THE PRESIDENT: [...] Stretch. You mind if I call you Stretch in front of --I don't know who that reporter was, but the transcript really does not do justice to his reaction. I took a bad picture of my TV screen, let the dog chew on it for a few minutes, and then scaled it down. Here it is:
Q I've been called worse.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay.
This reminds me of something else from the press conference. Before the thing started, the folks on NBC made sure to mention that it was the first conference in a year. I've heard that the Bush administration keeps the press at a distance more than administrations in the past, and the press are (understandably) grumpy about that. I view the "stretch" exchange as symbolic of all that. Calling a reporter by a name you've made up communicates that the reporter isn't important enough to bother remembering. All the press can seem to do about it is glare.