Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Captain Ed on Obama's FOX News Sunday appearance

This morning Captain Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air broke down Obama's appearance on FOX News Sunday (Transcript here care of RealClearPolitics). Needless to say, after reading the transcript, and reading Captain Ed's assessment, it seemed to be a fairly friendly exchange between Obama and Chris Wallace. (BTW, the Left is having a hissy fit over his appearance on FOX; a fact that Charles Johnson, and our fellow Lizardoids are having fun with at LGF. It seems they just can't handle their messiah going on ((GASP)) FOX News for a fair interview.)

From Captain Ed:

Give Barack Obama this: he performed a lot better on Fox News Sunday today than he did in the debate on April 16th. He stammered less when challenged, allowed his considerable personal warmth to surface, and kept his annoyance and anger in check. On the other hand, he offered about the same level of commitment to his answers as he did in Philadelphia, and gave at least a couple of whoppers.

One of the more interesting answers came in regards to Jeremiah Wright. He called Wright a “legitimate” campaign issue, which will seem rather shocking to the New York Times, the McCain campaign, and others who have demanded an end to the North Carolina GOP’s television ad. Obama complained that people took Wright out of context, but said Americans were honestly offended by Wright’s remarks, and that his relationship with Wright can inform voters of his values — but that voters should take into consideration the totality of Trinity United and Wright on those issues, and not just sound bites.

(Hugh Hewitt provides the context Jeremiah Wright claims he wasn't given.)

Obama sounded a lot less convincing when it came to responding to the William Ayers controversy. He called Ayers “tangential” to his life and suggested that Chris Wallace probably serves on boards with people whose politics he otherwise detests. Unfortunately for Obama, Wallace doesn’t devote a web page on his site defending those people as “mainstream”, as Obama does for Ayers and Dohrn. The pair still talk about overthrowing capitalism and parts of the government they find objectionable, and approvingly quote Mao lieutenant Chou En-lai while railing against the “unimaginable authoritarianism” of the American government. His answer, intending on freeing himself of the charge of equating Coburn and Ayers/Dohrn, instead made it clear that he sees both as political activists, morally equivalent at least in the present.

(For those unaware of what "tangential" means -- of, relating to, or of the nature of a tangent; incidental, periphery.)

His final gaffe — and one that may make a few Republican commercials — came when Wallace challenged Obama to come up with real examples of bipartisanship and compromise on tough issues. He claimed he would have supported the partial-birth abortion ban if Congress had included an exception to protect the mother’s health, which would have been used as a dodge around the ban in every instance. Other than a single vote on tort reform, he could come up with no example of a time when he bucked Democratic leadership.

The most hilarious point came when Obama tried to claim credit for bipartisanship on the John Roberts confirmation vote — not because he supported Roberts. He voted against Roberts. However, Obama wanted credit for defending the few Democrats who did support Roberts on Daily Kos, and taking the venom of Kos’ readership for his defense. That’s bipartisanship — standing up to the Kos Kiddies? If that amounts to an act of courage for Obama, it tells you how bipartisan he will be prepared to be as President.

It wasn’t a disaster, but it still reveals Obama to be out of touch and hard to the Left. Don’t expect this to help in Indiana.

I'd like to bring up a couple of quotes directly from the transcript that we have some problems with. The first one comes in regard to Jeremiah Wright:

And that is unfortunate, because as I’ve said before, I have strongly denounced those comments that were the subject of so much attention. I wasn’t in church when he made them. But I also know that I go to church not to worship the pastor, to worship God. And that ministry, the church family that’s been built there, does outstanding work, has been I think applauded for its outreach to the poor.

Now, let me cite something that I had a hand in creating. As readers know, Marcie and I have a regular column at Common Conservative. In our most recent piece dealing with the deceit and lies of the Democrats in this election, Marcie covered Obama's lies regarding Jeremiah Wright. From our piece:

"In March the sermons of Reverend Jeremiah Wright came to light. Reverend Wright was pastor of the church Senator Obama attended for twenty years. The sermons were played by press outlets and across talk radio, and were heavily laden with anti-American, racist rhetoric. It appalled voters, and those offended demanded to know if Senator Obama had heard any of the controversial sermons. On March 14th, Senator Obama released a statement that "The statements Reverend Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity [United Church of Christ]." Hugh Hewitt, noted talk show host, discovered that in his book Dreams From my Father he admits to hearing at least one of those sermons; it was titled "The Audacity of Hope." On March 18th, Senator Obama gave a speech to the nation called "A More Perfect Union." The speech was to be on race relations in the US, and it failed to resonate with voters. Additionally, in that speech he admitted he lied to the nation. "Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes." So in just over fifty hours, or so, the story went from "I did not hear them" to "I did hear them." A direct lie, and all done to distance himself from a controversy that, to this day, still hangs over his head."

So why did he flip-flop on this? He admitted he had heard the sermons in his book, and in his speech. Now he's saying he never heard them. Adding more to this line of thought, we flashback to The New York Times on 6 March 2007 where a quote from a Rolling Stone interview is cited showing us that Barack Obama did, in fact, hear Wright's sermons:

Mr. Wright said that in the phone conversation in which Mr. Obama disinvited him from a role in the announcement, Mr. Obama cited an article in Rolling Stone, “The Radical Roots of Barack Obama.”

According to the pastor, Mr. Obama then told him, “You can get kind of rough in the sermons, so what we’ve decided is that it’s best for you not to be out there in public.”

So, when it comes to the spin on that subject, he's lying again. To be fair, Wallace did press the issue, and pointed out that he did admit in his speech that he had heard what some would construe as "controversial." Here is that exchange. Let's see if you can spot the spin:

WALLACE: By the way, in your speech on race, you said that while you haven’t heard these remarks that have been public, that you had heard controversial remarks from the pulpit.

OBAMA: Right.

WALLACE: But you’ve never said what those were.

OBAMA: Well, you know, I didn’t have any particular examples.

WALLACE: Can you tell us anything that you heard him say?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that he has oftentimes talked about some of the problems in the black community in very controversial ways. I mean, I think — or in sharp ways, in ways that are provocative.

You know, he will talk about the failure of fathers to look after their children in ways that sometimes people might be taken aback by. He can use street vernacular in his sermons in ways that people wouldn’t expect to hear–

WALLACE: But did he ever say anything about America or about white racism that troubled you?

OBAMA: Well, you know — well, I think that, you know, he has certainly preached in the past when I was there about the history of race in this country in very blunt terms, talking about slavery, talking about Jim Crow. The problem — and I pointed this out in my speech in Philadelphia — was where oftentimes he would err, I think, is in only cataloguing the bad of America and not doing enough to lift up the good. And that’s probably where he and I have the biggest difference, but –

No buts. He heard them. He heard the visceral rhetoric coming from Jeremiah Wright. He never went up to him after a sermon and said, "Hey, instead of ranting about the bad in this nation, why don't you ever cite the good?" He never did that, and when Wallace posed that question, he sidestepped it.

WALLACE: Let me ask you one other (INAUDIBLE) which some will call the distraction, some will call values. In the last debate, you were asked about your relationship with William Ayers, the former ‘60s radical and you said that you were no more responsible for what he did back in the 1960s than for your friendship with Tom Coburn, senator from Oklahoma, pediatrician, who has made comments about possibly taking the death penalty for cases of abortion. Do you really feel moral equivalency between what Ayres did and what Tom Coburn said?

OBAMA: No of course not. The point I was making and I actually called Tom Coburn afterwards, because I thought that people were suggesting that I had drawn a moral equivalent, so that’s what I was, what I was doing.

All I was saying was is that the fact that I know somebody, worked with them, had interactions with them, doesn’t mean that I’m endorsing what they think and Chris, I’m sure you’ve got people who you serve on a board with or have dinner with who you would never expect that somehow have that seen as an endorsement of their views.

Now, Mr. Ayres is a 60 plus year old individual who lives in my neighborhood, who did something that I deplore 40 years ago when I was six or seven years old. By the time I met him, he was a professor of education at the University of Illinois.

We served on a board together that had Republicans, bankers, lawyers, focused on education, who worked for Mayor Daley. Mayor Daley, the same Mayor Daley probably who when he was a state attorney prosecuted Mr. Ayres’s wife for those activities, I (INAUDIBLE) the point is that to somehow suggest that in any way I endorse his deplorable acts 40 years ago, because I serve on a board with him.

WALLACE: No, I’m just surprised that you brought Coburn in, because it seems to me it’s so apples and oranges.

OBAMA: No, no, no, no. The point I was making was that I’ve got a lot of - nobody is saying, you know what, Barack, he’s got a bunch of Republican friends or he’s got a bunch of people who are considered on the religious right who he gets along with, who he shares stories with, who he does work with. The focus is on this one individual whose relations with, whom I have a relationship is for more tangential than it is with somebody like a Tom Coburn who I’m working with all the time and who I consider a close friend. And yet that’s the relationship that gets the focus.

It gets the attention because he hosted the dinner for Obama's announcement that he was running for office the first time. He and his wife vetted him, contributed to his campaigns, and have chosen him to be their guy for president. That says a lot to a nation that still remembers it's in a war against terrorists, and Obama has a relationship with two domestic terrorists. And while he may think they're "tangential" that excuse doesn't wash as evidenced in his defense of both of them on his own campaign website. If they were minor people in his travels up the political ladder, why bother offering up a defense of them at all unless their relationship to him is more than he contends. It also doesn't help his campaign when videos are uncovered showing both William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn in 2007 as unrepentant as ever.

While the interview gave him a chance to "tell his side" of the story on those two issues, his defense and excuses regarding them don't pass the smell test, and shouldn't with any common sense voter.

Publius II


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