Last night's prime-time news conference showed Barack Obama at his most serious; tempering his trademark oratorical skills, he became a "placid and unsmiling professor in chief," write Peter Baker and Adam Nagourney in the New York Times. After the frenzy of the previous week, the president went out of his way to lower the temperature, telling Americans calmly and without emotion that he could end the economic crisis.
On Sunday Obama laughed his way through 60 Minutes, but last night he spoke with little emotion and in long paragraphs; even when chastising AIG executives, he didn't raise his voice. The president can seem detached or overly intellectual at such moments, notes the Times, but his calm served him well during the campaign—not least when Lehman collapsed and markets cratered. "That is one of the things people like about him," said one Democratic consultant.