May 1, 2011 – Pete Souza: “Much has been made of this photograph that shows the President and Vice President and the national security team monitoring in real time the mission against Osama bin Laden.
Some more background on the photograph: The White House Situation Room is actually comprised of several different conference rooms. The majority of the time, the President convenes meetings in the large conference room with assigned seats. But to monitor this mission, the group moved into the much smaller conference room. The President chose to sit next to Brigadier General Marshall B. “Brad” Webb, Assistant Commanding General of Joint Special Operations Command, who was point man for the communications taking place.
TPM: …. we have two simultaneous crises washing over Washington from the Middle East. First, the US-Israel blow up …. Next, riots which escalated into full-scale attacks on US embassies in Cairo and Benghazi….
…. In the midst of this, the Romney campaign put out this statement …
“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”
So Romney jumps to politicize a genuine crisis in which a Foreign Service Officer has been killed. And the attack itself is based on a falsehood …. The entire thing is based on a lie….
Steve Benen: …. The Romney campaign, which dismissed foreign policy as a “distraction” yesterday, now hopes to exploit the violence to advance Mitt Romney’s political ambitions.
…. I genuinely want to know what kind of person sees a foreign attack on Americans – an attack that has reportedly led to four U.S. deaths – and thinks it’s acceptable to lie about the violence to gain a few points in the polls. The campaign isn’t going Romney’s way right now, but is that an excuse to exploit the death of Americans with cheap rhetoric? In the face of violence abroad, this was Romney’s first instinct?
That it’s fundamentally dishonest hasn’t stopped Mitt Romney from repeating his central critique of Barack Obama’s foreign policy over and over – the idea that the president “went around the world and apologized for America.” So it shouldn’t be surprising that Romney’s response to the attacks on U.S. diplomatic installations in Egypt and Libya was rooted in the same caricature of Obama as apologizer-in-chief.
…. The foolishness of Romney’s reaction is glaring. Pretending that the statement from the U.S. embassy in Cairo was anything other than a completely understandable and reasonable attempt by its occupants to save their own lives borders on disgraceful. Romney’s implication that the statement was issued at the height of the attacks is also false; it was actually released earlier in the day, a preventive measure aimed at keeping the protests from turning violent.
Michael Tomasky: An American ambassador, Christopher Stevens, is dead, as are three other Libyan embassy staffers; public servants who answered the call for service to their country and the world in one of its most dangerous places, and who paid the ultimate price for it.
….. So what did Mitt Romney do? He politicized it of course. He issued a statement blasting the State Department for its statement condemning the film – a statement that was issued before the violence erupted. And he was cutesy about it. The statement was given to the press last night (i.e., still Sept. 11) around 10 pm, but the campaign asked the media to wait until 12:01 am to run with it, so that this partisan attack would technically happen on September 12.
I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.
I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.
Vice President Joe Biden visits the site where Flight 93 crashed, following a ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., Sept. 11, 2012. Pictured with the Vice President, from left, are: Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar; Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood; and Patrick White, President of the Families of Flight 93. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Today (all times ET):
12:30: VP Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event at Wright State University
1:15: President Obama departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews
1:30: Departs Joint Base Andrews en route Las Vegas, Nev
6:00: Arrives in Las Vegas
8:25: Delivers remarks at a campaign event at the Cashman Center
Yet another TOD post that has been reblogged by Jueseppi B, despite requests that he make his own effort to support PBO rather than copying others simply to drive up his reblog’s traffic. He doesn’t take kindly to being challenged, as another woman found out: explicit. Genuine bloggers are welcome to use anything they ever see at TOD. Thanks
Steve Benen: …. I watch a whole lot of Obama’s speeches, and I’d say he seemed a little more fired up than usual. (Pay particular attention to his tone of voice in the last 90 seconds.)
Las Vegas, August 22
Politico: President Obama said he’s beating Mitt Romney “by a few points” and said time is running out in the 2012 presidential election.
“I can’t resist a basketball analogy,” he told donors at a Lincoln Center fundraiser that featured NBA commissioner David Stern and current and former basketball stars including Michael Jordan. “We are in the fourth quarter. We’re up by a few points but the other side is coming strong and they, they, they play a little dirty. We’ve got a few folks on our team in foul trouble. We’ve got a couple of injuries and I believe that they’ve got one last run in them.”
“I’d say there’s about seven minutes to go in the game. And Michael’s competitiveness is legendary and nobody knows better than Michael that if you’ve got a little bit of a lead and there’s about seven minutes ago, that’s when you put them away.”
Politico: President Obama mocked Missouri Rep. Todd Akin here, telling a fundraising crowd packed with pro basketball stars that the embattled Senate candidate “somehow missed science class.”
“Recently some of you have been paying attention to the commentary about the senator from Missouri, Mr. Akin,” Obama said. “The interesting thing here is that this, this is an individual who sits on the House Committee on Science and Technology but somehow missed science class. And it’s representative of the desire to go backwards instead of forwards and fight fights that we thought were settled 20 or 30 years ago.”
Nicholas Watt (Guardian): If Barack Obama were dreaming up the ideal start to Mitt Romney’s first overseas visit as the presumptive Republican nominee, the president might wonder whether his rival could offend the US’s historic transatlantic ally.
That would obviously be rejected as impossibly ambitious, so the president might then ask himself whether Romney would fail to remember the name of one of his hosts in London.
Surely a successful businessman would never make such a basic error. So the president would wonder whether Romney would breach convention by saying in public that he met the head of MI6, Britain’s overseas intelligence agency.
To the undoubted joy of the White House, Romney stumbled on all those fronts in London on Thursday…
….. The comparisons with Romney’s trip to Europe and Obama’s visit at almost exactly the same stage in the electoral cycle four years ago are almost too embarrassing to mention. Obama wooed a quarter of a million people in Berlin while Romney was mocked by the British prime minister.
Daily Mail: Boris Johnson today issued an Olympics rallying cry in response to Mitt Romney’s dig over London’s appetite to host the 2012 Games.
The U.S. presidential hopeful, who is in the UK on a diplomatic visit, had doubted the British public’s passion for the Olympics in a television interview for U.S. network NBC.
Despite his backtracking today – saying that the Olympics would be ‘a wonderful 17 days’ – the man who could replace Barack Obama as the world’s most important leader found himself singled out as public enemy number one.
Speaking in front of 60,000 assembled in Hyde Park at a concert to mark the end of the Olympic Torch relay, the London Mayor tonight reaffirmed the city’s zeal for the event.
‘There are some people coming from around the world who don’t yet know if we are ready,’ the Mr Johnson roared. ‘There’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we are ready. Are we ready? Yes we are!’
The Guardian: Mitt Romney handed Barack Obama a priceless gift for the US presidential election campaign when the presumptive Republican nominee blundered on his first diplomatic outing by questioning whether London was capable of staging a successful Olympic Games.
In a move that astonished Downing Street, hours before it laid on a special reception for Romney at No 10 he told NBC there were “disconcerting” signs about the preparations for the Games.
One senior Whitehall source said: “What a total shocker. We are speechless.”
David Cameron wasted no time in rebuking Romney hours after his remarks were broadcast. On a visit to the Olympic Park, the prime minister said: “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”
Cameron’s remarks were intended to be a light-hearted jibe at Romney, who used his famous management skills honed at Bain Capital to rescue the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.
….. Earlier, Romney appeared to forget Ed Miliband’s name when they met at Westminster. “Like you, Mr Leader, I look forward to our conversations this morning,” Romney said to Miliband as they shook hands.
…. One meeting was held way from the cameras when Romney was briefed by Sir John Sawers, the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. This prompted Romney’s third blunder of the day when Romney announced in Downing Street that he had met Sawers. Visiting dignitaries tend not to announce when they meet the head of MI6.
Lucy Jones (UK Telegraph): Mitt Romney is a wazzock
Who does Mitt Romney think he is? The Republican presidential nominee, has questioned Britain’s preparedness to host the London 2012 Olympics and asked whether the country is genuinely willing to “celebrate” the Games. He’s meeting David Cameron today after telling US television there were “disconcerting” signs about Britain’s readiness. That should be an interesting rendezvous. This rude discourse comes just after Romney’s advisors told this paper: “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” whatever that means.
I couldn’t give a monkeys about the Olympics. It’s a pain in the butt as far as I’m concerned … But perhaps Mitt Romney’s diss will transform grimaces into patriotic support. Now I feel a glimmer of protectiveness and pride. Anyway, there’s one thing Romney could learn while he’s in Britain this week: some manners.
Telegraph: …. Not content with upsetting his British hosts, Mr Romney has now also managed to enrage the travelling American press corps, who pay tens of thousands of dollars to follow him around the globe. After his meeting with Ed Miliband, the Republican presidential challenger apparently took questions only from British reporters.
The gaffe-prone Mr Romney is so rarely made available to these media “embeds” on the trail that his campaign has been nicknamed the “Mittness Protection Programme”. So his decision to ignore them during one such “avail” went down predictably badly.
The NBC News First Read blog says: “Those of us that have travelled overseas and been involved in these VERY limited press avails have rarely seen heads of democracies TOTALLY ignore their own press corps but answer ANOTHER press corps’ questions”.
Vanity Fair: Mitt Romney’s disaster of a European vacation continues to implode. In an Olympic ceremony in Hyde Park this afternoon, London mayor Boris Johnson mocked Romney’s earlier gaffe—Disconcerting-gate—and Romney’s dumb name. “There’s guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready. Are we ready? Yes we are!” Did Johnson make air quotes with his hands when he said “Mitt Romney”?
What else? “Romney appeared to forget [Labour Party head] Ed Miliband’s name when they met at Westminster. ‘Like you, Mr Leader, I look forward to our conversations this morning’ Romney said to Miliband as they shook hands.”’
O.K., what else? “One meeting was held [away] from the cameras when Romney was briefed by Sir John Sawers, the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. This prompted Romney’s third blunder of the day when Romney announced in Downing Street that he had met Sawers. Visiting dignitaries tend not to announce when they meet the head of MI6.”
Anything else? People are using the hashtag #RomneyShambles to describe the events of the 24-hour trip.
Next up: Israel!
Meanwhile, back in the grown-ups’ world:
GOPolitico: Republicans trying to play down President Barack Obama’s decision to launch the raid that led to the death of Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden are not getting much help from the military brass who oversaw the operation.
During a rare public interview on Wednesday, Adm. Bill McRaven, head of the U.S. Special Operations command, portrayed as bold and brave Obama’s decision to order the raid despite significant doubts about whether bin Laden was at the Abbottabad, Pakistan compound.
“At the end of the day, make no mistake about it, it was the president of the United States that shouldered the burden of this operation, that made the hard decision,” McRaven said during an on-stage interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that served as the kickoff session of the Aspen Security Forum.
…. “The president of the United States is fantastic,” the admiral said. “I’m not a political guy. I’ve worked in both [administrations,] very much enjoyed working with President Bush and I very much enjoy working for President Obama. This isn’t about politics. This is about a Commander in Chief who I have the opportunity to engage with on a routine basis.”
…. “I’m not a political guy, but I’ll tell you as an interested observer of this, they were magnificent how they handled the start-to-finish,” McRaven said. “The president asked all the right questions…The president gave me ample time to prepare once the conversations were through.”
President Barack Obama signs the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans Executive Order in the Oval Office, July 26, 2012. Standing behind the President, from left, are: Patricia Coulter, CEO National Urban League of Philadelphia; Rep. Danny Davis, D- Ill.; Reverend Al Sharpton; Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President of University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; Benjamin Jealous, President of the NAACP; Ingrid Saunders- Jones, Chair of the National Council of Negro Women; Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa.; Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of DC Public Schools; and Michael Lomax, President of the United Negro College Fund. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)