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White House Botches Schwarzkopf Statement

by Keith Koffler on December 28, 2012, 10:14 am

The White House Thursday botched a written statement honoring the 1991 Gulf War hero General Norman Schwarzkopf, having to upgrade it from a “statement by the press secretary” to one by the president.

Schwarzkopf died Thursday in Tampa at the age of 78.

While the nation and the Schwarzkopf family were surely gratified to have Jay Carney honor General Schwarzkopf on their behalf, someone in the White House with a decent sense of history – or just a decent sense of propriety – must have belatedly realized that the man who cleared Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait and gave the United States victory in war deserved a mention by the president.

Here’s how the initial statement looked, sent by the White House at 9:45 pm ET Thursday night:

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Passing of General Norman Schwarzkopf

With the passing of General Norman Schwarzkopf, we’ve lost an American original. From his decorated service in Vietnam to the historic liberation of Kuwait and his leadership of United States Central Command, General Schwarzkopf stood tall for the country and Army he loved. Our prayers are with the Schwarzkopf family, who tonight can know that his legacy will endure in a nation that is more secure because of his patriotic service.

An hour later, a “corrected” version of the statement was dispatched, identical to the first except for this:

Statement from the President on the Passing of General Norman Schwarzkopf

The issuance of statements out of the White House is normally done carefully but is not rocket science: the important stuff is attributed to the president, the minor stuff to the press secretary. Staff probably writes most of the statements, and it’s unlikely that the president even sees all of the messages crafted for him.

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Shofar December 28, 2012 at 10:44 am

The reason Obama probably wasn’t included in the first statement was because Schwarzkopf was Bush 41′s general, and Gulf War I was fought, won and we left, thereby leaving nothing to blame on GHWB.

Plus, Obama probably never knew Schwarzkopf, and therefore could not use me, I, myself or some other personal pronoun during the statement. This WH’s lack of recognition as to propriety, or decorum continues to show in everything they do.

Rest well noble warrior, you have the thanks of a grateful nation, well, most of us.

Julie Brueckheimer December 28, 2012 at 10:49 am

If Obama attends his memorial–and I hope he doesn’t–you can be certain that he will find some way to work in I, me, myself 63 times in 100 seconds. That’s one thing he is a pro at.

RickW December 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm

If he did attend, we’d see the other attendees (mostly military, I would assume) treat him with cold, polite respect, for his position as POTUS. Now if GW came in place of his father, a standing ovation would likely follow.

Heh heh I hope they both come………

cincycinco December 29, 2012 at 8:36 am

“Plus, Obama probably never knew Schwarzkopf, and therefore could not use me, I, myself or some other personal pronoun during the statement. ” – Shofar

Never stopped him in the past. Remember when he added himself to EVERY previous President’s biography?

‘Cooper found a note appended to the official biography of Ronald Reagan, which says:
“In a June 28, 1985 speech Reagan called for a fairer tax code, one where a multi-millionaire did not have a lower tax rate than his secretary. Today, President Obama is calling for the same with the Buffett Rule.”
Put aside the fact that what Reagan was proposing in 1985 had nothing to do with the Buffett Rule. Obama should not vandalize his predecessors’ biographies to promote his own agenda,” Klein wrote.’

Or that his “tribute” to Neil Armstrong was a picture of himself looking at the moon?

You needn’t worry about Obama knowing someone to steal their limelight. It’s kind of what he does, who he is, and how he became President. It was probably just that Prezzy got a little lazy and let a chance for self-promotion get by. After all, he’s came back just to bask in the spectacle of Mitch McConnel and John Boehner paying tribute to his greatness, maybe the General’s funeral was just too small potatoes.

Or maybe he found the translation of the General’s last name to be “offensive” to him. God knows he and wifey have turned getting offended into richly paying careers, to the sorrow of us all…

ecosse December 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm

i think you nailed it.

Shaky Jake December 31, 2012 at 5:20 pm

An “American Original”? That’s how Obama & Co open the statement? George and Barbara called him “A true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of this generation”. What a pathetic WH!

srdem65 December 28, 2012 at 10:49 am

GenSchwarzkopf was right and PresBush,Sr. was wrong; we should have moved our troops into Iraq and squished Saddam Hussein like a bug. Our equipment was there, our troops were ready and Saddam was beaten.
Who knows, we might have prevented or even delayed 9/11, or we might have stabilized the MiddleEast for decades with our presence there.

The videos of our guided missiles entering aIraqi building through a window were awesome to behold. The Highway of Death, the preening Princes of the Saudi and Kuwait royal houses, the burning oil fields, the captured shoeless Iraqi “soldiers” are all images that are burned into history.
RIP, General.

Shofar December 28, 2012 at 11:10 am

Patton allegedly said the same thing to FDR and Eisenhower regarding the Soviet Union at the end of WWII. He too was ignored, and it cost billions to fight a cold war for two plus generations.

Great military minds come not from ivory towers or colonnade surrounded buildings, but from men and women that have lived on the front lines and are not politicians.

Langley Spook December 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm


Scottso December 28, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Truman knew there was no way Americans or anyone else would have stood for an attempted war with the Soviets. He was right.

perchprism December 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Very nicely stated—and, correct. Supposedly we lacked UN ‘permission’ to follow up into Iraq proper. How unfortunate we didn’t follow historical precedent and logic.

RickW December 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm

One of the best memories I have of Storming Norman was him being berated by the press for “lying to them” about an invasion from the sea by the Marines. His smirk was priceless.

Lizzy December 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Back before Colin Powell went rogue who can forget the man standing
at the map and saying ‘first we’re going to cut it off then we’re going to
kill it’. We could have gotten rid of Sadam then because I doubt we will
ever see a coalition like that again.

Ticked Off 2 December 29, 2012 at 1:12 am

It was not President GHW Bush who was against moving in and squishing Saddam. That wrong headed idea was from none other than Colin Powell.

Smoke Fire December 28, 2012 at 11:04 am

I’ll bet they did not mess up the Kwanza message, but a message about one of the last “honorable” Generals was FUBARed by the administration. Well what do you expect from these morons.

Susan December 28, 2012 at 11:25 am

General Schwarzkopf served this great nation honorably and selflessly. He never sought out the political limelight, so chances are the malignant narcissist currently residing in the WH doesn’t even know who he is. RIP “the Bear”.

Martha Trowbridge December 28, 2012 at 11:25 am

Consider this: Obama didn’t want to issue a tribute to Schwarzkopf. The ‘correction’ came begrudgingly, under pressure.

NavyOne December 28, 2012 at 11:49 am

A great man, great American. Rip, Sir. . .

MarjoJimbo December 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I don’t attribute the mix up to malice; it’s incompetence.

Martha Trowbridge December 28, 2012 at 12:09 pm

It was no mix up. Ask Obama.

imtorqued December 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I agree. He never misses a chance to insult someone. Especially if they are white military.

Girly1 December 28, 2012 at 12:11 pm

You nailed it, Shofar! If Obama can’t insert himself, it’s of no interest to him. However, Carney should be fired over this act of disrespect. Unless, of course, the order came from the Barry the Beachcomber.

The next time Obama visits a bookstore for a photo-op, he should purchase a copy of General Schwarzkoph’s autobiography YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A HERO. Obama is not worthy of shining this man’s boots.
“You don’t have to be a hero to order people to go into battle and risk their lives,” he says. “But you have to be a hero to go into the battle. The generals aren’t the heroes. The troops are.”

Rest in Peace, General.

AFVet December 28, 2012 at 3:19 pm

He had a reputation of leveling the politicians that were determined to dictate their policy to him, but he always held the troops in the highest regard.
Well Done General Schwarzkoph.

Lizzy December 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Freudian slip for sure. Probably had to look up who Stormin Norman was
and then further explain what he did for our country. Idiots the whole lot of
them! Remember the coalition of the willing spilling out onto the desert including the French Foreign Legion? Would be slim pickings if we tried that
again but not a chance Barry would even think to do something like the gulf

Langley Spook December 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm

The Legion even made Gen. Schwarzkopf an honorary member.

Lizzy December 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm

We also had the Desert Rats from the Brits. I’d like to think that Norman
is playing war games with the greats Patton, Montgomery, Hanibal and
Alexander the Great so many new guys to discuss battle plans with.

Langley Spook December 28, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Obama regime = C-L-A-S-S-L-E-S-S.

Star December 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm

A warrior who lived in hellholes and made tough calls and an esthete who flaps his hands jogging down plane stairs–quite a contrast.

Langley Spook December 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I have been asking that for 4 years; what is the deal with Obama bouncing down the stairs of AF1? (very un-”presidential”…I know, like everything else Obama does)

QueenOfScott December 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm

It’s is Poodle Dance…we laugh at him! Such a girly-man/boy.

Girly1 December 29, 2012 at 1:59 am

Same here, Langley. And I have also been waiting 4 years for him to have a ”mis-step’, if you know what I mean….

Maurice December 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Absolutely, without regard, NOT a CIC and a useless potus! What a hack!

QueenOfScott December 28, 2012 at 3:16 pm

OT – Geez Fracking Louise: the country’s broke and azzwipe gives out raises…

Freaking Fantastic to all us tax-paying losers: STFU and get back to work to pay the royalty in DC.

We should all refused to pay any more taxes to the government. They toss this around like it’s nothing. And BTW: STFU and get back to work, losers!

Langley Spook December 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Odds the “media” will NOT report about those “raises”?

FLDemFem December 28, 2012 at 4:20 pm

He can’t do that. Only Congress has the power to spend money. Unless the money was already appropriated by Congress for that purpose, using it that way is an impeachable offense. Can someone tell Congress? I don’t think Obama knows or cares that it’s illegal.

Julie Brueckheimer December 28, 2012 at 6:51 pm

By executive order, and as I read it, he gave it to all the higher ranking bureaucrats: Biden, Congress, and various members of various courts.

Langley Spook December 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Already wrote some ‘testy’ emails about their “pay raise” to my idiot Sens. and useless Rep.

LTC F December 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I’m guessing it was because our beloved Commander in Chief couldn’t find a suitable photo of himself to include in a fitting tribute.

Susan December 28, 2012 at 4:58 pm

He certainly has a history of hogging all the attention with any eulogy or memorial. Like when he celebrated the Rosa Parks anniversary with a photo of himself sitting on an old fashioned bus.

Nothing could be more egregious than when he memorialized Neil Armstrong – the first man to step foot on the moon – with a photo of himself looking at the moon.

RickW December 28, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Its Spring 2017. Obama has left office (Lets hope he really does!) Whatever movie studio won the rights to “Obama’s Story” is trying to decide who plays the lead. Obama walks into the conference room. Doves surround him, sunlight blinding the occupants……..I’ll leave the rest to my fellow bloggers…………….

Julie Brueckheimer December 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Just read that Obama is ‘modestly optimistic’ about avoiding the cliff. When was he ever modest about anything?

Kimbly December 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm
Kimbly December 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm

And also note that this newspaper got the word to attribute the White House statement to Obama. Another “nothing to see here” moment to add to the list.

Darkangel December 28, 2012 at 7:55 pm

If any further evidence were needed to confirm Mr. Obama’s dislike of all things military, it’s this.

General Schwarzkopf was a recipient of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, which the highest joint service medal you can get. The next higher award would be the Distinguished Service Cross (Army) or the Navy or Air Force Cross, depending on the command. After that, the next higher award is the Medal of Honor.

And that wasn’t the only Distinguished Service Medal General Schwarzkopf earned: he earned DSM’s from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, as well. The man’s got more decorations than the Vatican, and he doesn’t merit a mention from the CinC?

A few others who’ve gotten Presidential statements on their passing: Carlos Hernandez Gomez (a Chicago journalist); Walter Cronkite; Daniel Inouye; Eunice Kennedy Shriver; Steve Jobs; Lena Horne; Neil Armstrong; Sally Ride; Warren Rudman; Arthur Sulzberger (NYT publisher); Arlen Specter; Andy Griffith; Donald Payne; King George Tupou V of Tonga; John Payton of the NAACP; Donna Summer; Geraldine Ferraro; Pope Shenouda III (Coptic); Frank Buckles (WWI vet); Jaime Escalante; Wangari Maathai (environmental/political activist from Kenya); Maggie Daley (former First Lady of Chicago); Dick Clark; Warren Christopher; Native American activist Elouise Cobell; Ted Sorensen (JFK’s speechwriter); Sargent Shriver; Lawrence Eagleburger; Medal of Honor recipient John William Finn; David Broder (WaPo reporter); Fred Shuttlesworth; Jack Kemp; Ray Bradbury; and there’s probably more, but you get the idea.

Look at how many journalists, politicians, and entertainers are on that list, and how few military personnel there are. That Dick Clark and Donna Summer merited presidential mention, but a highly decorated military hero needed a public backlash to get one, is quite telling.

And it would not surprise me if it turned out that Frank Buckles’ age was a factor in the announcement, or that John William Finn got a presidential mention automatically for being a Medal of Honor recipient. I would put nothing past Obama at this point.

Girly1 December 28, 2012 at 9:38 pm

It’s very telling that General Schwarzkoph didn’t warrant the generic personal touch: “Michelle and I wish to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of …..” Now that the campaign is over, the America-hating wife has no use for military families. They were just a campaign write-off. She was a no-show at Walter Reed last week – too busy packing for Hawaii. Most likely, they will both be in Hawaii when the General’s funeral takes place – a blessing for the General’s family.

Langley Spook December 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Well said.

SnarkEsq. December 28, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Girly, I said the same exact thing to my husband when I read the statement earlier today. I noticed immediately that it didn’t have the usual ” “Michelle and I wish to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of …..”. But, we can tell what Obummer and the WH think of Schwarzkopf by the fact that the initial statement was from Carney and not Obummer.

Noma December 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm

I expect nothing much from bho so, consequently, I am not disappointed when he acts like this. BTW, his condolences to the families of Benghazi victims was equally disgusting. Come to think of it, I recall his rude dismissal of a family member at a 911 memorial a couple of years back.

slconfidential December 28, 2012 at 10:38 pm

The only thing he is interested in is in himself. Could care less about this country or it’s people.

regina December 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm

bama Orders Pay Raise for Biden, Members of Congress, Federal Workers

12:50 PM, Dec 28, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER

Single PagePrintLarger TextSmaller TextAlerts

President Barack Obama issued an executive order to end the pay freeze on federal employees, in effect giving some federal workers a raise. One federal worker now to receive a pay increase is Vice President Joe Biden.

According to disclosure forms, Biden made a cool $225,521 last year. After the pay increase, he’ll now make $231,900 per year.

Members of Congress, from the House and Senate, also will receive a little bump, as their annual salary will go from $174,000 to 174,900. Leadership in Congress, including the speaker of the House, will likewise get an increase.

Here’s the list of new wages, as attached to President Obama’s executive order:

“A new executive order has been issued providing for a new pay schedule beginning ‘on the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning after March 27, 2013,’” reports “The pay raise will generally be about 1/2 of 1%.”

Jeryl Bier points to an example of the pay increase for average government executives:

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“Not much of an increase, but an increase all the same,” Bier notes.

And the timing isn’t great either: Just as President Obama and Congress try to avert going over the “fiscal cliff,” he doles out pay increases to federal workers.

UPDATE: According to a senior Republican congressional aide who has reviewed the executive order and consulted with the Congressional Budget Office, Obama’s pay raise will cost $11 billion. “The CBO told us that the President’s pay raise for federal workers will cost $11 billion over ten years,” says the aide.

The aide explains, “On the cost-estimate, CBO says the (discretionary) cost of the .5% pay-hike the President is calling for in the Exec Order – relative to a freeze – is about $500m in FY 2013 and $11 billion over the ten years from FY 13 – FY 22. The reason why the FY ’13 savings is only $500 million is because the pay hike as proposed by the President’s Exec Order would not go into effect until April 1st, 2013 – when the current CR expires. So it only covers half the fiscal year. The annualized cost of the pay hike is about $1 billion/year.”

More Daniel Halper »

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Josh Rothman December 31, 2012 at 1:07 am

Whaddya expect? Dear Leader just phoned it in. Leading from behind, as usual.

Shaky Jake December 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm

AN “American Original”? That’s how Obama & Co open the statement? George and Barbara called him “A true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of this generation”. Pathetic!

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