Day 90 of the Obama Administration - History

Day 90 of the Obama Administration - History



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The President celebrated Earth Day by traveling to Des Moines Iowa to Trinity Structural Towers Manufacturing Plant, a producer fo wind turbines. He toured the plant and then spoke about the future of renewable energy sources such as wind. Remarks


Obama’s Weak Defense of His Record on Drone Killings

His choices made unjust strikes predictable and inevitable—and with Donald Trump poised to take power, the precedents he set are all the more alarming.

When my colleague Ta-Nehisi Coates interviewed President Obama for his recent article, “My President Was Black,” the discussion briefly turned to lethal drone strikes.

Obama had already spoken about the strengths and weaknesses of Black Lives Matter, LGBT activists, and activists objecting to the deportation of undocumented immigrants, remarks I suggest reading in full. “Sometimes it’s useful for activists just to be out there to keep you mindful and not get complacent,” the president concluded, “even if ultimately you think some of their criticism is misguided.”

That’s when he brought up critics of lethal drone strikes.

“The truth is that this technology really began to take off right at the beginning of my presidency,” he began. “And it wasn’t until about a year, year and a half in where I began to realize that the Pentagon and our national-security apparatus and the CIA were all getting too comfortable with the technology as a tool to fight terrorism, and not being mindful enough about how that technology is being used and the dangers of a form of warfare that is so detached from what is actually happening on the ground. And so we initiated this big process to try to get it in a box, and checks and balances, and much higher standards about when they’re used.”


Political Classifieds

☑️ SECRETS by Fred Ellis Brock, the third novel in The Seven trilogy, now available on Amazon, etc. A thriller out of today’s headlines: murder, treason, and UFO conspiracies. Published by Wyatt-MacKenzie.

☑️ On the American Exchange podcast, ex-pat Erich McElroy reaches across from London to try and find out what is happening to his home country. Past guests include Mary Trump, SE Cupp, Anthony Scaramucci and more.

Your Account

Latest for Members

About Political Wire

Taegan Goddard is the founder of Political Wire, one of the earliest and most influential political web sites. He also runs Political Job Hunt, Electoral Vote Map and the Political Dictionary.

Goddard spent more than a decade as managing director and chief operating officer of a prominent investment firm in New York City. Previously, he was a policy adviser to a U.S. Senator and Governor.

Goddard is also co-author of You Won - Now What? (Scribner, 1998), a political management book hailed by prominent journalists and politicians from both parties. In addition, Goddard's essays on politics and public policy have appeared in dozens of newspapers across the country.

Goddard earned degrees from Vassar College and Harvard University. He lives in New York with his wife and three sons.

Praise for Political Wire

“There are a lot of blogs and news sites claiming to understand politics, but only a few actually do. Political Wire is one of them.”

— Chuck Todd, host of “Meet the Press”

“Concise. Relevant. To the point. Political Wire is the first site I check when I’m looking for the latest political nugget. That pretty much says it all.”

— Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report

“Political Wire is one of only four or five sites that I check every day and sometimes several times a day, for the latest political news and developments.”

— Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report

“The big news, delicious tidbits, pearls of wisdom — nicely packaged, constantly updated… What political junkie could ask for more?”

— Larry Sabato, Center for Politics, University of Virginia

“Political Wire is a great, great site.”

— Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”

“Taegan Goddard has a knack for digging out political gems that too often get passed over by the mainstream press, and for delivering the latest electoral developments in a sharp, no frills style that makes his Political Wire an addictive blog habit you don’t want to kick.”

— Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post

“Political Wire is one of the absolute must-read sites in the blogosphere.”

— Glenn Reynolds, founder of Instapundit

“I rely on Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire for straight, fair political news, he gets right to the point. It’s an eagerly anticipated part of my news reading.”


Obama and the Most [REDACTED] Administration in History

Good news: thanks to a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Monday, the "most transparent administration in history" is going to have to tell American citizens when it believes it's legally entitled to kill them.

The lawsuit arose out of Freedom of Information Act requests by two New York Times reporters for Office of Legal Counsel memoranda exploring the circumstances under which it would be legal for U.S. personnel to target American citizens. The administration stonewalled, asserting that "the very fact of the existence or nonexistence of such documents is itself classified," and a federal district judge upheld the refusal in January 2013.

A month later, however, someone leaked a Justice Department "white paper" on the subject to NBC News, forcing a re-examination of the question in light of changed circumstances. On Monday, the three-judge panel held "it is no longer either 'logical' or 'plausible' to maintain that disclosure of the legal analysis in the Office of Legal Council-Department of Defense Memorandum risks disclosing any aspect" of sensitive sources and methods.

In matters of transparency, the Obama Team can always be counted on to do the right thing — after exhausting all other legal options and being forced into it by the federal courts.

When "peals of laughter broke out in the briefing room" after then-press secretary Robert Gibbs floated the "most transparent administration" line at an April 2010 presser, the administration should have taken the hint. But it's one soundbite they just can't quit. Gibbs' successor Jay Carney repeated it just last week, as did the president himself in a Google Hangout last year: "This is the most transparent administration in history…. I can document that this is the case."

Actually, any number of journalists and open government advocates have documented that it's not. As the Associated Press reported last month: "More often than ever, the [Obama] administration censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act."

It wasn't supposed to be this way. In the hope-infused afterglow of his first inauguration, President Obama declared, "for a long time now, there's been too much secrecy in this city," and ordered his attorney general to issue newly restrictive standards for government use of the "state secrets privilege," which allows the government to shield national security secrets from civil or criminal discovery. Attorney General Eric Holder pledged that the administration would not "invoke the privilege for the purpose of concealing government wrongdoing or avoiding embarrassment."
Easier pledged than done, apparently. Earlier this year, in a case involving a Stanford graduate student erroneously placed on a no-fly list, we learned that the government had cried "state secrets" to cover up a paperwork error. Holder himself assured the court that assertion of the privilege was in keeping with the new policy of openness. When the presiding judge found out the truth, he said: "I feel that I have been had by the government."

In fact, the Obama administration has driven state secrecy to new levels of absurdity. We're not even allowed to know who we're at war with, apparently, because letting that secret slip could cause "serious damage to national security."


Political Classifieds

☑️ SECRETS by Fred Ellis Brock, the third novel in The Seven trilogy, now available on Amazon, etc. A thriller out of today’s headlines: murder, treason, and UFO conspiracies. Published by Wyatt-MacKenzie.

☑️ On the American Exchange podcast, ex-pat Erich McElroy reaches across from London to try and find out what is happening to his home country. Past guests include Mary Trump, SE Cupp, Anthony Scaramucci and more.

Your Account

Latest for Members

About Political Wire

Taegan Goddard is the founder of Political Wire, one of the earliest and most influential political web sites. He also runs Political Job Hunt, Electoral Vote Map and the Political Dictionary.

Goddard spent more than a decade as managing director and chief operating officer of a prominent investment firm in New York City. Previously, he was a policy adviser to a U.S. Senator and Governor.

Goddard is also co-author of You Won - Now What? (Scribner, 1998), a political management book hailed by prominent journalists and politicians from both parties. In addition, Goddard's essays on politics and public policy have appeared in dozens of newspapers across the country.

Goddard earned degrees from Vassar College and Harvard University. He lives in New York with his wife and three sons.

Praise for Political Wire

“There are a lot of blogs and news sites claiming to understand politics, but only a few actually do. Political Wire is one of them.”

— Chuck Todd, host of “Meet the Press”

“Concise. Relevant. To the point. Political Wire is the first site I check when I’m looking for the latest political nugget. That pretty much says it all.”

— Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report

“Political Wire is one of only four or five sites that I check every day and sometimes several times a day, for the latest political news and developments.”

— Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report

“The big news, delicious tidbits, pearls of wisdom — nicely packaged, constantly updated… What political junkie could ask for more?”

— Larry Sabato, Center for Politics, University of Virginia

“Political Wire is a great, great site.”

— Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”

“Taegan Goddard has a knack for digging out political gems that too often get passed over by the mainstream press, and for delivering the latest electoral developments in a sharp, no frills style that makes his Political Wire an addictive blog habit you don’t want to kick.”

— Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post

“Political Wire is one of the absolute must-read sites in the blogosphere.”

— Glenn Reynolds, founder of Instapundit

“I rely on Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire for straight, fair political news, he gets right to the point. It’s an eagerly anticipated part of my news reading.”


What, and when, does Obama drink?

When President Barack Obama confessed his occasional urge to have a puff of a cigarette, inquiring minds wondered: Does Obama ever savor that smoke with a glass of cognac? A splash of port? Or even, perhaps, a good, old-fashioned ale?

To be sure, Obama is anything but a lush. But unlike his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, who refrained from cracking open a cold one in or out of the White House, Obama has enjoyed a tasty beverage or two since moving into the Executive Mansion.

But rather than sticking to one signature drink, Obama’s choices are varied: beer, wine, martinis, sparkling wine, margaritas.

On a date night with the first lady in New York at Blue Hill, a West Village eatery, Obama opted for a wine that accompanied the five-course tasting menu, while Michelle sipped on two martinis.

On a night out in May at the D.C. restaurant Citronelle, the first couple turned down the restaurant’s famous and seemingly endless list of fine wines and instead ordered matching martinis, straight up. “And they didn’t even finish them,” manager Jean-Jacques Retourne recalls. “They drank mineral water all night and then ordered coffee.”

At a Washington Wizards-Chicago Bulls basketball game in February, the president did what sports fans do: He drank a beer.

On the night he won the presidential election, Obama cracked open a bottle of Graham Beck Brut NV, a sparkling wine from South Africa. And just before he was sworn into office, Obama stopped by one of his favorite Chicago haunts, Topolobampo, and ordered wine pairings with the $90 “celebration” tasting menu. But, restaurant manager Kevin Casey says, Obama and the first lady have a history of ordering up a round of margaritas at the restaurant.

“They like to mix it up,” Casey says.

Therein lies the problem for Obama-watchers trying to follow his every trend. The president appears to have eclectic tastes, and so far, his drink of choice hasn’t emerged. Meanwhile, Obama is under scrutiny for drinking, just as he is for smoking.

After Obama was seen with beer in hand at the Wizards game, callers lit up the lines at WWL, a sports radio station in Louisiana, according to the station’s website.

“People are losing 5, 10, 20,000 dollars a day in the stock market, and he’s sitting there drinking a beer,” one caller said. “It’s insulting. There’s a lot of people suffering.”

Another caller complained, “The president is the president 24 hours a day. I don’t think he should drink on the job.”

Wine and beer were served at the recent luau for members of Congress and their families and on the Fourth of July, guests say, but the president himself — who is said to have a stocked wine cellar back home in Chicago — appears to be conscious about drinking alcohol at his new office/home.

At a Super Bowl party earlier this year, Obama tended to a plate of cookies while he chatted up guests and left it to others to down the beer. Attendees say they can’t remember Obama taking even a sip of a beverage.

And no cocktails for POTUS at the regular White House cocktail party.

“I don’t even remember him drinking a glass of water,” one attendee says.

White House aides say Obama indulged in a celebratory glass of wine at Blair House, across the street from the White House, just days before his Inauguration, but they can’t remember a similar moment since.

Drinking is not an uncommon thing for presidents, historians say. Franklin D. Roosevelt had a thing for martinis. Richard Nixon loved Château Margaux. Lyndon Johnson preferred scotch.

“Drinking was part of the Washington culture,” says Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “It was pretty common, and it didn’t raise any eyebrows.”

Zelizer says drinking became less accepted during President Jimmy Carter’s administration in the 1970s. “Carter brought a piety to the White House,” he says. “He emphasized his personal morality.”

Bush was the same way, Zelizer says, in that he explained his struggles with drinking and why he had given up alcohol years before.

Obama himself admitted to having “made some bad decisions” in his youth when it came to drinking.

Speaking to high school students in New Hampshire during the presidential campaign, Obama said he “got into drinking and experimenting with drugs. . There was a whole stretch of time where I didn’t apply myself.”

Now, as an adult, a sip now and then only humanizes him, says Robert Thompson, a professor of pop culture at Syracuse University. “It certainly plays in his favor,” Thompson says. “It gives people the sense that he’s a regular guy. He’s doing what one does at a basketball game. He’s having a beer. It adds to the notion that he’s kind of a cool guy, and it might be nice to have a drink with him.”


Obama’s ‘Scandal-Free Administration’ Is a Myth

COMMENTARY BY

Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow

You often hear that the Obama administration, whatever its other failings, has been “scandal-free.” Valerie Jarrett, the president’s closest adviser, has said he “prides himself on the fact that his administration hasn’t had a scandal and he hasn’t done something to embarrass himself.”

Even Trump adviser Peter Thiel seems to agree. When the New York Times’s Maureen Dowd observed during an interview that Mr. Obama’s administration was “without any ethical shadiness,” Mr. Thiel accepted the premise, saying: “But there’s a point where no corruption can be a bad thing. It can mean that things are too boring.”

In reality, Mr. Obama has presided over some of the worst scandals of any president in recent decades. Here’s a partial list:

State Department email. In an effort to evade federal open-records laws, Mr. Obama’s first secretary of state set up a private server, which she used exclusively to conduct official business, including communications with the president and the transmission of classified material. A federal criminal investigation produced no charges, but FBI Director James Comey reported that the secretary and her colleagues “were extremely careless” in handling national secrets.

Operation Fast and Furious. The Obama Justice Department lost track of thousands of guns it had allowed to pass into the hands of suspected smugglers, in the hope of tracing them to Mexican drug cartels. One of the guns was used in the fatal 2010 shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Congress held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt when he refused to turn over documents about the operation.

IRS abuses. Mr. Obama’s Internal Revenue Service did something Richard Nixon only dreamed of doing: It successfully targeted political opponents. The Justice Department then refused to enforce Congress’s contempt citation against the IRS’s Lois Lerner, who refused to answer questions about her agency’s misconduct.

Benghazi. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed in the attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya. With less than two months to go before the 2012 election, the State Department falsely claimed the attack was not a terrorist attack but a reaction to an anti-Muslim film. Emails from the secretary later showed that she knew the attack was terrorism. Justice Department prosecutors even convinced a magistrate judge to jail the filmmaker.

Hacking. Mr. Obama presided over the biggest data breach in the federal government’s history, at the Office of Personnel Management. The hack exposed the personnel files of millions of federal employees and may end up being used for everything from identity theft to blackmail and espionage. OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, the president’s former political director, had been warned repeatedly about security deficiencies but took no steps to fix them.

Veterans Affairs. At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at a Phoenix VA facility, many of whom had been on a secret waiting list—part of an effort to conceal that between 1,400 and 1,600 veterans were forced to wait months for appointments. A 2014 internal VA audit found “57,436 newly enrolled veterans facing a minimum 90-day wait for medical care 63,869 veterans who enrolled over the past decade requesting an appointment that never happened.” Even Mr. Obama admitted, in a November 2016 press conference, that “it was scandalous what happened”—though minutes earlier he boasted that “we will—knock on wood—leave this administration without significant scandal.”

All of these scandals were accompanied by a lack of transparency so severe that 47 of Mr. Obama’s 73 inspectors general signed an open letter in 2014 decrying the administration’s stonewalling of their investigations.

One reason for Mr. Obama’s penchant for secrecy is his habit of breaking rules—from not informing Congress of the dubious prisoner swap involving Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and the Taliban, to violating restrictions on cash transfers to Iran as part of a hostage-release deal.

The president’s journalistic allies are happily echoing the “scandal-free” myth. Time’s Joe Klein claims Mr. Obama has had “absolutely no hint of scandal” in his presidency. The media’s failure to cover the Obama administration critically has been a scandal in itself—but at least the president can’t be blamed for that one.


Broader than deep

There are other development and reform legacies that certainly deserve mention. Partnership for Growth tried to take a “constraints to growth” analysis, an approach long utilized by the MCC, and have inter-agency teams use it to remove key development obstacles in four countries. The approach seemed to make sense, but has quietly faded from sight in recent years.

The Obama team, like the Bush team, has tried to do the right thing on food aid reform, but has yet to fully unlock the puzzle of obstinate shippers, producers, and Agriculture Committee members who adamantly defend their turf. The administration has also made important strides on transparency and helped drive the Open Government Partnership to impressive levels of participation. The administration has also put a lot of effort into innovation, launching the Global Development Lab in 2014 — although its late birth will make it vulnerable to being thrown overboard by the next administration.

The overall flurry of reforms underscores one of the criticisms of the Obama development record: that it has been broader than deep.

“While Bush’s major development achievements continue to enjoy broad bipartisan support,” argued Jeremy Konyndyk of Mercy Corps before moving into the administration, “President Obama’s achievements remain more tenuous and could be reversed in the future.” Nancy Birdsall of the Center for Global Development said of the administration legacy, “I would give it an A-minus for vision, and a C-minus for implementation.” But certainly an inhospitable Congress played an important role in all this.


Arrogant Obama Claims Biden is “Finishing the Job” His Administration Started, Says Trump Also Benefited

The undeniable arrogance that former president Barack Obama still radiates today is unmatched.

Obama, who refused to publicly back Joe Biden’s run for president, is now claiming the Biden administration is finishing the job that he started.

Obama recently claimed this in an interview with the New York Times:

“What we’re seeing now, is Joe and the administration are essentially finishing the job,” claimed Obama.

Obama then referenced the fact that 90% of his own former staffers “are continuing and building on the policies we talked about.”

Obama also credited himself with the economic growth that occurred during president Donald Trump’s presidency.

This man’s ego knows no bounds…

President Barack Obama said in an interview published Tuesday his former Vice President Joe Biden was finishing the work he began to redistribute wealth through programs like Obamacare. https://t.co/CDt8Wi9RYi

&mdash Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) June 1, 2021

Here's more on the arrogance of Obama from our friends at Breitbart:

President Barack Obama said in an interview published Tuesday his former Vice President Joe Biden was finishing the work he began to redistribute wealth through programs like Obamacare.

“I think that what we’re seeing now, is Joe and the administration are essentially finishing the job,” he said in an interview with New York Times columnist Ezra Klein. “And I think it’ll be an interesting test. Ninety percent of the folks who were there in my administration, they are continuing and building on the policies we talked about…”

Obama expressed his frustration that former President Donald Trump’s administration interrupted his ability to get credit for the strength of the economy.

“That clouds what I think would have been a more impactful shift in political views towards Democrats as a result of my presidency,” he said.

Obama: "Joe and the administration are essentially finishing the job."

"90% of the folks who were there in my admin, they are continuing and building on the policies we talked about, whether it's the Affordable Care Act, or our climate change agenda." https://t.co/koPSkx5Uij

&mdash Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 1, 2021

Obama says Biden is 'finishing' the job of his administration | Washington Examiner https://t.co/0d7bFcWSEo

&mdash Follow Me on Parler @adeikel (@AndrewDeikel) June 1, 2021

Obama also stated that President Donald Trump benefited from the "economic stability and growth" initiated by the Obama administration.

Former President Barack Obama said President Joe Biden is "finishing the job" of his administration in an interview released on Tuesday.

Obama told the New York Times that his former vice president is finishing the goals laid out during his time in office, noting that 90% of his former staffers "are continuing and building on the policies we talked about, whether it’s the Affordable Care Act or our climate change agenda and the Paris [climate deal]."

“I think that what we’re seeing now is Joe and the administration are essentially finishing the job,” Obama added.

Obama also reflected on former President Donald Trump's 2016 victory, suggesting that the election win and rebound economy that sparked during Trump's four years in office may have marred what "would have been a more impactful shift in political views towards Democrats."

"The fact that Trump interrupts essentially the continuation of our policies but still benefits from the economic stability and growth that we had initiated means people aren’t sure," he said.

Barack Obama is an egomaniac.

A very clear attempt to credit himself. Obama always had a large ego. His condescension towards Biden, that he has shown since the primary, is distasteful at best. Obama was the one who thought Hillary was the best nominee. Yet, he still thinks he knows best https://t.co/5iKcyZ7wX8

&mdash Lauren Boebert's Gun (@prag_progress) June 2, 2021

This hits me wrong. It smacks of a man with a huge ego that is realizing he didn’t get the job done in his eight years. Shouldn’t have dismissed Biden while VP.


Obama: ‘This was a pretty shameful day for Washington’

President Obama lashed out Wednesday at gun-rights groups and senators who voted against a compromise background check amendment that was defeated in the Senate.

"All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington," Obama said in a news conference in the Rose Garden. "But this effort is not over."

Obama accused gun-rights groups of lying about legislation which, he noted, polls show 90 percent of Americans supported.

"Instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and their allies willfully lied about this bill," Obama said. "They claimed this bill would create a federal gun registry. . Unfortunately this pattern of untruths about this legislation served its purpose."

A visibly angry Obama also attacked the process by which the amendment was rejected, noting that a majority of senators voted for it. Obama called the fact that the amendments required 60 votes to pass a "distortion of Senate rules."

"A few minutes ago, a minority in the United States Senate said it wasn't worth it," Obama said. "They block common-sense gun reforms, even as these (Newtown) families watched from the gallery."

Obama noted that 90 percent of Senate Democrats voted for the bill, while 90 percent of Senate Republicans voted against it — pushing back on the idea that the lack of unity among Democrats killed the amendment.

But he also said those who voted against it — including Democrats — were simply looking out for their political careers rather than trying to do something to save Americans.

"There are no coherent arguments as to why we didn't do this it came down to politics," Obama said. "They caved to the pressure. And they started looking for an excuse — any excuse — to vote no."

Introducing Obama was Mark Barden, the father of one of the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary.

"We are not defeated, and we will not be defeated," Barden said. "Every day as more people are killed in this country because of gun violence, we will grow stronger.