The major left-right disagreement regarding President Obama as a speechmaker hasn’t been over whether he’s talented (most conservatives concede he’s got a flair) but over whether he’s effective. Now, however, Ezra Klein thinks that a certain key group of liberals has lost confidence that Obama speeches in general, and specifically one about the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, would bring about the desired results. This group is known as...the Obama administration.
“If Obama's speeches aren't as dramatic as they used to be,” wrote Klein in a Monday post on Vox, “this is why: the White House believes a presidential speech on a politically charged topic is as likely to make things worse as to make things better. It is as likely to infuriate conservatives as it is to inspire liberals. And in a country riven by political polarization, widening that divide can take hard problems and make them impossible problems.”
Like what? Seriously, Mika Brzezinski, when you claim as you did on today's Morning Joe that Barack Obama has done "great things" on race, precisely what do you have in mind? H/t NB reader Ray R.
Was it choosing to make the racist Reverend Wright his personal pastor? Appointing Eric Holder as Attorney General? Accusing the Cambridge police of acting "stupidly" in the arrest of a black man? Complaining about Americans who dislike him because they don't like the idea of a black president? Inviting Al Sharpton to the White House? Really, Mika, we want to know. View the video after the jump.
Move over, War on Women, there's a new war in town. On the August 18 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, contributor Michelle Bernard warned there is a "war on black men" in the United States, as evidence both by the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and persistent criticism of President Barack Obama from Republicans.
What's more, Bernard insisted, there would be a "genocide" of young black men unless the problem were seriously addressed to her satisfaction. Suffice it to say, Hardball host Chris Matthews at no point called out Ms. Bernard for her heated rhetoric. [see relevant transcript below the page break; MP3 audio here; video update forthcoming]
Recent news about Obamacare hasn't exactly been good, but the press has been pretty effective in keeping it quiet. To name just a few items, Enrollment is shrinking, because perhaps as many as 20 percent of enrollees aren't keeping up with their premiums. Rising costs have moved insurers to beg for bailouts, which appear to be forthcoming.
Then there's this: Just last week in Massachusetts, where the state-run health insurance got its start under Republican Governor Mitt Romney eight years ago, the state's exchange announced that everyone currently enrolled in 2014 or who should have enrolled and didn't is going to have to apply for 2015 coverage this fall. Oh, and the system it plans to employ may not even be working by mid-November.
It’s widely known that when Hillary Clinton was in high school, she was a big fan of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. But would Hillary, if elected POTUS, take after the 20th century’s uber-conservative, Ronald Reagan, at least in terms of a hawkish foreign policy? Elias Isquith made that case in a Saturday article in Salon.
Isquith scrutinized the ideas Hillary expressed in her foreign-policy-themed interview with the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg and found them wanting next to the modesty of the current president: “Obama, unlike Clinton, doesn’t talk about the world as if it were the stage for a great struggle between slavery and freedom. He knows that kind of talk was discredited by the results of our foreign policy from 2002 to 2008.”
Not every reporter in Obama's Washington likes to be seen as a soft touch. Take James Risen of The New York Times, the subject of a leak probe over his CIA reporting in a 2006 book. In a positive column by his Times colleague Maureen Dowd, she touted how at a pickup basketball game, "Risen got in a fight with a lobbyist about the rules for being out of bounds."
Carl Hulse, The Times’s chief Washington correspondent, added to the aura: “Whether it’s editors or government officials, Jim definitely won’t take no for an answer, but he will certainly give it.” So naturally he’s going to talk tough about Obama, now trying to intimidate him into revealing his sources.
Craig McDonald, the director of Texans for Public Justice, was on CNN today. He tried to "respond" to something Lone Star State Governor Rick Perry's didn't say yesterday in his reaction to his indictment, and followed that up with a comical gaffe.
McDonald opened as follows: "The Governor again in his defense yesterday said this is merely a partisan political witch hunt." The trouble is that, as seen at the Texas Tribune, Perry didn't use the term "witch hunt" in his official statement or during the brief follow-up question and answer period (the Q&A is in the video, but not the text of the paper's coverage). So McDonald, who was clearly claiming to quote a term Perry used, was already misleading CNN viewers. He followed that dishonesty with a comical gaffe, as seen in the video clip after the jump (HT Twitchy):
The federal government reported a $94.6 blllion deficit in July, only marginally better than the $97.6 figure posted in July 2013.
As has become its habit, the Associated Press's coverage of that result contained omissions, spin and half-truths about government tax collections, spending and the origins of the Obama administration's first four years of consecutive trillion-dollar deficits. Particularly annoying is the wire service's insistence on ignoring the large tax increase in two decades as a factor — in the interest, of course, of supporting the Obama administration's call for more of the same. Veteran Martin Crutsinger was responsible for this month's rendition. Excerpts follow the jump:
Obama declared on Wednesday, “Here in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs.”
The Columbia Journalism Review website was among the many – including Rush Limbaugh on the radio – who saw the hypocrisy, since President Obama is our nation’s most prosecutorial president toward journalists:
Does anyone remember a media report expressing sympathy for former President George W. Bush when adverse events happened during his Crawford, Texas "vacations"? (Given that he and Laura lived there, calling a visit to your place back home hardly seems to qualify as some kind of "vacation")
Well, Thursday evening, Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown took pity on President Obama for his "vacation from hell." Excerpts follow the jump.
Bloomberg News is reporting that President Obama will not return campaign contributions from those who have profited or benefited from so-called "corporate inversion" deals that he has called "unpatriotic." Bloomberg uncovered more than 20 individuals who are advisors, executives or directors from corporations that reduced their tax burden with offshore mergers and have made large political contributions to Obama and raised additional money from others.
Obama deputy press secretary Eric Schultz confirmed the money would not be returned at a press conference on Martha's Vineyard where the president is vacationing, and defended the decision as not a double standard since the president was "attacking" the problem while keeping the money garnered by what he deems "unpatriotic" means. President Obama has called them "corporate deserters" while accepting campaign contributions from them.
Inevitability, my eye. If Republicans can't defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016 [assuming she gets there], they should be brought up on charges of political malfeasance.
So lacking is Hillary in the most basic of personal political prerequisites that even Morning Joe called her "canned" and cringeworthy. The panel was commenting on an excruciating clip of Clinton prior to her hug-it-out dinner with President Obama last night. Watch it if you dare, but the panel's point was a larger one--that there is something about Clinton's public persona as to be seriously off-putting. View the video after the jump.
The Big Three networks' evening newscasts on Wednesday failed to notice the Obama administration's latest revelation about ObamaCare: that more than 300,000 people who signed up for health plans under the controversial law could lose them because they failed to prove they were legal residents of the U.S. Instead, ABC's World News aired a full report on a "beauty queen's" insurance scam, while CBS Evening News gave 19-second news brief on the Perseid meteor shower.
Elizabeth Hartfield detailed the federal government's admission in an online report for CNN.com's Political Ticker blog on Wednesday. CNN anchor Michaela Pereira summarized this reporting during a 18-second news brief on Wednesday's New Day: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Liberals are shifting their focus from the unpopular Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton's potential 2016 bid and even MSNBC anchors are getting into the act. Hardball guest host Steve Kornacki on Tuesday played up Clinton's criticism of the President as a possible overture to the Republican Party. According to The Atlantic, Clinton dismissed the Obama motto of "don't do stupid stuff" as "not an organizing principle" for governing.
Talking to former GOP Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, Kornacki wondered, "Is there a message here you see Hillary Clinton sending to those Republicans, saying, 'yes, there is room on my bandwagon for you'?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday, August 13, all three network morning shows did their best to minimize the conflict between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama following Clinton’s criticism of the White House’s handling of the militant group ISIS.
The “big three” (ABC, CBS and NBC) networks all played up how Clinton plans to “hug it out” with President Obama when they meet at a party on Martha’s Vineyard. Speaking to “The Atlantic” magazine, Clinton criticized Obama’s foreign policy by insisting that “great nations need organizing principles. Don’t do stupid stuff is not an organizing principle.” [See video below.]
President Obama is more "forceful" and "stubborn" about playing golf than he is about pushing through his policy agenda. That was Dana Milbank's take on today's Morning Joe.
As Joe Scarborough described it, earlier this week the normally left-leaning Milbank enjoyed a "12-minute honeymoon" with conservatives after his Washington Postcolumn called Obama's decision to go golfing while the world burned an example of "tone deafness" if not outright "stupid stuff." Milbank doubled down on the notion today with his suggestion that the president cares more about making it to the first tee than enacting his policy positions. Milbank seemed frustrated with Obama's fecklessness. But if the president's love of the links keeps him from pushing his policies, conservatives should be saying "play on, Mr. President!" View the video after the jump.
On Tuesday, August 12, Politico’s Byron Tau reported how the Obama White House is planning to “reverse a key part of its ban on registered lobbyists serving in government.”
Despite yet another major flip-flop from the Obama Administration regarding its relationship with lobbyists, none of the “big three” networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) covered the story on their Tuesday evening newscasts.
"Apparently there's a DOJ employee whose entire job is to reject FOIA requests pic.twitter.com/zWEi1CyLd7 via @MorganSmith," Markay tweeted at 6:11 p.m. Eastern, later retweeting a clarification by Smith, "@lachlan that response came from Dept of Ed, not DoJ (I realize now the cropped pic is confusing)." You can see the embedded tweets from Smith below the page break. Consider this your evening open thread:
Appearing on CNBC's Squawk Box Tuesday morning, the business network's chief Washington correspondent John Harwood acknowledged that President Obama's failed foreign policy would be an obstacle to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential ambitions: "...her independent credential running for president is that she was President Obama's secretary of state. The world is now blowing up. So that is a big problem for her. And so she's going to be looking for ways to separate herself from the current foreign policy mess." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Harwood's comments were prompted by host Joe Kernen asking about a quote in The Daily Beast in which Obama reportedly dismissed Clinton's recent criticism of his handling of the Middle East as "horsesh**t." In response, Harwood observed: "It wouldn't surprised me if he said that....I'm sure that that's how he feels about the criticism, he's made that pretty clear."
In 2008, Americans appointed a president they expected to unify the country, lift the oppressed and restore America's economy and relations in the world. But almost halfway through his second term in office, Americans are more polarized, and the oppressed are more hamstrung. And our country is more unstable than ever among the global community; Iraq is only symptomatic of the greater problem.
But a single professional review of Obama's personality profile could have shown us exactly what was in store for us with his leadership style.
In the wake of the recent surge of violence in northern Iraq as well as the potential coup within the government, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams did his best to push the White House line that President Obama’s summer vacation was full of work.
On Monday, August 11, Williams introduced a segment with Chris Jansing, NBC’s Senior White House Correspondent, by promoting how “the White House is taking pains to stress that even though President Obama is on vacation, it’s a working vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.” [See video below.]
On the August 11 edition of Morning Joe, the MSNBC morning show aired a clip from Obama’s interview with Thomas Friedman that was transcribed in print in the August 9 edition of The New York Times. In the video, Friedman asked the president to comment on “the biggest difference between Democrats and Republicans.” According to Obama, the Democratic “consensus” is “a pretty common sense mainstream consensus” while the Republican consensus is based in “wacky ideological nonsense.”
That’s a heck of a way to reach across the aisle and work for bipartisan agreement on the nation’s pressing issues. Of course, the president’s partisan rhetoric has not been picked up by the Big Three broadcast networks. For its part, MSNBC only devoted 2 minutes and 18 seconds to the clip, 38 seconds of which was just a tease before a commercial break. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Any intraparty criticism of President Obama’s recent foreign policy moves regarding Iraq was nowhere to be found on NBC’s morning or evening news programs as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leveled some criticism at Obama on the subject in an interview with The Atlantic that was published over the weekend.
Both Sunday and Monday mornings’ installments of Today and Sunday night’s NBC Nightly News ignored this angle of disagreement among arguably the two most well-known and influential figures in Democratic politics as Obama authorized U.S. air strikes against ISIS militants in northern Iraq late last Thursday and throughout over the weekend. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Give American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman credit for recognizing that not every congressional Republican has the same chief reason to obstruct President Obama’s agenda. Some of the GOPers, Waldman noted in a Wednesday post, are politically motivated, while others “genuinely believe that Obama is an evil Kenyan Marxist tyrant trying to destroy America.”
Nonetheless, Waldman stated, both groups “arrive at the same place, whether through clear-eyed political calculation or wild-eyed hatred. And nothing—nothing—President Obama does or doesn't do makes a bit of difference,” given that “opposition is a Republican action, not a Republican reaction.” From Waldman’s post (emphasis added):
Eager to defend President Obama from criticism of his vacation in Martha's Vineyard amid multiple international crises, both Sunday's ABC Good Morning America and Monday's NBC Today used false spin to downplay the bad optics. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On GMA, co-host Dan Harris tried to deflect from Obama's time on the golf course by claiming that "George W. Bush played his fair share of golf during the Iraq war as well," an assertion that NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein promptly disproved.
Are the folks at CNN abandoning President Obama’s foreign policy? Well, yes, but only to throw praise upon former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of a likely 2016 presidential run. On the August 11 edition of New Day, a panel discussed President Obama’s airstrikes in northern Iraq and Mrs. Clinton’s comments about his often disjointed foreign policy.
Reacting to Hillary telling The Atlantic that “don’t do stupid stuff” does not represent coherent foreign policy, host Kate Bolduan seemed to support Clinton, doubting it was enough. CNN contributor and Daily Beast editor John Avlon agreed with the New Day host, saying it was “not an organizing principle,” and praised Clinton for differentiating herself from the President on issues of foreign policy. He argued, in fact, that Hillary was the kind of Democrat neo-conservatives could support: [MP3 audio here; video below]
Yesterday, Roll Call and The Hill both relayed Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein's call, in Roll Call's words, "for a broader military campaign against ISIL, not just the targeted missions authorized by the president." She believes it is needed because "It has become clear that ISIL is recruiting fighters in Western countries ... and possibly returning them to European and American cities to attack us in our backyard."
Searches at their web sites indicate that the Associated Press and New York Times have not reported Feinstein's stark warning, which directly contradicts the President's January ridicule of ISIL/ISIS as the equivalent of junior varsity basketball players. At the Politico, in a worry-wart piece on "Obama's liberal problem," Seung Min Kim and Jeremy Herb shamefully omitted Feinstein's "in our backyard" warning — while covering the rest of what she said.
Today's New York Times op-ed page includes a wide-ranging interview on foreign policy that Thomas Friedman conducted with President Obama. Let's break down some of the low-lights. Excerpts from interview in italics, with my comments following. And sure, when President Obama said "I don't worry about Israel's survival," he explained his insouciance in terms of Israel's military might. But was he telling a deeper truth?
Obama made clear that he is only going to involve America more deeply in places like the Middle East to the extent that the different communities there agree to an inclusive politics of no victor/no vanquished.
LOL. Yup, lions laying down with lambs any day now. So is Obama really saying that the US will not be involved in the Middle East ever again? And how does he square his statement with the attack he ordered on ISIS? Isn't that all about vanquishing them? More after the jump.
The Big Three networks steered clear of labeling the Islamist group ISIS "terrorists" on their evening newscasts on Friday. Instead, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News labeled the genocidal radicals "militants." NBC Nightly News used the more benign "rebels" in their coverage of the group's latest attacks on the Kurdish part of Iraq.
The closest that a journalist at ABC, CBS, or NBC got to using the "terrorist" label was Scott Pelley's teaser at the very top of CBS Evening News: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]