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Obama gives a preview of his stump speech -- but with not much chance for questions

Sunday, in this blog, I asked readers to suggest questions I might ask President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney when they spoke to the American Society of News Editors convention in Washington.  The first of those speeches took place today, at the lunch hour, in front of some 1,400 news industry people.

Here's a good summary by the AP's Ben Feller of what the president said -- largely, all agreed, a preview of what he's likely to be repeating on the campaign trail in the next months.  His theme was economic inequality, which he called "the defining issue of our time."  And here's a report from the New York Times on how it played on the campaign trail.

"This is a make or break moment for the middle class," Obama said, in a speech that a New York Times editorial called "blistering" -- in a good way.

More lightly, he also predicted that the months ahead would include more "hot mics and Etch-a-Sketch moments," alluding to two recent goofs, one his own and one by the Romney camp.

 Although I had lots of terrific suggestions for questions, and was ready to fire away, that opportunity never arose.  The president took a few questions from Dean Singleton, the chairman of the Associated Press board, which were said to be "submitted by the audience."  But he took no questions from the floor, a change from previous years when presidents have spoken to ASNE gatherings.

I suspect the same will be true in former governor Romney's talk tomorrow.  Nevertheless, many thanks to readers for their suggestions.