Alabama graduate asks Obama final question at last press conference as POTUSBy Rebecca Rakowitz | 01/20/2017 8:09am
University of Alabama alumna and former Crimson White editor Christi Parsons was specifically chosen as the reporter to ask President Barack Obama the final question at his last presidential press conference on Wednesday.
Parsons, an Alabama native and current White House correspondent for the Los Angeles Tribune, is a graduate of both UA’s College of Communication and Information Sciences and Yale Law School. Before working for the Los Angeles Times, Parsons worked as a political reporter at the Chicago Tribune and is a former president of the White House Correspondents’ Association.
Obama was deliberate in choosing who would ask him his final questions, and after close to an hour made his way to Parsons.
“Christi Parsons! Christi, you are going to get the last question,” Obama said with a smile. “I've been knowing her since Springfield, Ill. When I was a state senator, she listened to what I had to say. So the least I can do is give her the last question as president of the United States. Go ahead.”
Parsons thanked the president, said it has been an honor, and proceeded with her question.
"I have a personal question for you, because I know how much you like those," she said. "The First Lady put the stakes of the 2016 election in very personal terms in a speech that resonated across the country. And she really spoke to the concerns of a lot of women, LGBT folks, people of color, many others. So I wonder now how you and the First Lady are talking to your daughters about the meaning of this election and how you interpret it for yourself and for them."
The president gave a substantial answer, about six minutes in length, in which he spoke about the strength of his daughters, how he and the first lady try to instill values of resilience and hope to them, how they are patriotic citizens ready to work to fix the country, and how he really does think the country will be ok.
While some members of the press were upset they weren’t given the last question, many people were happy for Parson and said she was deserving of the honor.
“I think it's terrific," Chris Roberts, UA journalism professor and peer of Parsons told AL.com "She has known the Obamas long before he ascended to the presidency, thanks to her affiliation with Chicago newspapers. She was not always easy on the presidency, but she did it with respect and clearly that respect was mutual."