Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lying by covering all bases

kw: politics, debates, lies

Transcripts of President Obama's short speech in the Rose Garden on Sept 12, 2012 are being posted everywhere, by commentators all over the political spectrum, because of one exchange in last evening's debate. The President said he had called the attack an act of terror during that speech, which Mr. Romney disputed, but the moderator broke in to "confirm" that the President was correct, then cut off Mr. Romney by forging ahead with the next question. (In my post yesterday, I said the moderator seemed to cut both off equally. By a more careful count, the cut-offs were 28 against Romney and 9 against Obama.)

The 9/12/12 speech was short, just over 800 words in 13 paragraphs (as parsed in the transcript released to the media). In the fourth paragraph, the second sentence reads, "We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others." This is a reference to the video that supposedly induced an enraged crowd to attack the embassy. Everything the Obama administration said for the next two weeks was based on the supposition that there was an uprising because of the video. Only after two weeks did the State Department and a White House spokesperson acknowledge that there was no crowd, but rather a coordinated attack by heavily armed persons, in an assault that had clearly been planned long in advance.

The eleventh paragraph opens with these words: "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation,…". This is the sentence that the President and the moderator were referring to. Of course, had there been a spontaneous demonstration that led to a crowd overwhelming the embassy and attacking the staff, it would have been an act of terror, though one of a general nature. But this sentence is much different from what would have been said if the true nature of the attack had been known to the President on 9/12/12. You could say that Obama was lucky he, almost accidentally, said these words. I think it more likely he said this, and a number of other quite general statements, so he could pick any tidbits he needed from the speech later, which is precisely what he did last evening.

Further, in the VP debate a week ago, Joe Biden was very vehement that he and Obama didn't know, that they had "poor intelligence". The President last evening was trying to say that he did know, the very next day. Either he was lying, or Biden was. They are both inveterate liars, so does it matter?

It matters a lot. The President has been hugely embarrassed by this, and he's trying to wriggle out of trouble. He cannot. First the administration, from Obama to Clinton and on down, were totally blind-sided. They had already declined to send extra security to the embassy when asked. Then the attack happened, and they were blind, intelligence-wise. It took them two weeks to figure it out! This is foreign policy by amateurs. Now he is trying to lie his way out of trouble. I certainly hope that at least 51% of voters decide that, this time, he cannot be allowed to do so.

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