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Tag Archives: John McCain

Carney Ripped Apart by McCain

Starting his gig as a CNN commentator, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Wednesday ran up against something he’s not used to – an aggressive challenge, free of the protocols of a White House briefing, in which a knowledgable adversary tolerates none of his spin.

Carney, who hasn’t figured out yet that he has to make real arguments now instead of offering up preprogrammed propaganda, found his sophistry violently debunked by Sen. John McCain. McCain, who was the chief proponent the the Iraq surge strategy that pacified the country, was having none of Carney’s nonsensical Obama White House storyline about how U.S. force levels in the country didn’t matter.

Carney and McCain go way back, from Carney’s many years as a Washington reporter for Time magazine. McCain was one of Carney’s fiercest critics when the mainstream reporter he had known morphed into an unapologetic Obama apologist.

Have a look. It’s pretty compelling.

WH Defends Witless Ambassador Pick

The White House is standing by George Tsunis, President Obama’s pick for ambassador to Norway, despite a side-splitting confirmation hearing performance in which he averred that Norway has a president, which it doesn’t, and that the Norwegian government had condemned a Party with which it has formed a coalition.

“I can tell you that this president has confidence in all of the nominees he’s put forward for ambassadorial positions as well as other positions in the administration, in the government,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney today.

But maybe we’re being unfair here. After all, Tsunis’ chief qualification for the Norway posting appears to be his fundraising prowess, not his his scholarship of Scandinavia.

During the 2012 election cycle, he and his wife raised $988,550 for Obama, gave $300,000 to Democratic super PACs and $75,800 to the Obama Victory Fund, according to Yahoo News.

Watch this hilarious exchange between Mr. Tsunis and Sen. John McCain at a hearing on some nominees.

It begins with a rambling, contentless comment by Colleen Bradley Bell, an “American television producer, philanthropist and advocate for the environment, arts and social causes,” according to Wikipedia. Bell, who is Obama’s nominee to be ambassador to Hungary, sounds like she’s responding to a question in the finals of the Miss World contest, prompting a dryly sardonic, “great answer,” from McCain.

Following the response from Tsunis, who describes McCain’s rather routine query as “a very seminal question,” McCain deadpans, “I have no more questions for this incredibly highly qualified group of nominees.”

GOP Senators “More Troubled” After Rice Meeting

Three Republican senators who have led those concerned with the possible nomination of UN Ambassador Susan Rice to be Secretary of State say they are even more troubled after meeting with her today, according to the Associated Press.

Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire met privately with Rice and acting CIA Director Michael Morell for more than an hour to discuss how she managed to go on TV in the days after the attack to tell the world the Benghazi attack was due to a video, when emerging evidence was already showing that the attacks were pre-planned terrorism.

From the report:

“We are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got and some that we didn’t get concerning evidence that was leading up to the attack on the consulate and the tragic death of four brave Americans and whether Ambassador Rice was prepared, or informed sufficiently, to give the American people the correct depiction of the events that took place,’’ McCain told reporters.

Said Graham: ‘‘Bottom line I’m more disturbed now than I was before that 16 September explanation.’’

‘‘I’m more troubled today,’’ said Ayotte, who argued that it was clear in the days after the attack that it was terrorism and not a spontaneous demonstration prompted by an anti-Muslim video.

Here’s some video of McCain as he briefed reporters on the meeting:

McCain and Graham had appeared to be backing away from their opposition to Rice in recent days after being pursued by a pack of lawmakers armed with smears that their opposition to her was racist and sexist.

Another Republican, Sen. Bob Corker or Texas, described Rice as better suited to a political than a diplomatic post:

‘‘When I hear Susan talk she seems to me like she’d be a great chairman of the Democratic National Committee,’’ Corker said. ‘‘There is nobody who is more staff supportive of what the administration does. That concerns me in a secretary of state.’’

Rice and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) are the leading candidates to replace departing Secretary of State Clinton.

The New Politics of Discrimination

There’s a new racket in town, and President Obama is running it.

After Sen. John McCain said on the morning of November 14 that UN Ambassador Susan Rice was not qualified to be Secretary of State because of her erroneous assertions that the Benghazi consulate attack was prompted by an anti-Muslim video, the discrimination police descended, unleashed by Obama himself.

The tactic was effective. Sunday, McCain backed down.

Spurred perhaps by the success of his presidential campaign’s efforts to smear Gov. Mitt Romney, Obama had launched a counteroffensive against McCain and other critics of Rice, suggesting the boys were picking on her because she’s a girl:

But when they go after the U.N. Ambassador, apparently because they think she’s an easy target, then they’ve got a problem with me.  And should I choose, if I think that she would be the best person to serve America in the capacity of the State Department, then I will nominate her.

The comments, made during a press conference the afternoon of November 14, were paternalistic and patronizing. He would not have offerred such a defense for a male adviser.

Obama’s allies in the smear racket took the hint.

Two days later, a dozen female House members, most of them African American, charged McCain had revived the Republican war on women and that he’d added blacks to the list too.

Obama November 14, 2012 press conference
Obama at his November 14 press conference.
Photo by Keith Koffler

“There is a clear sexism and racism that goes with these comments being made by unfortunately Sen. McCain and others,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge, the incoming chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Last Tuesday, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), an African American who is the third ranking Democrat in the House, chimed in with the analysis that Republican usage of the word “incompetent” to describe Rice was a resort to racial “code words.”

By Sunday, McCain was off Rice’s case, saying she deserved a chance “to explain herself” and adding that “she’s not the problem.” Bowing to Obama’s original demand, McCain said Obama was “the problem.”

If McCain was indeed chased away from his position by a race baiting posse, it’s a sad new day in American politics.

Obama, who once sought the mantle of post-racial president, sowed the ground for this new politics by running a campaign laden with slurs against his opponent, including one by Vice President Biden, who said Romney wanted to put blacks “back in chains.”

Now that Obama put the campaign on the lowest road he could find, he appears set to place the government there too.

The Way Off the Fiscal Cliff Starts to Become Clearer

I don’t think the government is going over the fiscal cliff. That is, I believe Republicans and President Obama will reach a deal on tax increases and spending cuts that will avert cuts that everyone agrees will harm the economy and undermine national security.

The signal comes in this paragraph in a Washington Post article running today. It notes that in Wednesday’s press conference, Obama said he was sticking with his insistence that the Bush tax rates for the wealthy go up. But what he craftily omitted is by how much they have to go up.

But in a break with the position he took on the campaign trail, Obama said he would not insist on drawing “red lines” around 39.6 percent, the rate in effect for top earners during the Clinton administration. Democrats familiar with White House thinking said Obama is willing to set the top rate somewhat lower — around 37 percent or 38 percent — as long as the overall burden grows for families earning more than $250,000 a year.

That will have to be the locus of a deal. Obama was right about one thing in his press conference – every voter knew what his position was on taxes. In a campaign mostly bereft of ideas, the one Obama was clear about was that he wanted to raise income tax rates on the rich. He cannot possibly back off this demand.

Republicans can claim a victory if they keep him from restoring the old Clinton-era rate.

I’ve seen many of these cliff hangers in my years covering Washington. They always include lots of posturing, grievous handwringing about “How can we possibly let this happen?” and then at the last very moment, a deal.

What’s more, the holidays are coming. Everyone is tired, and everybody wants their holiday. I mean it, these things really matter for lawmakers, and everyone else in Washington. John McCain lamented to me a couple of years ago that protracted budget negotiations had “ruined Christmas.”

I felt the same way, having to cover the damn thing, and I’m Jewish.

McCain: Carney a “Very Deep Disappointment”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) Thursday said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was a “very deep disappointment” to him, saying his habit of attacking opponents like McCain has caused Carney to disgrace himself. McCain said Carney ought to “grow a beard” so he wouldn’t be able to see himself in the mirror. They attacked meContinue Reading

Obama Has it About Right on Syria

What is happening in Syria is an awful thing to behold. And we can act to end it. And we shouldn’t. By refusing to commit U.S. airpower to helping the Syrian rebels, President Obama is making judicious use of the most important resource the world has – the U.S. military. We can’t fight every battle.Continue Reading