On Tuesday's The Lead, liberal historian Doris Kearns Goodwin dismissed the notion that the media is in President Obama's "pocket."
"I don't think the country would feel that his way of dealing with the country has been eased by the press," she lamented of Obama and the media. "I think the press is much more complicated today. I think ever since Watergate there's a more antagonistic view between presidents and press." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Kearns-Goodwin was on CNN to discuss her new book on Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. She explained how both used the "bully pulpit" and "put pressure on Congress" to carry out their "progressive" agenda.
"Does he ever need to put pressure on a Congress," she said, wishing the President would be tougher. And when told by host Jake Tapper that "a lot of conservatives probably think that President Obama has a bunch of reporters in his pocket already," she didn't think so. In fact, she added, the President "needs them as a channel."
"It's good to have the tension, but I think you also need them as a channel," she said. And if you can make your peace with the fact that you're not going to be happy with everything they write, he should have press conferences a couple times a week. That's what FDR did."
Kearns-Goodwin has offered excuses for the shortcomings of various Democratic presidents. This past January, she claimed that Obama dealt with what "may have been the most difficult political culture that any president's had in a long period of time."
Last November, she complained that Clinton could have been more "productive" without the outrage over his affair with Monica Lewinski. "What would we have done if FDR had not been our leader because he had an affair with Lucy Mercer?" she also asked.