raised their hands to try to get his attention.

 

More Voices

  • Janet Mock Pose

    'Pose' Writer Janet Mock on Making History With Trans Storytelling (Guest Column)

    Updated Lynn Sweet, the Chicago Sun-Times White House correspondent and columnist who asked President Obama about Henry Louis Gates last night, said that she is sure that other reporters in the room had it on their list of questions. “I figured that no matter what he would say, it would be a story,” Sweet said […]

  • Tony Awards Sightlines Column

    How to Produce the Tony Awards: 5 Unsolicited Tips

    Updated Lynn Sweet, the Chicago Sun-Times White House correspondent and columnist who asked President Obama about Henry Louis Gates last night, said that she is sure that other reporters in the room had it on their list of questions. “I figured that no matter what he would say, it would be a story,” Sweet said […]

  • Under the Silver Lake

    Cannes 2018's Hidden Thrill: The Opportunity to Find New Voices

    Updated Lynn Sweet, the Chicago Sun-Times White House correspondent and columnist who asked President Obama about Henry Louis Gates last night, said that she is sure that other reporters in the room had it on their list of questions. “I figured that no matter what he would say, it would be a story,” Sweet said […]

  • Kathryn Bigelow Kathryn Bigelow poses backstage

    It's Time for Action, Not Promises, to Get More Women in Filmmaking (Guest Column)

    Updated Lynn Sweet, the Chicago Sun-Times White House correspondent and columnist who asked President Obama about Henry Louis Gates last night, said that she is sure that other reporters in the room had it on their list of questions. “I figured that no matter what he would say, it would be a story,” Sweet said […]

  • Netflix Cannes

    Cannes vs. Netflix Defines Fight for Cinema’s Future

    Updated Lynn Sweet, the Chicago Sun-Times White House correspondent and columnist who asked President Obama about Henry Louis Gates last night, said that she is sure that other reporters in the room had it on their list of questions. “I figured that no matter what he would say, it would be a story,” Sweet said […]

  • Love Never Dies - Utica, NY

    Could 'Love Never Dies' Live Again on Broadway?

    Updated Lynn Sweet, the Chicago Sun-Times White House correspondent and columnist who asked President Obama about Henry Louis Gates last night, said that she is sure that other reporters in the room had it on their list of questions. “I figured that no matter what he would say, it would be a story,” Sweet said […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content