Fred Barnes: Obama Falsely Claims Banking Committee Membership
It seems Barack Obama had a "senior moment" on Wednesday during his trip to Israel regarding which Senate committees he is a member of. On the same day's Special Report with Brit Hume, during the "Fox All Stars" segment, the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes called out Obama for his claim, which the Illinois Senator made while trying to impress Israeli reporters, that he is a member of the Senate Banking Committee, as he took credit for the passage of legislation regarding Iran. Barnes: "[Obama] was trying to brag about how tough he was on the Iranians, and he said his committee, the Senate Banking Committee, had passed a resolution ... that would have caused American firms to divest of Iranian interests. And the trouble is, he's not on that committee. ... And he didn't vote for it. That would be a senior moment if McCain did it."
Indeed, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs membership roster does not list Obama's name. But during a news conference, which aired live Wednesday morning during CNN Newsroom, Obama seemed to embellish his resume: "Now, in terms of knowing my commitments, you don't have to just look at my words, you can look at my deeds. Just this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which is my committee, a bill to call for divestment from Iran, as a way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon." (Transcripts follow)
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, July 23, Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, followed by the relevant question and answer between Obama and an unidentified reporter, as seen during the July 23 CNN Newsroom:
From the July 23 Special Report:
BARACK OBAMA: I think that what I said in response was that I would, at my time and choosing, be willing to meet with any leader if I thought it would promote the national security interests of the United States of America.
BRIT HUME: This is the question and answer that he was referring to when he spoke of his response. It came in a debate earlier, excuse me, a debate about a year ago exactly today that was aired by CNN and YouTube. And here is the exchange.
STEPHEN SORTA, WHO SUBMITTED A QUESTION TO CNN: Would you be willing to meet separately, without pre-condition, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?
OBAMA: I would. The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them, which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration, is ridiculous.
HUME: Well, that issue came up, as you saw today, on Obama's visit to Israel. And we have some thoughts about it from a couple of very eager guys, as you might have seen, who couldn't wait to get in here. Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of the Weekly Standard, Mort Kondracke, Executive Editor of Roll Call, and the more reticent syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, all are Fox News contributors, and, in their way, all are equally eager. All right. Well, what about this today? It came up again. What about his representation of what he said, and what about how it comports or does not comport with what he actually said? Fred?
FRED BARNES: Well, you know, now he claims to have said in the original answer to the question in that debate, this stuff about I'd only meet Ahmadinejad and the others at his own time of choosing, and only if it were going to promote the national security interests of the United States. Well, those are not things he said originally. And this has been a statement that I think most people recognized at the time was one that might get him in trouble, and it continues to get him in trouble. Look, this isn't the first time he said that, he's made up things and claimed he said them back then when he really didn't. Another thing he said today, which is something that would certainly gotten John McCain in trouble, he said, he was trying to brag about how tough he was on the Iranians, and he said his committee, the Senate Banking Committee, had passed a resolution, or something, that would have caused American firms to divest of Iranian interests. And the trouble is, he's not on that committee.
HUME: Not only is it not his committee, he's not even on it, right?
BARNES: And he didn't vote for it. That would be a senior moment if McCain did it.
From the July 23 Q&A with reporters, which was shown about 10:45 a.m. during CNN Newsroom:
QUESTION: Senator Obama, you said in AIPAC convention that the undivided Jerusalem could continue to be the capital city. Then you changed it and clarified later on. The people in Israel wonder how could you be sure if you are the statesmen, that you are going to be committed to the security and safety of Israel and you're not going to change it even when you're the President of the United States?
OBAMA: First of all, I didn't change my statement. I continued to say that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel. And I have said that before, and I will say it again. And I also have said that it is important that we don't simply slice the city in half. But I've also said that that's a final status issue. That's an issue that has to be dealt with with the parties involved, the Palestinians and the Israelis. And it's not the job of the United States to dictate the form in which that will take, but rather to support the efforts that are being made right now to resolve these very difficult issues that have a long history.
Now, in terms of knowing my commitments, you don't have to just look at my words, you can look at my deeds. Just this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which is my committee, a bill to call for divestment from Iran, as a way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon.