AP's Kuhnhenn: Obama Only Promised to Make Signing Statements 'More Transparent'

At the Associated Press on Friday, reporter Jim Kuhnhenn provided yet another reason why characterizing the wire service as The Administration's Press is perfectly appropriate.

In wake of President Obama's use of a "signing statement" objecting on constitutional grounds to congressionally-imposed "restrictions on his ability to transfer detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States," Kuhnhenn wrote that presidential candidate Obama "promised to make his application (of) the (signing statement) tool more transparent." No he didn't, Jim; as will be shown, he promised not to use them. Kuhnhenn's first three paragraphs, plus two later ones describing another signing statement matter, ran thusly (also note how the term "signing statement" was kept out of the story's headline):


Obama opposes spending bill's detainee restriction

President Barack Obama told Congress restrictions on his ability to transfer detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States might violate the constitutional separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches.

The provision is contained in a massive spending bill that Obama signed Friday. The president, in a statement accompanying his signature, said he will interpret the provisions in a way that "avoids constitutional conflicts."

"Signing statements" allow presidents to raise constitutional objections to circumvent Congress' intent. During his campaign for the White House, Obama criticized President George W. Bush's use of signing statements and promised to make his application (of) the tool more transparent.

... Obama also took issue with the spending bill's ban on funding United Nations peacekeeping missions if they place U.S. military forces under the command of a "foreign national" - unless the president notifies Congress that such a deployment is in the national interest.

Obama said those provisions also could interfere with his constitutional authorities.

This would appear to mean that if the President wants to transfer Gitmo detainees to the U.S., he and good buddy at the Department of Justice, Attorney General Eric Holder, will do it anyway, despite the law's restrictions.

In a video currently up at Hot Air, Obama said that "We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end run around Congress."

At the beginning of that video statement, Obama's opening answer to the audience member's question as to whether he will use "presidential signage" (the person meant "signing statements") to "get your way" was one word: "Yes."

In April, as covered by Jake Tapper at ABC News, Obama also issued a signing statement in connection with funding of some of his czars:

In a statement issued Friday night, President Obama took issue with some provisions in the budget bill – and in one case simply says he will not abide by it.

Last week the White House and congressional Democrats and Republicans were involved in intense negotiations over not only the size of the budget for the remainder of the FY2011 budget, and spending cuts within that budget, but also several GOP “riders,” or policy provisions attached to the bill.

One rider – Section 2262 — de-funds certain White House adviser positions – or “czars.” The president in his signing statement declares that he will not abide by it.

If that's not "an end run around Congress" (which continues another end run around Congress, namely the original appointments of the czars), I don't know what is.

Back to Kuhnhenn's AP report -- How in the world does any of this relate to being more, or less, "transparent," Jim? What seems quite transparent is Kuhnhenn's need to come up with something -- anything -- to avoid having to say that Dear Leader again broke a core campaign promise not to use a tool the eeeeevil George W. Bush employed. How pathetic.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.