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Dana Perino: Reporters are fair and we need more of them!

By Jimmy Orr / January 16, 2009

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Well, that's it for Dana Perino.

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The outgoing White House Press Secretary held her 145th and final briefing this morning in front of a packed press briefing room.

And you may think that on the way out, one who gets continually hammered by the press would exit with a few choice words, a la Rod Blagejovich.

You know, like @**#$#@! Or &*##$@! Or even %@#$#@!!!!!

Nope

None of that. Instead she had fun. It was like the Alfred Smith dinner that Barack Obama and John McCain went to last fall where they roasted each other to tons of laughter (except there was no creepy guy eating behind her while she spoke).

She kicked off the briefing by lampooning her loyal reporters by playing a slideshow - narrated by Perino - taking good-natured shots at them. (Check out the video below).

Reporters are fair?

Not only did she have the reporters laughing but then later in the press conference she said she wanted more of them! This was before she said they were fair!

"I really think that everybody in this room, on a scale of one to ten, I give you a nine in terms of fairness and -- in fairness in working with us and then listening to us," she said.

It's the other guys

But it's those dastardly reporters outside of the White House beat that are more problematic. She didn't rate them. But she did say enough is enough with the commentary built inside articles.

"I just think it's quite remarkable that everyone says they want to add more commentary to their news pages," she said. "In some ways, I think, well, how is that even possible? It seems sometimes that that's all that there is."

At least she didn't take a shot at bloggers like Sarah Palin did the other day. Whew.

We need you

Acknowledging the upheaval and the layoffs that the news industry is currently experiencing, she said there was a joint responsibility to ensure that good journalism survives.

"I really do think for the sake of democracy and the sake of our country we need to have more of you," she said. "And good, tough reporting takes a lot of money and it takes investment, it takes time, and it takes the willingness from your editors to be willing to go off on assignment and to really hold your elected leaders to account."

Bias

What about the liberal bias claim?

Not a claim according to Perino. It's for real.

"I don't think that I would always be asked about my feelings about liberal bias in the media if there wasn't any liberal bias in the media," she said. "If it was a moot question, then we wouldn't always have the discussion."

What's next?

As Washington bureau chief Dave Cook reported this morning, Perino is about to take off on a six-week jaunt.

"Perino and her husband, Peter McMahon, will leave on a six-week trip to Scotland, Abu Dhabi, and South Africa. Their stay in Africa will include two weeks volunteering at an HIV-AIDS clinic funded by PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief)."

Book plans

Any plans for a book?

She sounded a bit like Caroline Kennedy when first answering the question.

"I don't -- you know, I don't know. No. Well, I don't know," she said not knowing.

But at the Monitor-sponsored breakfast she opened up a bit more saying that perhaps she would write a book about Republican women.

Ann Coulter is very popular. She has got a niche. She is a best selling author, but she does not represent Republican women,” Perino said. “ I think there is room out there to show the grace and dignity of women like Laura Bush.”

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