Following President Barack Obama's speech today at West Point, the UK Daily Mail reported "tepid applause and a short standing ovation from less than one-quarter of the audience upon his introduction." In a CNN video clip found at Mediaite, Jim Clancy noted that Obama did not sound like a “commander-in-chief speaking to his troops.” He further observed: “You heard the reception; it was icy."
The video posted at the White House's web site doesn't include the reception Obama received when he was introduced. There's a reason for that. The first 14 seconds of a Reuters video clip (HT Nice Deb) shows, especially for those of us who recall the enthusiastic receptions George W. Bush routinely received, that describing it as "tepid" may be an overstatement:
Naturally, Michael Hill's report at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, ignored the decided lack of enthusiasm, and of course highlighted one of the minority in the crowd who was openly enthusiastic:
WEST POINT GRADS READY FOR POST-AFGHANISTAN FUTURE
With combat in Afghanistan winding down, members of the U.S. Military Academy's Class of 2014 insist they're equally prepared for the alliance-building future outlined by President Barack Obama at their graduation ceremony Wednesday.
But some of their mothers are breathing easier.
"We are relieved, but because they serve in the military I think there's always a cloud of 'What if?' and 'What's next?'" said Lynn Sheree Lesmeister of Anoka, Minnesota, flanked by two of her sons, Michael and Jeffrey, minutes after they graduated from West Point. "But at this point it's nice to think that some things are not an option."
Obama told the 1,064 graduating cadets that they were the first West Point class since the 9/11 attacks that might not be sent into combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. While stressing that the world was still a dangerous place, the president used the speech at the storied Hudson River academy to call for a higher "threshold for military action." He called for partnering with countries where terrorist networks seek a foothold.
... The new officers have graduated at a time the Army is downsizing from 570,000 during the peak war years to 450,000 by 2017, and possibly fewer if automatic budget cuts resume. The reduction to 490,000 by October 2015 will include forcing out about 3,000 officers, cutting careers short well before they would become eligible for retirement benefits.
Graduate Jessica Wagner of Plymouth, Massachusetts, said she believes her class could go to the Pacific or Africa on more humanitarian-oriented missions. She added some of the points in Obama's speech about the military's evolving mission have been known here.
"When we all came here," she said, "we all assumed we were either going to Iraq or Afghanistan, then I think it was my freshman year they announced we weren't going to Iraq and more recently they said Afghanistan."
She said she had been preparing whether or not war was looming.
But her mother, in the stands during Obama's speech, called out "woo hoo!" when the president mentioned Afghanistan being a less likely place for the graduates to end up. Laureen Wagner said it relieved some stress.
You are the first class to graduate since 9/11 who may not be sent into combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. (Applause.)
Even granting that the cheers heard were from a distance, likely the parents' seating area (which also means that there was virtually no cheering on this point from the cadets), their volume was in no way impressive.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.