Can We Discuss This?
For example, on the morning of January13th, website headlines included "President Visits Mississippi, Discusses Gulf Coast Reconstruction," "President Participates in Discussion on the Global War on Terror," and "Iraqi Police Force Discussed." By afternoon the headlines included "President Discusses Central American Relief and Reconstruction Efforts." In "Ask the White House," the text was topped with "Discuss the National Archives." (Of course, I felt compelled to submit a question.)
Compared to the words that newspapers use to describe the rhetorical work of policy makers -- "defends," "contradicts," "debates," "declares," etc. -- "discusses" is a milksop word. It's about the appearance of rhetorical exchange rather than the actual activity of it.
Perhaps it is analogous to bringing in all the living past and present Secretaries of State and Defense into the White House on January 5th to pose listening to their "concerns" before the real work of the actual photo opportunity could start.