Press Virtually Ignores Cuellar's Hits at Obama's 'Bizarre' Actions, White House Blowback

At the Politico Wednesday afternoon, Jonathan Topaz covered Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar's sharp criticism of President Barack Obama's failure to visit the nation's southern border, or for that matter any of the detention centers set up for "Unaccompanied Alien Children" (the Department of Homeland Security's term).

The Politico is where many stories the rest of the establishment press would rather not cover go to die; they then appear to say, "Well, the Politico covered it, so we don't have to." During the Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 presidencies, the press went with saturation coverage of Republicans who criticized a president from their party. The degree of coverage in Cuellar's situation is quite the opposite, even though, as we shall see, the White House has contacted him in an attempt to convince him to shut up.


When Cuellar spoke, Obama was on track first to visit Colorado to tout the nation's "strong economy" (that's in the Denver Post story's headline), and to stump for Colorado Senator Mark Udall, who "strangely" ended up not attending the event. Then he was to go to Texas for a couple of fundraisers. Cuellar was none too pleased (video found at the Weekly Standard; bolds are mine):

Texas Dem: Obama actions ‘bizarre’

Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar isn’t happy about President Barack Obama’s night out in Colorado.

The Texas congressman, whose district sits along the U.S.-Mexico border, said the president’s decision not to visit the border this week while he still found time to drink beer and play pool in Denver was “bizarre.”

“He’ll be 500 miles from Dallas and, in fact, he’ll be 242 miles from Austin, Texas, at the other fundraising he’ll be having,” Cuellar told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, referring to Obama’s destinations during his two-day trip to Texas beginning Wednesday. “So, he’s so close to the border. And let me say this. When I saw — and I hate to use the word ‘bizarre,’ but under the circumstances — when he is shown playing pool in Colorado, drinking a beer, and he can’t even go 242 miles to the Texas border?”

On Tuesday evening, after an impromptu stroll down Denver’s 15th street to speak with members of a crowd, Obama went to Wynkoop Brewing Company, where he ran into Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. After greeting some of the bar’s patrons, Obama ordered a beer and shot pool with the governor.

Cuellar didn’t back down from his attack on the president in a Wednesday interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN.

“If he had time, with all due respect, to have a beer and play pool like he did in Colorado last night, then I think after the fundraisers he should make time to go down there,” he said.

After an economic speech in Colorado Wednesday, Obama will travel to Texas primarily to attend several Democratic fundraisers. His trip to the Lone Star State has received heavy scrutiny due to his decision not to tour the U.S.-Mexico border, which has experienced a major influx in undocumented children trying to enter the country. While in Texas, the president plans to meet with Republican Gov. Rick Perry and community leaders to discuss the situation.

On Fox & Friends Wednesday morning, as covered at National Review's the Corner, Cuellar revealed that he had received a phone call from the White House:

Representative Henry Cuellar (D., Texas) hasn’t been shy about speaking out against the Obama administration’s handling of the border crisis, and that apparently earned him a phone call from someone at the White House.

... “Who called you?” host Brian Kilmeade asked.

“We’ll just leave it like that,” Cuellar responded.

“Did they tell you to pipe down?” Kilmeade pressed again.

“We’ll just leave it like that,” the congressman repeated. “But notice what I’m doing: I’m still talking about it.”

Naturally, since this story is about a Democrat challenging a Democratic president and getting blowback for doing so, the establishment press, other than the aforementioned dumping ground known as the Poltico, is almost completely uninterested in Cuellar's critique.

A search at the Associated Press's national site on Cuellar's last name has no story later than July 5.

A Wednesday New York Times story appearing in Thursday's print edition by Jackie Calmes and Ashley Parker, incredibly titled "Obama Vows to Secure Border, With Compassion on Surge of Children," only mentions that Cuellar "said he was working with the state’s senior senator, John Cornyn, to introduce legislation on Thursday that would amend ... (a) 2008 law to treat illegal immigrants from such (other Latin American) countries by the same rules that currently apply to Mexico and Canada." The story does not mention Cuellar's criticism.

A Google News search on ["henry cuellar" Obama bizarre] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets, sorted by date) returned only nine results. Only four of the sources are from establishment press outlets: The Politico report excerpted above, USA Today, Roll Call, and The Hill.

If this were a Republican congressman going after a Republican president for "bizarre" behavior," the results returned from establishment press outlets would surely be in triple digits.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

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