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The White House Speaks, The Left Obeys

John on December 31, 2009 at 10:16 am

The Spectator has the behind the scenes story of the political response to the Christmas Day bomber fiasco:

[S]enior Obama White House aides, including chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod and new White House counsel Robert Bauer, ordered staff to begin researching similar breakdowns — if any — from the Bush Administration.

“The idea was that we’d show that the Bush Administration had had far worse missteps than we ever could,” says a staffer in the counsel’s office. “We were told that classified material involving anything related to al Qaeda operating in Yemen or Nigeria was fair game and that we’d declassify it if necessary.”

The White House, according to the source, is in full defensive spin mode. Other administration sources also say a flurry of memos were generated on December 26th, 27th, and 28th, which developed talking points about how Obama’s decision to effectively shut down the Homeland Security Council (it was merged earlier this year into the National Security Council, run by National Security Adviser James Jones) had nothing to do with what Obama called a “catastrophic” failure on Christmas Day.

Compare Bush’s actions in similar circumstances unfavorably as a way to cover Obama’s ass. That’s their plan.

Coincidentally, David Corn has a piece arguing that the Republican reaction to the President in the wake of the attempted bombing is not in line with reactions to Bush after Richard Reid was arrested in 2001:

When Richard Reid — now infamously known as the al Qaeda shoe-bomber — was arrested on December 22, 2001, after failing to ignite his home-made bomb on a Miami-bound flight, then-President George W. Bush, took no public action. He didn’t even mention this failed terrorist attack for six days…Bush made no separate statements on the episode. He publicly ordered no review of security procedures. The White House held no press briefings on the attempted bombing. A few days later, during a December 31, 2001, Q&A with reporters, Bush didn’t refer to any actions taken in response to the incident.

Do you think, just maybe, Corn is reading all of those verified factoids off a piece of White House stationary prepared for friendly journalists? I sort of do.

Josh Marshall at TPM is making (shocker!) exactly the same comparison. For a helpful response to all this White House generated CYA, click over to this Corner post by Marc Thiessen.

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