Obama Watch

By Ken Shepherd | July 24, 2014 | 6:36 PM EDT

At the beginning of the July 24 edition of Fast Money, CNBC aired an exclusive interview of President Obama by the network's Steve Liesman focused primarily on taxes and tax reform, particularly the president's call to prevent large corporations from capitalizing on an "inversion" to lessen their federal tax bite.

But after the interview was aired, CNBC panelists excoriated the president as "duplicitous" and "disingenuous" for pretending like he has no share in the blame for a lack of movement on tax reform during his tenure in office and for offering an inaccurate, misleading description of what exactly happens to a U.S. corporation's tax obligations after it undergoes an inversion.

By Ken Shepherd | July 22, 2014 | 10:15 PM EDT

In the midst of a panel discussion this evening freaking out over the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals striking a blow to the ObamaCare, MSNBC's Chris Matthews invoked a favored 14-year-old bogeyman of the Left, the Supreme Court ruling in Bush v. Gore. "Don't tell me you're shocked by the fact there's a partisan ruling," the Hardball host screeched to fellow MSNBCer Joy Reid. "We had President George W. Bush because of a partisan ruling by the Supreme Court. Isn't that a fact?!" 

Actually, Chris, no, that isn't a fact. For one, a  "recount" conducted by USA Today showed that, using the recount methodology that Vice President Gore had called for, Mr. Bush still would have won Florida's electoral votes and with it the presidency AND tripled his winning margin in the process. Only the strictest recount standard MAY have resulted in a Gore victory, but only of three votes and Mr. Gore did not argue for that standard to be deployed in the recount. From USA Today (emphasis mine):

By Ken Shepherd | July 21, 2014 | 8:50 PM EDT

During the Bush era, the Left were wont to remind us that "dissent is patriotic" and being intensely critical of the president was a hallmark of a vibrant democracy, especially on matters of foreign policy and national defense. But in the Obama Era, especially in a crucial midterm election year, well, not so much.

On the July 21 Hardball, guest host Steve Kornacki brought on Mother Jones magazine writer David Corn and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart to grouse about how Republicans who have been critical of President Obama's handling of Russia vis-a-vis the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the Moscow-backed political unrest in Ukraine. "There was a time when politics stopped at the water's edge. That disappeared, apparently, on January 20, 2009," Capehart whined in a segment entitled "Blame Obama First."

By Ken Shepherd | July 17, 2014 | 8:43 PM EDT

Of the Big Three evenings newscasts for Thursday, July 17, only ABC's World News failed to mention that President Obama was attending two fundraisers in New York City as previously planned despite the day's events: a downed Malaysia Airlines jetliner in Ukraine and Israel sending ground forces into the Gaza Strip.

CBS's Major Garrett mentioned in passing the president flying to New York for a fundraiser and a "political event," while NBC White House correspondent Chris Jansing noted her exchange with White House officials about the planned fundraiser and if the president would proceed with his attendance. The relevant transcript follows the page break (emphasis mine):

By Mark Finkelstein | July 17, 2014 | 10:37 AM EDT

But enough about me.  Let's talk about how you feel about me . . . Maybe Barack Obama should modify his famous New Age-y line, uttered after the 2008 Super Tuesday results, to read "I am the one I have been waiting for." In recent times, it's become an entertaining parlor game to count the number of self references in President Obama's public statements.  

The latest opportunity to play the game comes via a fund-raising email the prez sent out this morning. Defiantly entitled "I Won't Apologize," the short message contains by my count no fewer than 11 self-references [12 if you count the URL for the fund-raising link]—a self-adoring assortment of I, I'm, I'll and me. View the complete email after the jump.

By Ken Shepherd | July 16, 2014 | 6:33 PM EDT

On page A7 of the July 16 paper, Washington Post staff writer Juliet Eilperin hacked out 12 paragraphs of goo over President Obama's Tuesday visit to the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va., where he "[made] a case for pouring more federal funds in U.S. infrastructure" and also got behind the wheel of "a self-driving car stationed at a simulator." "Man, this is so exciting.... I haven't been on the road in a long time," Eilperin quoted the president, who added a 1980s pop-culture reference. "It was sort of like 'Knight Rider,' Eilperin quoted Obama, noting  that it "[prompted] laughter from a crowd of nearly 200 of the center's employees."

One person not chuckling, however, was John Foust. He's the Fairfax County Democrat running for Congress in the district where the facility is located. The Weekly Standard notes that the Democrat was curiously absent from the presidential visit, eschewing the opportunity for a photo op with the president in a district Obama carried twice (but which is represented currently by Republican Barbara Comstock  retiring Republican Congressman Frank Wolf):

By Cal Thomas | July 16, 2014 | 5:50 PM EDT

At last, an Obama administration official has come out in favor of a fence. He promises it will bring security to people on both sides of the border.

Unfortunately, Philip GordonNational Security Council coordinator for theMiddle EastNorth Africa and the Gulf, was not speaking of a border fence between the United States and Mexico, but a fence between the West Bank and the 1967 Israeli border. That fence, he said, would be built after Israelrelinquishes the territory in exchange for an empty promise of "peace" with the Palestinians.

By Ken Shepherd | July 10, 2014 | 9:12 PM EDT

Of the Big Three network newscasts for this evening, only CBS's Evening News covered how Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) threatened lawsuit against President Obama came a step closer to fruition today.

The relevant transcript follows the page break:

By Ken Shepherd | July 9, 2014 | 9:36 PM EDT

Miracles do happen. 

On his July 9 Hardball program, MSNBC's Chris Matthews actually pressed abortion-rights absolutist Stephanie Schriock about the implications of her support for Democratic legislation to overturn the Supreme Court's ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. But Matthews put the EMILY's List president on the spot by asking if her position amounted to telling religious employers that they simply have to swallow their religious scruples in order to not run afoul of the law. Bullying religious Americans over their sincere beliefs is hardly a picture one wants painted of one's self, so Schriock sought to avoid the questions and double down on talking points. Here's the relevant transcript (MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break; emphases mine):

By Tom Blumer | July 9, 2014 | 9:15 PM EDT

On Tuesday, Harry Reid told the press that "the one thing we're going to do, during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women's lives are not determined by virtue of five white men. This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous, and we're going to do something about it."

Obviously, Reid's statement assailing the Supreme Court majority in the Hobby Lobby decision is incorrect, as black African-American Clarence Thomas was among the five justices who defended the religious freedom of the Green family which owns and runs Hobby Lobby. Ordinarily, in an obvious gaffe involving a Democratic Party politican, coverage would be sparse. But in this case, there are at least two instances where an establishment press outlet actually reported Reid's statement without pointing out that it was wrong. One occurred at the New York Times.

By Ken Shepherd | July 9, 2014 | 5:30 PM EDT

Yesterday 39 representatives from various journalist trade groups, coordinated by the Society of Professional Journalists, shot off an open letter to President Obama criticizing the "politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies" that has occurred on his watch. [h/t Washington Examiner]

"The stifling of free expression is happening despite your pledge on your first day in office to bring 'a new era of openness' to federal government – and the subsequent executive orders and directives which were supposed to bring such openness about," the missive lamented, going on to detail a few examples before "ask[ing] that you issue a clear directive telling federal employees they’re not only free to answer questions from reporters and the public, but actually encouraged to do so" and, moreover to:

By Tom Blumer | July 7, 2014 | 11:57 AM EDT

Donna Brazile apparently liked yours truly's NewsBusters post yesterday. That post ripped the Associated Press's Pollyanna-like coverage of the U.S. economy, and carried the following headline which may have caused several spilled drinks and soaked monitors among the genuinely informed — "AP: ‘Humming’ and ‘Rising’ U.S. Economy Is a ‘World-Beater.'"

About five hours after the post's appearance, Brazile tweeted her clear approval (HT Twitchy). While we appreciate any traffic which might have come this way as a result of Brazile's tweet, it's hard to imagine that Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign manager has switched sides. It's far more likely that she didn't bother reading the underlying post. The tweet follows the jump: