When Gotcha Goes Horribly Wrong: Pataki Swats Back at MSNBC's O'Donnell

How about that, it was actually mentioned on MSNBC last night that President Obama responded to the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi ... by winging to a fundraising "jaunt" in Vegas the following day.

Of course, the awkward fact that Obama did this wasn't cited by one of his innumerable apologists at America's cable version of Pravda. Instead, it came from a Republican acting as surrogate for Mitt Romney after the third and final presidential debate. (video after page break)

Listen to how MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell trots out the lame criticism of Romney visiting Israel in July accompanied by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and other major donors, and Pataki pouncing in response --

O'DONNELL: On Mitt Romney's trip to Israel he did bring campaign contributors with him, chief among them Sheldon Adelson who's given more than $30 million, the biggest contributor in this campaign. Was that appropriate to make it a campaign fundraising jaunt?

PATAKI: Lawrence, on the day after our ambassador was killed in Benghazi, a fundraising jaunt to Las Vegas by President Obama when he should have been sitting in the White House trying to straighten out whether it was a YouTube video or an al Qaeda attack and instead he was out raising funds. So, so, I think there's a lot of opportunity to criticize everyone, but when you look at it on balance, I was very pleased that Gov. Romney looked presidential. It was President Obama who was on the attack and Gov. Romney very effectively saying,  you know, attacking me doesn't constitute good policy for the future of America.

No followup from O'Donnell, who instead switched over to Rachel Maddow, the network's anchor for coverage of the third debate. Maddow mentioned that Sen. John Kerry could be seen listening in during O'Donnell's interview with Pataki, and she described it this way --

Watching John Kerry watching that interview was actually the best candid moment of the night! (or a distant second, depending on your perspective). He was looking at George Pataki like a hawk looks at a mouse.

A mouse that inexplicably devoured O'Donnell.

Maddow's intrepid attempt at misdirection reminded me of one of my favorite anecdotes about Kerry (there aren't many), which came at the end of a February 2006 profile in GQ magazine titled "John Kerry Has Fallen ... And Keeps Getting Up." New Republic senior editor Michael Crowley wrote --

I vividly recall a moment on the Senate floor one afternoon in the spring of 2005. A dramatic showdown was under way over judicial nominations, with Republicans threatening to invoke their dreaded "nuclear option" and change the Senate's rules so Democrats couldn't filibuster judges. A large circle of Democrats had formed on the Senate floor, including key party leaders like Harry Reid, Richard Durbin, and Hillary Clinton, and there they held an animated conversation. Kerry ambled up and stood just outside the circle a couple of feet behind Reid, clearly wanting to join in. But like a cocktail-party clique that rejects a dullard, the group didn't part to welcome him. In fact, no one paid him any attention at all.

Perhaps it was an insignificant moment. Or maybe it symbolized something more important: a general sense among Democrats that no one is particularly interested in hearing from John Kerry anymore.

Either way, the circle of senators remained closed, and after a few more moments, John Kerry, a man who for a few hours on November 2, 2004, believed he was president of the United States, looked around awkwardly and tugged at his shirtsleeve. Then, finally, he did the thing that he hasn't been able to bring himself to do on the larger stage. He put his head down and walked away.

A silver lining for Massachusetts Republicans if Obama is re-elected: Kerry possibly succeeding Clinton as secretary of state, leading to a special election in Massachusetts to fill the vacancy from Kerry's departure.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts