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Bloggers report on their meeting with president


In addition to his highly anticipated interview with Jon Stewart, President Obama yesterday held another interview that went practically unnoticed: his first-ever sit-down with progressive bloggers.

The bloggers who met with the president at the White House included AMERICAblog’s Joe Sudbay; Eschaton’s Duncan Black ("Atrios"); Barbara Morrill of DailyKos; Crooks and Liars editor Jon Amato; and Oliver Willis, who runs his eponymous site.

Sudbay focused his question on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and gay marriage. “As you say, I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage,” President Obama said when asked about his stance on same-sex marriage by Sudbay. “But,” Obama continued, “I also think you’re right that attitudes evolve, including mine. And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships.”

Atrios is still processing what took place during the almost hour-long interview, he wrote for Eschaton. But he did offer a short impression on one of the president’s answers regarding spending. “This is a nice fantasy of a world of responsible politicians where the priorities of today remain the priorities of tomorrow,” Atrios said in response to Obama’s desire to boost spending in the short term but cut it down medium and long term.

Oliver Willis asked questions on crossing the aisle to work with Republicans and Obama’s status as a progressive. While Obama called himself “stubborn,” he said he would work to find any sort of common ground on an “issue by issue basis.” “I don’t give up just because I didn’t get cooperation on this issue; I’ll try the next issue,” Obama said.

As for being called “progressive," Obama quickly dismissed being labeled, but said that he did see himself as progressive, in that he believes in “that essential American Dream that everybody gets a chance to make it if they’re willing to work hard.”

Willis wrote on his blog that he was impressed by Obama’s ability to “give complex answers off the top of his head, working through his thinking in a clear and cogent manner.” He said Obama balanced being serious and being relaxed, “treating important questions with the gravity required but not afraid to crack a joke or two.”