Sunday Shows: The “L” WordPosted: October 7, 2012 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, open thread, The DNC, the GOP, The Media SUCKS, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics | Tags: David Axelrod, Martin O'Malley, Michael Nutter, Paul Krugman, Robert Gibbs 33 Comments
No, I don’t mean “liberal.” The “L” word for this week is “lies.” Democrats were out on the Sunday shows this morning calling out Mitt Romney for lying in last Wednesday’s presidential debate. Talk about a “game changer.” It used to be that politicians were uncomfortable coming right out and calling their opponents liars, but with the number and scale of Romney’s lies in the 2012 campaign, that calculus has changed. Two Obama surrogates actually used the word “lie” and two Obama advisers called Romney “dishonest.” It appears to have a been a coordinated attack.
On Face the Nation, David Axelrod called Romney “dishonest.”
“Governor Romney showed up to deliver a performance, and he delivered a very good performance,” Axelrod said. “It was completely unrooted in fact; it was completely unrooted in the position he’s taken before, and he spent 90 minutes trying to undo two years of campaigning.”
Doubling down on his assertion, Axelrod said, “I think he was dishonest…absolutely.”
Axelrod criticized Romney for saying during the debates that he “never proposed” $5 trillion worth of tax cuts, which an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found would occur if Romney implemented his plan to reduce tax rates by 20 percent. “That was dishonest,” Axelrod said….
“It’s impossible….He cannot name one loophole that he would close. If you took away all the loopholes for upper-income Americans, every single one of them, he would still be trillions of dollars short.” In order to pay for the tax cuts and remain revenue neutral, Axelrod said, “He has to sock it to the middle class or explode the deficit.”
Axelrod even compared Romney to Sinclair Lewis’s fictional character Elmer Gantry.
Suggesting that Mr. Obama had expected, and prepared for, a more substantive debate, Mr. Axelrod said, “I think he went thinking that this was going to be a discussion about the country’s future, and he was confronted by this kind of Gantry-esque performance on the other side, just serially rewriting history.”
The program’s moderator, Bob Schieffer, stopped Mr. Axelrod for clarification.
Yes, Mr. Axelrod said, he was referring to Elmer Gantry, the title character in a book – banned in Boston when published in 1927 – and later a movie about a charismatic, fast-talking, but deeply dishonest street preacher.
Axelrod also noted that President Obama “was ‘taken aback at the brazenness’ of the Republican nominee’s answers.”
Robert Gibbs also used the word “dishonest” to describe Romney on This Week.
“The underpinnings and foundation of that performance were fundamentally dishonest,” said Gibbs, an Obama campaign senior adviser. “Look, the only thing he outlined that he would cut in the budget is Big Bird. He’s taken the battle straight to Sesame Street and let Wall Street run hog wild.”
The Obama campaign has attacked Mitt Romney for tax plan, which is to lower tax rates, but also close certain loopholes, which would produce revenue for the government. Romney has not specified exactly which ones he would close.
“And let’s be clear, if you’re willing to say anything to get elected president, if you are willing to make up your positions and walk away from them, I think the American people have to understand, how can they trust you if you are elected president,” Gibbs said.
On Fox News Sunday, top Obama surrogate Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley said of Romney’s tax plan, “The fact of the matter is in this debate we saw Big Bird meet the big lie.” In addition, he told Chris Wallace:
“Mitt Romney tells us to trust him, his plan is hiding behind door No. 3 with Carol Merrill and his undisclosed tax returns,” O’Malley said, referring to “Let’s Make a Deal,” the game show that was popular in the 1960s and 1970s. Merrill was the model that assisted host Monty Hall.
Another Obama campaign surrogate, Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia said on CNN’s State of the Union that
Mitt Romney had offered “lie after lie” during last week’s debate.
“He is the Etch-A-Sketch guy, [he] has transformed himself and, quite frankly, we always have to wonder which Mitt is going to show up.”
Nutter said that Romney
had undergone an “11th hour conversion” before his debate appearance. “So, if you just lay out lie after lie after lie about your own plan, as well as what the president has been talking about, of course you can look good,” he said.
I’m very glad that Democrats are getting so tough on Romney. But on Meet the Press, even Romney surrogate Newt Gingrich agreed that Romney was lying about his tax plan.
When asked if Romney was being dishonest in the presidential debate, Gingrich said it was “clear” Romney ran away from the tax plan he has long promised on Wednesday night.
GINGRICH: I think you got to look carefully at how Romney structured, what he said is, something that frankly true supply siders don’t necessarily love but it’s good politics, he said, “I will close enough deductions that wealthy Americans will not get a net tax cut.” Now, that’s a pretty clear description.
Senior Obama Campaign Adviser Robert GIBBS: Let me just say this. Standing on the stage with you in Arizona, this is what Mitt Romney said.” Number one, I said today we’re going to cut taxes on everyone across the country, by 20%, including the top 1%.” Mr. Speaker, you mentioned that your opponent, Mitt Romney, had a problem with being dishonest in the primary. My question is, was he dishonest when he said that?
GINGRICH: I think it’s clear he changed.
GIBBS: So we don’t disagree that he changed.
The most stinging rebuke this morning came from Paul Krugman’s indictment of the media coverage of Romney’s debate performance on This Week.
On ABC’s “This Week” roundtable Sunday, Paul Krugman said Mitt Romney is exploiting a press that is ineffective at holding politicians accountable for lies.
“The press just doesn’t know how to handle flat-out untruths,” he said.
“I don’t know whether to blame [the debate moderator Jim] Lehrer or the president, but it was kind of amazing because Romney was not only saying things that are not true, he was saying things that his own campaign had previously said weren’t true,” said the economist and New York Times columnist.
Citing Romney’s claims on taxes and preexisting conditions, Krugman said the Republican nominee showed “contempt for us by thinking the news media will not cover on me as long as they say forcefully I won.”
Please use this as an open thread. What are you hearing?
Barack Obama’s Father Planned to Give Him Up for AdoptionPosted: July 7, 2011 Filed under: Barack Obama, U.S. Politics | Tags: adoption, Ann Dunham, Barack Obama Sr, bigamy, Boston Globe, Harvard, Hawaii, immigration, INS, polygamy, President Barack Obama, Robert Gibbs, Sally Jacobs, Salvation Army 12 Comments
The dreams of President Barack Obama’s father apparently included turning him over to the Salvation Army to be adopted, according to a new book by Boston Globe reporter Sally Jacobs. Jacobs found records showing that in 1961, before his son was born, Barack Obama Sr.,
a sophomore at the University of Hawaii, had come under scrutiny by federal immigration officials who were concerned that he had more than one wife. When he was questioned by the school’s foreign student adviser, the 24-year-old Obama insisted that he had divorced his wife in his native Kenya. Although his new wife, Ann Dunham, was five months pregnant with their child – who would be called Barack Obama II – Obama declared that they intended to put their child up for adoption.
“Subject got his USC wife ‘Hapai’ [Hawaiian for pregnant] and although they were married they do not live together and Miss Dunham is making arrangements with the Salvation Army to give the baby away,’’ according to a memo describing the conversation with Obama written by Lyle H. Dahling, an administrator in the Honolulu office of what was then called the US Immigration and Naturalization Service. Wondering how to get a permanent residency in the U.S.? Immigrant Investor Visa Program which is also known as the EB5 Visa is the answer. For more details, visit inc.com.
Obviously this never happened, but we do know that Obama’s father eventually went off to grad school at Harvard, abandoning his wife and child. According to Jacobs,
…his statement provides a unique glimpse into the relationship between the president’s parents and the fragility of his connection to the father whom he would little know.
Dahling’s memo, dated April 12, 1961, is one of dozens of documents in the elder Obama’s “alien’’ file released by the Department of Homeland Security in response to a Freedom of Information Act request made in the course of research on a biography of Obama’s father. Obama was visiting the United States on a foreign student visa which required him to apply for an annual extension of his stay during the five years he was attending US colleges.
The memo advised that officials should continue to monitor the senior Obama’s personal life, and raised concerns about his behavior, noting that the previous summer he had been warned about his “playboy ways.’’
Former WH press secretary Robert Gibbs told Jacobs that President Obama had no knowledge of his father’s discussions with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) or of the INS memo. Gibbs said the White House had not contacted the Salvation Army to see whether Obama’s mother had spoken to them about adoption. But Jacob notes that Obama had speculated in his book Dreams of My Father that his parents might have considered giving him up for adoption because their was a mixed race marriage in a time when that could lead to social ostracism.
Jacobs writes that Immigration officials also considered charging Barack Obama Sr with bigamy or polygamy:
Noting that Obama appeared to have a wife in Kenya and another in Hawaii, Dahling raised the possibility in his memo of charging Obama with polygamy or bigamy in order to get a deportation order against him. In the end, he suggested they keep an eye on him.
“Recommend that Subject be closely questioned before another extension is granted – and denial be considered,’’ Dahling concluded. “If his USC wife tries to petition for him, make sure an investigation is conducted as to the bona fide of the marriage.’’
But the senior Obama soon moved on to Harvard, leaving his wife and child to fend for themselves.
Live Blog: New Hampshire Republican DebatePosted: June 13, 2011 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, Barack Obama, Democratic Politics, Economy, Republican presidential politics | Tags: 2012 presidential election, CNN Republican Debate, live blog, New Hampshire, Robert Gibbs 67 Comments
Tonight’s Republican freak show has just begun. If you’re watching or listening, please post your reactions in this thread. You can watch the live stream at CNN. Candidates appearing in this debate are Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney.
For some reason, New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson was left out of the debate.
Among those invited to the participate in the debate include Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
Ms. Bachmann has yet to declare her candidacy, leaving many to claim the debate is simply a move to boost ratings.
A number of Republican leaders were also extended invitations, the news networks said. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Donald Trump were also extended invitations. Mr. Daniels, Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Trump publicly announced their intentions not to run for president, while Mr. Huntsman declined the invitation, CNN said.
CNN is allowing audience members to ask questions directly to the candidates and they are also encouraging viewers to use social media while watching the debate. On twitter you’re encouraged to use the hashtag #CNNDebate.
At the Daily Telegraph, conservative columnist Toby Harnden has a list of 10 things to watch for in the debate. According to Harnden, former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs is at the debate. At the Chicago Sun-Times, Lynn Sweet runs down “Team Obama’s GOP Debate Game Plan.”
Here are the details:
*Gibbs is in New Hampshire booked for a series of national and regional interviews before and after the debate. Exclusive: On Tuesday morning, Gibbs will hit the a.m. talk shows: CNN’s American Morning, Fox and Friends, CBS’ Early Show and MSNBC.
*Flooding the zone. Obama 2012 top strategist David Axelrod was deployed to CNN in D.C., where he guests on the debate pre-show, “John King, USA.”
*Democratic National Committee top spokesman Brad Woodhouse will handle post debate spin room duties at the debate site, St. Anselm’s College.
*The DNC is deploying folks to work all social media-Twitter, web, etc. during the debate and will run a fact check operation.
*The DNC is also doing what is called pre-buttal, taking aim in particular at Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney.
Raise your hand if you’re surprised about this….Posted: February 1, 2011 Filed under: Barack Obama, Team Obama, The Media SUCKS, U.S. Politics | Tags: Barack in the bubble, Barack Obama, Dan Pfeiffer, David Plouffe, Jay Carney, Robert Gibbs 12 Comments
Lloyd Grove has a veeeerrrry interesting post up at The Daily Beast on Obama’s new press secretary Jay Carney. Unlike Robert Gibbs, who had easy access to the president, Carney doesn’t even report directly to Obama. According to Grove Carney
is expected to be far more responsive to the needs of his erstwhile colleagues than the sometimes flippant Gibbs. The 39-year-old Gibbs, a trusted Obama confidant since the latter’s 2004 Senate race, has experienced occasionally tense relations with press room regulars and is notorious for not returning phone calls.
Carney is a champ at returning phone calls.
But he’s not an Obama insider—hardly an advantage when toiling for an insular politician who is naturally wary of newcomers and relies on a tight circle of advisers and intimates. Some White House veterans, including at least one former presidential press secretary, worry that Carney won’t receive the necessary access to Obama, and other policymakers at key meetings, to speak from the podium with the authority that Gibbs unquestionably enjoyed.
Carney will report “to White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer, who in turn reports to senior presidential adviser David Plouffe,” according to this story in the Washington Post
With Carney’s appointment comes a major structural shift: All of the operations of the press and communications shops will move under the control of communications director Dan Pfeiffer. Previously, the press shop had reported to the press secretary. Carney will technically report to Pfeiffer, something of a downgrading of that role, although they are expected to function as equals.
Grove talked to Ron Nessen, Gerald Ford’s press secretary about the Carney appointment.
“If the press secretary is not reporting directly to the president, his boss, I think it’s going to be a disaster,” Nessen told me, adding that he made sure to meet with Ford every day at 11 a.m. for half an hour before briefing the press. “How can you accurately reflect the president’s thinking if you have to go through two layers? That was one of the conditions I made with Ford when I took the job—that I would have direct access to him, and that I could attend any meeting I wanted.”
Anne Compton, WH correspondant for ABC news also expressed doubts about the access Carney will have to Obama.
“I became suspicious when the president didn’t announce [Carney’s elevation]; Bill Daley did,” Compton told me, referring to the new chief of staff. “When Tony Snow came on, Bush announced it. When Scott McClellan left, Bush announced it. I think this time, it was stunning, and it was stunningly clear when the president did not make this announcement that the new press secretary will not be duplicating what Robert Gibbs has done for the past two years.”
Just exactly whom does President Obama deal with directly? I assume Axelrod was also a confidante, along with Gibbs, but they are leaving the WH. I know Valerie Jarrett is very close to Obama.
Anne Compton told the Daily Beast’s Grove that David Plouffe is the one who will be in meetings with Obama. So he’ll be briefing Dan Pfeiffer and then Carney will get everything from him?
It looks like Obama has decided to find a new way to give the press as little real information as possible. With Gibbs, it was dismissive, snarky treatment of press questions and refusal to return phone calls; with Carney, it will be friendly, responsive behavior, but little firsthand knowledge to share with the media.
Late Night DriftsPosted: January 27, 2011 Filed under: Barack Obama, Team Obama, the villagers, U.S. Politics, Wikileaks | Tags: Alex Pareene, Barack Obama, Claire Shipman, David Dayen, FBI Raids, Jay Carney, Jay Rosen, John McCain, Mark Salter, Operation Payback, Rick Perlstein, Robert Gibbs, snow, Wikileaks 12 Comments
I thought I put up a little news for your late night reading pleasure.
I hope all you East Coast folks have finished shoveling your driveways and sidewalks. The drifts in my driveway are almost as high as my car roof, and my sidewalk is just a narrow strip cutting through waist-high snow. When will it end?
You’ve probably heard by now that President Obama has announced his choice for Press Secretary. Jay Carney, formerly of Time Magazine and for the past two years Joe Biden’s communications director, got the nod to replace Robert Gibbs. Frankly, I always thought Carney was a Republican. Oh wait–that makes him perfect for Obama. Also, Carney is married to ABC news correspondent Claire Shipman–isn’t that a bit of a conflict?
Anyway, a few bloggers have been dishing about Carney’s past history.
At FDL, David Dayen reminisced about a Yearly Kos panel that Carney was on in 2007, and also linked to this anecdote by Jay Rosen
Jay Carney is Time magazine’s Washington bureau chief. Andrew Golis interviewed him too, on the sidewalk outside the party that Time threw on Friday night to promote its political blog, Swampland. (I read Swampland and I was there: good party.) “The blogosphere’s critique of the mainstream media has been overwhelmingly healthy and it’s made the mainstream media pay a lot of attention to details it should have been paying attention to,” he said, echoing Scherer and Fournier.
He then added something unintentionally revealing of how political journalists got themselves into the very trouble that’s forcing at least some of them to look inward. “Karen Tumulty and I— we’re not advocates, we’re not columnists.” (Tumulty, a contributor to Swampland, is Time’s national political correspondent.) “It’s our responsibility not to be labeled left or right.”
Is it now?
“That is just so wrong,” said a commenter (Lee) at Swampland, who had watched the interview. “Your job is to tell the truth.” (Regardless of how it gets you categorized.)
He sounds perfect for our post-partisan POTUS.