Some followup thoughts, based on your comments: most of you apparently didn't listen to the link, which would have shown that two co-analysts, who presumably also listened to the whole press conference, failed to correct Elving's error. Is it a trivial factual error for one of NPR's senior Washington editors to mis-state the nature of the questioning at a Presidential news conference that we all may have just heard?
Re: the question in question: my take is that a straight-on question using DeLay's name would have resulted only in the boilerplate "we're letting the investigation take its course". The less specific phrasing may have been designed to get the President to, like Elving, think he wasn't being asked about DeLay and thus say something more newsworthy.
And, my final thought, about the liberal trope of the press being supine now having been rendered obsolete, should not be mistaken for a belief that the American media finally has grown serious balls. It's more simple than that. The media reads the polls, and it's a lot easier to throw challenging questions at a 38% President than at a 65% one.