Obama Watch

By Ken Shepherd | August 20, 2014 | 10:20 PM EDT

"I don't know why he used the word 'justice.' It's not appropriate here. This is an attack on our country, we have to react to it," an upset Chris Matthews reacted to a video excerpt of President Obama's statement today about the beheading by an ISIS member of American freelance journalist James Foley. 

"This is our country versus this group that's declared war on us. What's justice mean in this con-- I don't know why the word's used, like we're going to go to the World Court with this?!" Matthews sneered to guest Howard Fineman of the Huffington Post Media Group on the August 20 edition of Hardball. Later in the segment, an irate Matthews insisted "no American president can survive if he lets Americans be beheaded on international television with impunity. Impunity! He has to strike back, as an American, it's in our soul!" [LISTEN to MP3 audio here; WATCH video below the page break]

By Tom Blumer | August 18, 2014 | 5:59 PM EDT

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.

By Tom Blumer | August 13, 2014 | 1:46 PM EDT

This morning, the Census Bureau, in its advance report on retail sales, revealed that seasonally adjusted July sales were "virtually unchanged" from June. Expectations were for a 0.2 percent gain, supposedly with "solid upside" potential. Oops. June's result stayed at its previously reported 0.2 percent increase.

Reuters did the "U-word" honors this time out: "U.S. retail sales unexpectedly stalled in July, pointing to some loss of momentum in the economy early in the third quarter." Someone needs to tell the wire service's Lucia Mutikani that no increase means no momentum. Over at the Associated Press, Josh Boak tried the deadpan approach.

By NB Staff | August 12, 2014 | 6:31 PM EDT

Former NewsBuster Lachlan Markay, who now does excellent work at the Washington Free Beacon, tweeted a link to a stunning photo of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request denial letter sent from one Taylor D. August, a "FOIA Denial Officer" at the Department of Education to Morgan Smith of the Texas Tribune. "Here's to transparency in job titles! #foia," Smith tweeted from her account at 4:20 p.m. Eastern today.

"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:

By Chuck Norris | August 11, 2014 | 9:14 PM EDT

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.

By Brent Baker | August 9, 2014 | 9:16 PM EDT

Reid Cherlin, an Assistant Press Secretary during the first two years plus of the Obama administration, managed to deliver two laugh-worthy howlers in a piece for Rolling Stone posted this past Monday:

> “Barack Obama never had reporters eating out of his hand the way that right-wingers love to allege.”

> “I...believe he’ll be remembered as an excellent President.”

By David Limbaugh | August 5, 2014 | 6:48 PM EDT

Tell me: Has any other United States president ever goaded the opposition party to bring impeachment proceedings against himself? Has any other so sneeringly mocked and taunted the other party?

President Obama is not only not the uniter he promised to be; he is the agitator in chief. Just consider the contrast with President George W. Bush, who didn't even defend himself often, much less deride, needle and dare Democrats to oppose him.

By Ken Shepherd | August 4, 2014 | 9:40 PM EDT

For Barack Obama's 53rd birthday, Chris Matthews gave the gift of an incredibly stupid idea. In his closing "Let Me Finish" commentary for August 4, the MSNBC Hardball host urged the president to "get yourself a bright lawyer" and work up a lawsuit against Congress for "failure to provide services." 

Yes, "normally that would strike me or you as absurd, but now that we're in the suing season, it deserves a tad of consideration," Matthews insisted, likening Congress to a DMV clerk who straight up refuses to do his job and grant you your license renewal after you've waited in line forever. You can read the transcript in full below the page break, followed by my analysis (MP3 audio here; video follows page break):

By Tom Blumer | August 4, 2014 | 6:46 PM EDT

It would almost not be worth noting, because it's so predictable. On Fox News Sunday, Juan Williams, with strategic support at opportune times from National Journal's Ron Fournier, characterized the support within the Republican Party for impeachment as coming from "Tea Party opposition ... (with) no diversity, it's a white, older group of people."

What makes it worthy of notice is the fact that Michael Needham, head of Heritage Action for America, called out Williams for his comments and held his own as Fournier attempted to be the supposed voice of reason while really bringing aid and comfort to Williams. Video and a transcript follow the jump:

By Tom Blumer | August 2, 2014 | 10:30 AM EDT

Former Congressman Barney Frank had "a July interview" with the Huffington Post. The liberal blog's Zach Carter put up a post about it on Friday, August 1 at 3:59 p.m.

How convenient, because Frank ripped President Obama and his administration, who he says "just lied to people" about whether they could keep their existing healthcare plans under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Naturally, despite the fact that most of those "if you like your plan-doctor-provider-drug regimen, you can keep them" promises were made before the law's passage, whoever interviewed Frank at HuffPo didn't follow up with the obvious question: "Despite the lies, why are you still comfortable with having voted for it?" Or if they did, they chose not to publish Frank's response. Excerpts follow the jump.

By Ken Oliver-Méndez | July 31, 2014 | 8:41 PM EDT

The top four Spanish-language television news programs in the United States have so far ignored the release of damning emails from Lois Lerner, the former top IRS official who in newly released emails characterized conservatives as "a**holes" and "crazies."

Instead, Noticiero Univisión and Noticiero Telemundo devoted full reports to the water main that burst on the campus of UCLA, along with coverage of the introduction of legislation to curb sex crimes on university campuses.

By Tom Blumer | July 31, 2014 | 5:17 PM EDT

In a Thursday report on why many Americans are still unimpressed with the U.S. job market, Associated Press reporters Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak made a rare admission that "Finding a steady full-time job has become harder" than it was before the recession.

The AP pair then contended that "the trend might also reflect a lasting shift among restaurants and coffee shops," but found an "expert" who only acknowledged that such employers are trying to be more careful in their spending. Although they mentioned Obamacare as a reason why pollied Republicans are dissatisfied with the economy, Rugaber and Boak never cited the healthcare law as a possible factor in the significant move to employ part-timers, even though Investor's Business Daily has compiled a list of 429 employers "with strong proof that ObamaCare's employer mandate is behind cuts to work hours or staffing levels." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):