Obama spent about 10 minutes winding his way through the cramped press room, wading through a crush of surprised reporters and photographers — many scrambling for Blackberries and lunging to get cameras into place.
“This is worse than the Middle East,” he joked. “Who’s sitting where and all that stuff.”
Obama said he wanted to have a "successful relationship" with the press. But he also made clear he didn’t expect that relationship to start right at that moment, growing mildly annoyed when faced with a question.
Asked by Politico how he could reconcile a strict ban on lobbyists in his administration with a deputy defense secretary nominee who lobbied for Raytheon, Obama interrupted with a knowing smile on his face.
“Ahh, see,” he said, “I came down here to visit. See this is what happens. I can’t end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I’m going to get grilled every time I come down here.”
Pressed further about his Pentagon nominee, William J. Lynn III, Obama turned more serious, putting his hand on the reporter’s shoulder and staring him in the eye.
“Alright, come on” he said, with obvious irritation in his voice. “We will be having a press conference at which time you can feel free to [ask] questions. Right now, I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself to you guys — that’s all I was trying to do.”
The president was quickly saved when a cameraman in the room called out: “I’d like to say it one more time, Mr. President.”
Obama also revealed that he had already gotten in two work outs since being sworn in Tuesday.
“Turns out I have a little gym up there,” he said with a smile.
And with that, it was over. A reporter shouted as Obama left: ”Can we have your e-mail address, Mr. President?"