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Obama's 2d news conference audience large and smaller

March 25, 2009 |  3:18 pm

Democratic President Barack Obama during his second nationally-televised news conference 3-24-09 from the White House

The new White House TV drama series "East Room" depicting the triumphs and travails of a Democratic president through his unfolding series of national news conferences, lost a little more than 8% of its primetime audience in its second outing last night.

According to Nielsen, the rating service, President Obama's news conference last night attracted a total of 40,354,000 viewers for a combined household rating of 25.9 on 11 networks. Obama's initial primetime news conference back on Feb. 9 attracted nearly 50 million on fewer networks (8). Last night's viewers were also down from the 52.37 million who watched his address to Congress Feb. 24.

Regular network show producers would waterboard their grandmothers for such an audience these days.

In the last week, Nielsen reports, Obama has taken his message on the road, meaning on TV, drawing nearly 9 million households on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and another nearly 12 million households for his interview on Sunday's "60 Minutes."

Tomorrow, as The Ticket reported here earlier, he plans an unusual online opportunity for citizens to ask e-mailed questions and vote on the ones submitted.

None of this, of course, counts his video views on YouTube, and through his e-mail network of supporters.

The overarching message: He needs your support to convince Congress to pass his immense budget and ambitious spending plans.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images