Obama Watch

By Ken Shepherd | January 29, 2014 | 1:25 PM EST

When President Bush gave his fifth State of the Union address on January 31, 2006, he sat at 43 percent approval in the Gallup tracking poll, in no small part because of public perception regarding his administration's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. When President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union last night, his Gallup approval number was lower a mere 41 percent, doubtless impacted in no small part by the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare and the public's disapproval of the health care overhaul.  What's more, some 53 percent in a recent Quinnipiac poll slammed the administration as incompetent and 47 percent expressed the belief that President Obama doesn't pay attention to what's transpiring on his watch. As to more objective metrics, the job situation is worse at this point in Barack Obama's presidency than it was the same point in George W. Bush's with higher unemployment (6.7 percent to Bush's 4.9 percent) and a woefully low labor force participation rate (62.8 percent to Bush's 66 percent).

Yet when you compare the Washington Post's front-page treatments of Mr. Obama's January 28 speech and Mr. Bush's January 31, 2006 one, it becomes all too apparent that the Post is eager to help the former spin his way to resetting the narrative for the midterm election year while the paper was all too happy to pound out a drumbeat about how President Bush was an abject failure, a lame duck roasting in the waters of public disapproval. Here's how Post staffers David Nakamura and David Fahrenthold opened up their January 29 front-pager "Obama: I won't stand still" (emphasis mine):

By Scott Rasmussen | January 28, 2014 | 6:49 PM EST

The conventional wisdom in Washington was succinctly expressed in a recent Washington Post article, "The GOP's Uphill Path to 270 in 2016." The Electoral College, claims Dan Balz, now gives the Democrats a decided advantage that will be hard for the GOP to overcome. He correctly noted that many formerly Republican-leaning states have shifted to the Democratic column.

On one level, Balz is correct. There has been a massive shift in the state-by-state leanings over the past two decades. From 1968 to 1988, the Republican candidate carried an amazing 34 states five or more times. During that stretch, only Minnesota and Washington, D.C. were equally secure for the Democrats.

By David Limbaugh | January 28, 2014 | 6:32 PM EST

President Obama's policies continue to produce results that are the opposite of what he promises, yet he brazenly cites the abysmal state of his economy to announce — indignantly — that he will double down on his failures.

Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven — notorious leftist professors who devised a sinister plot to overburden the American economy to the point of collapse and then replace it with a socialist system — would be quite proud of their understudy.

By Tom Blumer | January 27, 2014 | 4:43 PM EST

We have a new word in the seemingly never-ending saga of "quirks," "oddities" and other sanitizing language the press is using when it identifies serious problems with Obamacare and Medicaid.

The word is "tricky." In describing a bureuacratic nightmare which is leaving some children without insurance (they aren't allowed onto their parents' Obamacare plan, but they also aren't eligible for Medicaid, so they have no coverage anywhere), the Associated Press headlined the situation as follows: "HEALTH LAW TRICKY FOR PARENTS OF MEDICAID KIDS." Those who go to the same article at the DC cbslocal.com web site will at least begin to get an idea of what's really going on thanks to their replacement headline: "Many Children Unable To Be Included In Parents’ Obamacare Family Plans." Content excerpts from Holly Ramer's otherwise fine report, including an unbelievable response from government officials — scratch that, it was unbelievable until Obamacare came along; but now anything's possible — follow the jump (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall; bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | January 26, 2014 | 11:56 PM EST

When it comes to reporting on aspects of Obamacare, the press is really good at pretending to speculate about outcomes which have already happened in the real world, and at contradicting Obama administration assertions without telling readers that's what they've just done.

Case in point: Last Tuesday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Carla K. Johnson and Tom Murphy told readers that Obamacare "could touch ... people who have insurance through work," and that "The law may prompt some companies to drop coverage for their part-time workers" and to "start excluding spouses." The law has already "prompted" all of these things. Excerpts follow the jump.

By Tom Blumer | January 24, 2014 | 11:49 PM EST

On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a one-paragraph order in Little Sisters of the Poor et al v. Sebeluis et al. It told the Sisters that for the case to continue with no enforcement of the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, they need only to inform the government in writing "that they are non-profit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services." That's easy, because that's what they are, and that's their position.

As a result, the government has been "enjoined from enforcing against the applicants the challenged provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related regulations pending final disposition." In other words, the Sisters will get their way until the case is decided. After the jump, I'll present a bit of the sane coverage by the Washington Post's Robert Barnes, followed by portions of the reality-avoiding writeup of Jesse Holland found at the Associated Press.

By Ken Shepherd | January 24, 2014 | 12:48 PM EST

On Thursday, the Moody's credit-rating agency downgraded its assessment of U.S. health insurance companies from "stable" to "negative," citing ongoing woes in ObamaCare's rollout. This is, of course, is yet another piece of bad news for President Obama, coming just five days before his State of the Union address and shortly after a new Quinnipiac poll finding 53 percent of respondents believing the president is incompetent at his job.

Fortunately for Mr. Obama, the president enjoys a liberal news media intent on shielding the president -- and with him his congressional Democratic allies -- as best they can. On Thursday evening, none of the Big Three network evening newscasts even bothered to briefly mention the Moody's downgrade. Likewise none of the Big Three morning news programs thought it worthy of even a brief mention in a news-desk roundup. The New York Times -- motto: All the news that's fit to print -- also ignored the story in its Friday print edition.

By Tom Blumer | January 19, 2014 | 4:43 PM EST

On Thursday, Stephanie Condon at CBS News reported ("Security chief: HealthCare.gov has passed security testing") that Teresa Fryer, who had recommended against allowing HealthCare.gov going live before its October launch but was overruled, "told Congress ... that the Obamacare website passed security testing in December, and she would recommend that its official Authority to Operate (ATO) be extended when the current ATO expires in March."

On Friday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, in an otherwise keister-covering dispatch apparently designed to show that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was really, really unaware of the web site's prelaunch security problems, claimed without qualification that "There have been no successful attacks on the site" — even though by law the government "need never notify customers that their personal information has been hacked or possibly compromised."

By Cal Thomas | January 17, 2014 | 6:32 PM EST

BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- While the Obama administration offers life support to its Affordable Care Act, in the UK a growing number of people are asking whether it's time to pull the plug on the National Health Service (NHS), which is in critical condition.

For many years the UK media have carried stories that not only bode ill for the future of government-run health care, but also continue to serve as a "code blue" warning to the U.S. as to what might be in our future if we decide to go down that road.

By Kyle Drennen | January 17, 2014 | 3:27 PM EST

On Thursday and Friday, NBC's Today provided viewers with gushing over-the-top coverage of First Lady Michelle Obama turning fifty, with White House correspondent Kristen Welker excitedly declaring in a Thursday report: "For days they've been gearing up for a big bash here at the White House. Guests were told to wear comfortable shoes and to be prepared to move around a lot, an indication there will be no shortage of dancing here. You can also bet there will be a long list of celebrities to pull off a party fit for a first lady." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Welker fawned over President Obama acting as "planner-in-chief" for the extravagant celebration and touted: "Just back from an extended stay at Oprah's house in Hawaii, a gift from the President [with her separate flight back to Washington paid for by taxpayers], the First Lady seems to be taking up the big five-zero in stride..."

By David Limbaugh | January 16, 2014 | 6:43 PM EST

This week, once again, we heard President Obama defiantly pronounce that he has no intention of letting a little thing like constitutional checks and balances get in his way and interrupt his royal prerogative.

"We are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we're providing Americans the kind of help that they need," said Obama. "I've got a pen, and I've got a phone." What other president has ever talked like this?

By Ken Shepherd | January 15, 2014 | 12:40 PM EST

On Tuesday a federal appeals court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) overstepped its legal authority in 2010 when it imposed so-called net neutrality regulations on broadband companies -- cable and fiber-optic Internet providers like Comcast or Verizon FiOS. The FCC had done this despite language in federal law which forbade the regulations under a "common carrier" provision.

While the Wall Street Journal's Gautham Nagesh and Amol Sharma gave readers a factual portrait of the ruling which dealt with the law and the economic realities of broadband service, the Washington Post's Cecilia Kang opted for the melodramatic in her January 15 front-pager, foreseeing a future replete with the Internet's fast lanes auctioned "to the highest corporate bidder" while "other Web sites [slow] to a crawl." "Ultimately," the Post national technology correspondent ominously warned (emphasis mine):