Shorter Question Everything
Romney is all over the place, that’s a given, but sometimes, his pandering gets so confused that he loops back around and chooses to run not as Romney, but as Obama. Confusing, I know. Not that it matters in the long run because his views will all change tomorrow. They’re likely to not even last until tomorrow. The next time he’s before the right wing media, he’ll be saying something else. But it is interesting that, when Romney really screws up, where he goes to in order to sound reasonable is to see what Obama would do and try to do that.
Strangest campaign ever.
• Getting weird – with his shoddy foreign affairs credentials, Romney has chosen to run as …Obama!: In an interview that aired on ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday, MItt Romney said that his “red line” on Iran — the point that would trigger a U.S. military response to Iran’s nuclear program — is the same as President Obama’s, despite a Romney adviser’s assertion that Iran represents, as the New York Times reported today, “the sharpest foreign policy difference” between the two candidates.
• President Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. will use any means to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, but added that he will not be setting any so-called “red lines” that would trigger military action.
• I’m waiting for the flip flop – Mitt Romney Condemns Anti-Muslim Film, Echoing White House Position: Mitt Romney strongly denounced an anti-Muslim film linked to riots against U.S. diplomatic compounds in the Mideast on Thursday, accusing its director of wrongly offending Islamic sensibilities. His comments appeared to move him in line with the White House’s own position. The Republican nominee also condemned Florida pastor Terry Jones, whose burning of a Koran sparked deadly attacks abroad in 2011, for promoting the film.
Conspiracies and other whackadoo
• Keep it classy, FOX: Obama Calls Libyan President to Thank Him After US Ambassador Murdered
• Wingnuts Falsely Claim Obama Administration Forbade Marines From Carrying Live Ammo: Mother Jones has obtained a memorandum from the Marine Corps’ congressional liaison confirming that the Marine guards at the embassy in Egypt were in fact armed with live ammunition, contrary to the anti-Obama conspiracy theory du jour: “The Ambassador did not impose restrictions on weapons or weapons status on the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group (MCESG) detachment. The MCESG Marines in Cairo were allowed to have live ammunition in their weapons. The Ambassador and Regional Security Officer have been completely and appropriately engaged with the security situation. Reports of Marines not being able to have their weapons loaded per direction from the Ambassador are not accurate.”
• Richard Williamson, a foreign policy adviser to Romney, offers his own timeline on Libya conflict. Claims that embassy released their statement after the walls were breached. When all else fails, make your own facts?
• Advisers to Mitt Romney on Thursday defended his sharp criticism of President Obama and said that the deadly protests sweeping the Middle East would not have happened if the Republican nominee were president. “There’s a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you’d be in a different situation,” Richard Williamson, a top Romney foreign policy adviser, said in an interview. “For the first time since Jimmy Carter, we’ve had an American ambassador assassinated.”
• Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is defending Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for scoring political points by blaming “American weakness” for attacks on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya — even though terrorists attacked U.S. embassies 12 times during President George W. Bush’s tenure. At least eight of those attacks occurred while Rumsfeld was serving as secretary of Defense. Including the attacks on Tuesday, U.S. embassies have come under attack twice since Obama took office.
• Rush Limbaugh is so desperate he’s now claiming that Al Qaeda “gave up Bin Laden to make Obama look good.”
• What about the meetings the president is allegedly “skipping”? There are no such meetings — as Dana Milbank explained today, “In reality, Obama didn’t ‘attend’ these meetings, because there were no meetings to attend: The oral briefings had been mostly replaced by daily exchanges in which Obama reads the materials and poses written questions and comments to intelligence officials. This is how it was done in the Clinton administration, before Bush decided he would prefer to read less. Bush’s results — Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and the failure to find Osama bin Laden — suggest this was not an obvious improvement.”
Here’s one big one they’re pushing today: Everything went crazy in Libya and Egypt because Obama isn’t getting his daily intelligence briefing, instead he’s traveling to Vegas! OMG!
Yeah, except it’s not true.
Obama is still geting his Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) while on travel, the same way he always gets it on travel, by paper. The PDB is a written, highly sensitive, intelligence document that the President gets every day.
Oh, but the Republicans say, Obama will be missing the oral briefing by a live person!
Let me tell you about that oral briefing. It started during the GW Bush years because someone couldn’t handle reading his daily briefing like all the other presidents before him, so he made an intelligence officer truck in every day to talk him through it, cuz big words are hard.
So let’s not get started on why George Bush needed someone to hold his hand during the briefing and why Barack Obama, like President Bill Clinton, doesn’t (and didn’t).
• What To Even Say: Congress’ own nonpartisan research and analysis arm, the Congressional Research Service, has concluded that a Republican bill making its way through the House will have the effect of sidestepping the work requirements that are one of the pillars of welfare reform. Let me say that again. While launching a series of withering, racial tinged attacks that accused Obama of gutting welfare reform (when in fact his changes to welfare would strengthen the work requirements), Republicans have been pushing through a bill that the independent CRS has now found actually does have the effect of gutting welfare reform’s work requirements. The CRS reached its conclusion in a memo dated Sept. 4, but it’s gotten scant if any attention until now.
• Nakoula Basseley Nakoula: The Associated Press has interviewed Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, who admitted to managing the company that created the movie. Nakoula denied that he posed as “Sam Bacile” and insisted the mystery filmmaker was an acquaintance of his. Nakoula is a Coptic Christian, who lives near Los Angeles, and has been convicted of financial crimes. Federal court documents showed he had numerous pseudonyms. The cast and crew of the film also alleged that they had been duped by the filmmaker and were mislead about the true nature of the controversial film. U.S. law enforcement confirmed to the Associated Press that the filmmaker is, in fact, Nakoula Basseley [Bacile] Nakoula.
• Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida, who burned Qurans on the ninth anniversary of 9/11, said he spoke with the movie’s director on the phone Wednesday and prayed for him. He said he has not met the filmmaker in person, but the man contacted him a few weeks ago about promoting the movie.
Morris Sadek, an Egyptian-American anti-Muslim activist, managed in one week’s time to take an overlooked YouTube video featuring a lame attack on Islam and turn it into a flashpoint with violent extremists, with deadly consequences. As the New York Times reported last night, Sadek drew attention to the obscure video clip “in an Arabic-language blog post and an e-mail newsletter in English publicizing the latest publicity stunt of the Florida pastor Terry Jones, reviled in the Muslim world for burning copies of the Koran.” Within days the clip was making the rounds in Egypt, prompting denunciations from politicians and generating press coverage, and culminating in protests and a deadly attack in Libya.
Sadek, who has worked with Jones in the past, says he is fighting for the rights of his fellow Coptic Christians in Egypt. Unfortunately he seems much more focused on attacking Muslims than helping the Copts. Sadek pulled his Facebook profile around 1 pm today, but we were able to take a look beforehand. Here’s what we found.
Sadek is a supporter of ACT! for America, which believes that President Obama has embraced the Muslim Brotherhood. The group rallied its supporters last month behind Michelle Bachmann’s anti-Muslim witch hunt against Huma Abedin and others. Here’s Sadek with ACT! For America president Brigitte Gabriel at one of the group’s 2010 events.
Sadek is a man of many interests. He’s a member of these groups, among many others: Islam is of the Devil, Warriors of Christ, and OBAMA IS THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER! Agree?. Sadek is also a fan of the Republican Party, George Bush, Allen West (for president no less!), and number of other Islamophobic, conservative and/or Republican institutions and leaders. Ironically enough, he’s also a fan of the American embassy in Cairo, which was overrun by the protests that he sparked.
• Steve Klein, producer of Islamophobic video “Innocence of Muslims” is looking to be attacked, and sees it as ‘proof’ of the hateful points he’s trying to make. A whole victim/hero thing.
• Libyan authorities have made four arrests in the investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in which the U.S. ambassador and three embassy staff were killed, the deputy interior minister said on Thursday. “Four men are in custody and we are interrogating them because they are suspected of helping instigate the events at the U.S. consulate,” Wanis el-Sharef, eastern Libya’s deputy interior minister, told Reuters. He said others were being closely monitored by police to see whether they are linked to a group. He refused to elaborate.
• American killed in Libya was on intel mission to track weapons: In an interview with ABC News last month, Glen Doherty, a 42-year-old former Navy SEAL who worked as a contractor with the State Department, said he personally went into the field to track down so-called MANPADS, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, and destroy them. After the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the State Department launched a mission to round up thousands of MANPADS that may have been looted from military installations across the country. U.S. officials previously told ABC News they were concerned the MANPADS could fall into the hands of terrorists, creating a threat to commercial airliners.
• Sensitive documents have gone missing from the consulate in Benghazi and the supposedly secret location of the “safe house” in the city, where the staff had retreated, came under sustained mortar attack. Other such refuges across the country are no longer deemed “safe”. Some of the missing papers from the consulate are said to list names of Libyans who are working with Americans, putting them potentially at risk from extremist groups, while some of the other documents are said to relate to oil contracts.
In a post that’s generating some attention today, Josh Marshall pointed out that last night’s New York Times story detailing the Romney camp’s step-by-step thinking on the Embassy attacks was replaced with another version that was missing key reporting. The new version removed a quote from a top Romney adviser in which he was perhaps overly candid about what motivated the Romney camp to put out its statement claiming Obama “sympathized” with the attackers.
I’ve determined what happened here. I’m not particularly interested in criticizing the Times over this; stories get rewritten all the time. What is more interesting to me is that it is now very clear who that adviser was.
In short, it’s now clear that top Romney policy director Lanhee Chen basically confirmed to the Times — even though he was not quoted on record doing so — that the Romney camp attacked Obama in the way it did because it fit the campaign’s predetermined narrative.
Here’s the key quote in the original version of the story (with the subsequently removed part in bold):
“We’ve had this consistent critique and narrative on Obama’s foreign policy, and we felt this was a situation that met our critique, that Obama really has been pretty weak in a number of ways on foreign policy, especially if you look at his dealings with the Arab Spring and its aftermath,” one of Mr. Romney’s senior advisers said on Wednesday. “I think the reality is that while there may be a difference of opinion regarding issues of timing, I think everyone stands behind the critique of the administration, which we believe has conducted its foreign policy in a feckless manner.”
As Josh noted, this is akin to the Romney camp admitting: “we saw this thing happen. It fit with our campaign narrative. So we pounced.”
• Perhaps it means nothing, but this was a segment that was aired early on the Rachel Maddow show. Right after it, Egyptian forces moved in and cleared out the protesters. Maybe there’s nothing to that, or maybe obama exerted a little power with carefully chosen words. Compare that to Romney if you will. – With anti-U.S. protests spreading in the Arab world, President Barack Obama says the U.S. would not consider Egypt an ally, “but we don’t consider them an enemy.” Obama said in an interview with the Spanish-language network Telemundo that Egypt is a “new government that is trying to find its way.” And he warned that if the Egyptian government takes actions showing “they’re not taking responsibility,” then it would “be a real big problem.” Administration officials later said the president was not trying to downgrade the relationship between the U.S. and Egypt. But the remark reflected some U.S. frustration that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi had not been vigorous enough in his response to a breach Tuesday of the U.S. embassy in Cairo by demonstrators protesting an anti-Muslim film.
• In Team Romney’s mind, the protests in the Middle East, and the deadly raid on the consulate in Libya, are President Obama’s fault. Why? Because Muslim protestors don’t “respect American resolve.” If Romney were in office, the argument goes, there wouldn’t be protests — angry Muslims simply wouldn’t take to the streets because they respected America too much.
• Turmoil in the Arab world linked to an American-made video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad spread on Thursday to Yemen, where hundreds of protesters attacked the American Embassy, two days after assailants killed the American ambassador in Libya and crowds tried to overrun the embassy compound in Cairo. News reports also spoke of a separate protest in Tehran, where around 500 Iranians chanting “Death to America” tried to converge on the Swiss Embassy, which handles United States interests in the absence of formal diplomatic relations with Washington. Hundreds of police officers held the crowds back from the diplomatic compound, witnesses said.
• The Pennslyvania Supreme Court gave a cold reception to the defenders of that presidential swing state’s new GOP-passed voter ID law on Thursday, according to early press accounts, suggesting the new law might be struck down or suspended for the 2012 election.
• Kansas Goes Birther: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an informal advisor to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said on Thursday he and his fellow members of a state board were considering removing President Barack Obama from the Kansas ballot this November. [T]he board agreed consider whether to take Obama off the ballot because they said they lacked sufficient evidence about his birth certificate.
• Election officials falsely tell New Hampshire voters they need id to vote.
• Just so we’re sure, Mittens is saying “less war, bad, more war, good.” That should go over well. “This president’s done something I find hard to understand. Ever since FDR, we’ve had capacity to be engaged in two conflicts at once,” Romney said. “He’s saying, ‘No, we’re going to cut that back to one conflict.’”
• Romney’s World: With The Middle East On Fire, He Would Like Us To Help Rename His Plane.
• Romney Favored ‘Wiretapping’ And ‘Monitoring’ Mosques In 2005: In 2005, while governor of Massachusetts, Romney called for the warrantless wiretapping of Massachusetts mosques in order to identify terrorism suspects. Speaking to the Heritage Foundation, a right wing think-tank in Washington, D.C., Romney proposed a wide-ranging surveillance program that encompassed both mosques and foreign students from “terrorist-sponsored states”: “How many [students] are coming to our state and going to those institutions who have come from terrorist-sponsored states? Do we know where they are? Are we tracking them? …How about people who are in settings — mosques, for instance — that may be teaching doctrines of hate and terror. Are we monitoring that? Are we wiretapping? Are we following what’s going on?”