Saturday, May 07, 2011

Obama Spikes the Ball in NYC

A new term enters the spin from the White House - "the fact pattern". The administration that promised to be the most transparent, evah, sure does enjoy re-labeling terms and re-inventing language. This latest exercise in the silly is a result of the utter bungling of the facts of Osama bin Laden's demise in Pakistan.

The White House converted a picture-perfect military operation into a public-relations disaster that will be cited as what not to do and how not to do it in flackery textbooks for a hundred years. Days after the raid on Osama bin Laden’s “mansion” they still can’t get the “fact pattern,” in the language of the White House, even close to straight.

What a rollercoaster ride: Osama bin Laden engaged the Seals in a firefight. Well, no, actually, it turns out he didn’t. But he did seize a woman, probably one of his wives, to use as a human shield. Uh, well, actually he didn’t do that, either. But he was armed, we know that for sure. Ummm, no, not really. OK, but we’re positive that woman was killed. Uh, not exactly. But we definitely, positively, absolutely know that Osama is dead. We have the photographs to prove it and the public can see them. Er, no, not quite. The president has them but you can’t see them. Everybody will just have to take his word for it.

They may as well have said, "we'll get back to you, fellow Americans, after we get
together and get our story straight". Changing the narrative each and every day on the who, what, when and where Osama bin Laden was killed is confusing and welcomes the conspiracy nuts to run with their own theories.

If President Obama had not been so eager to claim credit for this call to kill Osama bin Laden using the intelligence on the ground, the reporting would have gone much smoother. And, they would not look like a bunch of amateurs. Coming out as he did, with the heavy use of "I", "me" and "my" in the initial announcement of that Sunday night breaking news. Obama was rightly proud of being in command as Osama bit the big one, but it was just another example that humility is in short supply around this White House.

Instead of the feckless White House press secretary, Jay Carney, presenting daily corrections to the story from the previous day, why haven't they simply used the Defense Department as the story teller? It is their expertise, after all, and they can best field questions and advance the timeline.

To add flame to fire, President Obama reasoned that he didn't want to appear to spike the ball so he wasn't approving the release of photos of a dead bin Laden. Immediately came the reporting that one Internet domain name in particular was sending visitors directly to the Obama re-election campaign. Using the talking point that President Obama made a "gutsy call" in the mission to take down bin Laden, the website used that in the name. With stories of its gimmick circulating, it was shut down and now sends the curious into Internet never land.

It is now reported that the photos released of the National Security team watching the raid of bin Laden's compound in real time via video hook-up were staged after the fact for publicity purposes. I'm not kidding.

Andy Card, Chief of Staff for former President George W. Bush said the following of Obama spiking the ball:

I thought his statement was subdued, but I think his schedule is not subdued. Personally, I think it is premature to go to Ground Zero, in New York. I think my role model in this would be George H. W. Bush, when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. It was a day to celebrate, but we did not dance on the Wall.

That is what many of us thought was a bit too much - the victory lap in NYC and the interview granted to "60 Minutes" taped at the firehouse, home of many first responders who were killed that day. Much was made of the meeting, the story was that it was to be private and then we read the interview for national television is included there.

President George W. Bush was invited to go with Obama but he declined. He will join with the current president for the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 9/11/01 this year. That is what Obama should have waited for - the anniversary, not pursue a campaign boosting appearance.

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