When the President of the United States makes speeches, even speeches overseas, and he exaggerates to make his point, where does the exaggeration end and the lie begin? Unfortunately, within our own country, the fawning press usually is too much in agreement with President Obama's oral embellishments to bother to make the distinction.
For example, as he played celebrity president during his first trip to Europe and Turkey as President, when some of his enthusiastic fans described him as a rock star and the most popular of the leaders at the G20, Obama deferred to the president of Brazil. He uncharacteristically humbled himself and stated that, in fact, the Brazilian president is the biggest star on the world stage. This was a curious gesture, too, given the fact that President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is on the downward slide in his approval ratings. In his own country, industrial production is down, unemployment is up and recent polls show a distinct drop in approval.
Plus, President da Silva (known as Lula) openly blamed the world's economic crisis on "white people with blue eyes". Quite a racist comment yet was there any criticism from the Obama administration? No. Obama bestows top celebrity status upon him while both were at the G20.
President Obama, while speaking to Turkish students, falsely stated that President Bush did not believe in the validity of climate change. This lie was uttered to prop up his own theories on the issue. In fact, as early as 2001, Bush produced guidelines for greenhouse gas reduction and put forth measures in his very first State of the Union address to combat growing concerns. Every year after that, the issue was addressed. President Obama didn't just exaggerate to make his own point, he lied.
President Obama called the Iraq war a "distraction" while abroad. With 130, 000 troops still on the ground and a history of denying the success of the mission, he made a quick stop there on his way back to Washington. He previously said the surge would not succeed and he, along with now Secretary of State Clinton, said General Petraeus was not capable of making the surge a success. While in Iraq, Obama was very careful not to say the war has been won, the victory due to the very military he diminishes at every turn.
Not only did President Bush and General Petraeus, along with our magnificent military, bring a growing democracy into the Middle East, all signs point to continued progress. What did Obama receive in return for his backhand praise to our troops? When he was trying to get agreements from other countries to take prisoners that will be released from Gitmo, only France came forward and then they only agreed to take one prisoner. One.
John Dickerson, in Slate, is one who is beginning to put the exaggerations together. Obama stated to the Turkish students, "Some of my reporter friends from the States were asking, 'How come you didn't solve everything on this trip?" According to Dickerson, that was never asked of him by anyone. It was a lie. This was to deflect those who realize Obama failed to produce anything but making a good appearance on this trip overseas.
On the video sent to Iran, Obama said in his last press conference last month, according to Dickerson, "We did a video, sending a message to the Iranian people and the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran. And some people said, 'Well, they did not immediately say that we're eliminating nuclear weapons and stop funding terrorism.' " Dickerson points out no one said that. It was a lie to encourage patience with his foreign policy tactics.
Dickerson notes "It is in domestic political battles with Republicans, however, that the president's exaggerations may be sharpest. They are intended to make his opponents look foolish. "Some of what's been said in Congress is that there seems to be a set of folks who just believe that we should do nothing," he said of Republicans during the debate over the stimulus bill. Almost no one was suggesting that nothing be done. Writing in the Washington Post, he offered another cartoonish view, saying that his opponents believe "that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive."
What we come away with, from the Obama trek to the G20, NATO Summit, and Turkey before the stop in Iraq, is that President Obama does not intend to get beyond candidate Obama mode. He intends to continue on and hopes to win re-election for a second term. This is the result of his inexperience as a leader and certainly as an executive. He promised to be the post partisan president. He promised to be the post racial president. Both claims were exaggerations. Now they are just lies.