Brilliant-In-Chief: President Obama’s Remarks at Gridiron Club

No TV cameras 😦 but boy, this is plain awesome. Enjoy.


(“Hail To The Chief” plays as the President enters.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! (Applause.)

Can we go with the song that we talked about? (Laughter.) (“Born In The USA” plays.) (Laughter and applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Some things just bear repeating. (Laughter.) Good evening. As we gather here tonight, all across the world a powerful spirit of change is tearing down old regimes, decaying institutions, remnants of the past. So, look out, Gridiron Club! (Laughter.)

I mean, look at this getup. (Laughter.) Forget about winning the future. How about entering the present? (Laughter and applause.)

Anyway, it’s great to be here. And I’m glad we’re ending on time because I really couldn’t stay here much longer. (Laughter.) I have to get back to not being involved in the budget negotiations. (Laughter.) My schedule is just packed with meetings that I’m not attending. (Laughter.)

You know, the last time I attended this dinner was in 2006. A lot has changed in those past five years. Back then I was a newcomer who couldn’t get anything done in the Senate. Now I’m a President who can’t get anything done in the Senate. (Laughter.)

But it’s good to be back and have a chance to spend time with so many members of the press. And, Susan, thank you for the extraordinary job that you’ve done tonight. (Applause.) I know people say that I have a testy relationship with the media — but how can that be? I hardly ever see you. (Laughter.)

Come on, I love the press. I even sat for an interview with Bill O’Reilly right before the Super Bowl. That was a change of pace. (Laughter.) I don’t often get a chance to be in a room with an ego that’s bigger than mine. (Laughter.)

And while I know I have my share of critics out there, I don’t focus on the negative stuff. I just don’t pay much attention to it. Most days I barely skim through the comment section of Huffington Post — Daily Kos — Fire Dog Lake — The Daily Dish — (Laughter.)

All right, I hear the criticisms. I do. For example, I know that people think I’m not passionate enough. That I’m too cool. That I’m too detached. But as I was going through my daily routine — sitting alone in my study — (laughter) — meditating, thinking about how to win the future — (laughter) — I pondered this critique, and calmly rejected it — (laughter and applause) — as thoroughly illogical. (Laughter.) And for all those who think I golf too much, let me be clear. I’m not spending time on the golf course — I’m investing time on the golf course. (Laughter.)

Here’s another criticism I haven’t paid much attention to — we heard a little bit of it tonight — my reliance on the teleprompter. Republicans even tried to take it away from me. And I’m fine with that. As if I can’t speak without a — without a — (laughter) — a teleprompter. (Laughter.) I want to acknowledge a few people in the house tonight. Kathleen Sebelius did a great job, didn’t she? (Applause.)

She does a great job each and every day. In these tough times I’ve asked all my Cabinet members to cut even those things that they care deeply about. In Kathleen’s case, it was her once-promising political career. (Laughter.)

My understanding is the Speaker of the House, John Boehner — is he here? He couldn’t show up, huh? Okay. I mean, we’ve heard a few jokes about John, and I’ve made a few jokes over the years about John’s unusual coloring. (Laughter.) I used to think that it was a tan, but after seeing how often he tears up I’ve come to realize that’s not a tan — that’s rust. (Laughter.) Think about it. (Laughter.) I want to congratulate my dear friend Chris Dodd on his new role as head of the MPAA. Though I’m wondering what life experience could possibly prepare Chris to deal with a town full of blowhards and inflated egos. (Laughter.)

America’s favorite voyeur, TSA Administrator John Pistole is in the house. No hard feelings, John. I mean that literally. Please. (Laughter and applause.) Last but not least, Rahm Emanuel is here — already hard at work on Chicago’s problems. (Laughter.) Let me just be the first to say: Welcome home. (Laughter and applause.) Unless anybody from the Illinois Supreme Court is here — then welcome to Washington. (Laughter.) You know, the day I hired Rahm as my chief of staff, unemployment was under 8 percent and my approval ratings were in the 60s. So, good luck, Chicago. (Laughter.)

Thankfully, Bill Daley came over from Wall Street to take his place. And the senior staff actually seems pretty happy with the change — particularly the new executive bonus plan. (Laughter.) I do have a couple of regrets to pass along. My Secretary of State could not be with us.

I’ve dispatched Hillary to the Middle East to talk about how these countries can transition to new leaders — though, I’ve got to be honest, she’s gotten a little passionate about the subject. (Laughter.) These past few weeks it’s been tough falling asleep with Hillary out there on Pennsylvania Avenue shouting, throwing rocks at the window. (Laughter.) Settle down. (Laughter.)

Former Congressman Chris Lee wanted to be here tonight. But apparently he didn’t know the rules — no shoes, no shirt, no service. (Laughter.) Speaking of Republican exploratory activities — (laughter) — we have quite a few considering presidential candidacies. Of course, there’s our outstanding speaker for the evening, Mitch Daniels. (Applause.) Did a great job.

Mitch, I heard your friends over at FOX News told you that you don’t look like a President. But I wouldn’t worry about it — they say the same thing about me every single day. (Laughter.) I know some people discount Mitch because he’s not — as they say in the NBA — long enough. (Laughter.) But the don’t realize how scrappy he is. I watched him during dinner. He tore into that fillet like it was a public employee. (Laughter and applause.) And Mitch is experienced. Before he was governor Mitch was a pharmaceutical executive and he was George W. Bush’s budget director. I don’t have a joke here. I just want to point it out. (Laughter and applause.)

To all the journalists in case you didn’t know. (Laughter.) Haley Barbour is here. And I want to thank him for working with Michelle on the “Let’s Move” campaign. I do have one thing to clear up, though, Haley. You know, when Michelle said, you need to run, she didn’t mean for President. (Laughter and applause.) I wanted to be clear about that.

Tim Pawlenty is not here. But he’s hard on the campaign trail. To be honest, I think the American people are going to have some tough questions for Tim — specifically, who are you? (Laughter.) And where did you come from? (Laughter.) Which is okay — two years into my presidency and I’m still getting those questions. (Laughter.) But I have to say, as much as I admire Haley, Mitch, Tim, all the others, I’m a little biased towards my dear, dear friend, Jon Huntsman. (Laughter.)

In fact, I was just telling the Des Moines Register, nobody has done more for my administration than Jon Huntsman. (Laughter.) As his good friends in China might say, he is truly the yin to my yang. (Laughter.) And I’m going to make sure that every primary voter knows it. (Laughter.) If there’s a fish fry for Jon Huntsman in Cedar Rapids, guess who’s going to be at the grill. (Laughter.)

Barack Obama. (Laughter and applause.) If you see me on the streets of Nashua, wearing my parka and waving a sign, give me a honk for Huntsman. (Laughter.) The next GOP nominee for President. Love that guy. (Laughter.) All these jokes are in good fun. (Laughter.) They’re all in the spirit of bipartisanship, a spirit that’s sweeping the nation. (Laughter.)

We’re seeing people with strong disagreements get along as never before. You have the former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, current Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney — working together every day, sharing a host body. (Laughter.) It’s inspiring. (Laughter.) Or creepy. (Laughter.) Depending on how you look at it. (Laughter.)

Allow me to close on a serious note.

As has already been mentioned, we meet tonight in celebration, but also great sorrow over the loss of one of the Gridiron’s most beloved members and one of America’s most respected journalists. For nearly half a century, David Broder set the standard for political coverage. He was fair. He was honest. He was insightful. Nobody worked harder than David or with greater dignity — even as he covered a process that’s sometimes lacking in those qualities. He appreciated the great pageant of democracy like nobody else. But he also understood its deeper meaning. And his passing only reminds us of the importance of the work that all of you do. These are momentous times. We face extraordinary economic challenges here at home.

We have young men and women who are making extraordinary sacrifices, sometimes the ultimate sacrifice, for us overseas. We’re seeing transformative change all around the world. And yesterday we were reminded how tragedy can strike at any moment. Tonight, of course, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan. And I want to reiterate that the American people will stand with Japan as they recover and they rebuild.

But whatever challenges we face and however history unfolds, we rely on all of you — the press — to tell the story. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be in positions of power may have our gripes about how the media covers us, but that’s only because your job is to hold us accountable. And none of us would want to live in a country without that failsafe — without a free press and freedom of expression. That’s what people all around the world are fighting for as we speak. In some cases, they’re dying for those rights. And that’s what many reporters risk their lives to uphold — from Kandahar to Tripoli.

So let us protect and cherish those freedoms here at home, and never take them for granted. And enjoy yourselves for the rest of the evening. My understanding is — although, Susan, you did an outstanding job keeping things on time, that the bar is still open and will be open until midnight. Last I checked, so is the government. (Laughter.) Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.)


156 thoughts on “Brilliant-In-Chief: President Obama’s Remarks at Gridiron Club

  1. I used to think that it was a tan, but after seeing how often he tears up I’ve come to realize that’s not a tan — that’s rust.


  2. I could see him giving that little chuckle as he deliver his punch lines. LOL! He deserves to have a good time for a change. Chris Matthews was quoting Brian Williams saying this President has had to deal with more events than any other.

  3. I wish video cameras had been allowed inside. I would have loved seeing him delivering those remarks.

    He’s truly the best president I’ve seen yet as a speaker. It’s a little frightening, I’m sure, to some people, that he is as wonderful at just about everything as he is — their showing it so plainly, if in no other way, in the extraordinary lengths they go to in order to deprecate his accomplishments.

    I don’t dare suggest to the few anti-Obama people who would dare to say anything to me against him that they must understand something — Barack Obama is Heaven-sent.

    Can’t help it; I’ve been waiting for a Messiah ever since FDR died. (By the way, there were huge numbers of US citizens during the Great Depression that were convinced he was a Messiah.)

  4. He is hilarious:
    All right, I hear the criticisms. I do. For example, I know that people think I’m not passionate enough. That I’m too cool. That I’m too detached. But as I was going through my daily routine — sitting alone in my study — (laughter) — meditating, thinking about how to win the future — (laughter) — I pondered this critique, and calmly rejected it — (laughter and applause) — as thoroughly illogical.

    I love love love funny people. And his remarks were just spot-on. Why take “criticisms” seriously when they make no sense?? I’m sure that there are plenty of people who make helpful critiques and suggestions, so why waste time listening to sensationalists who are really just trying to make a buck for themselves rather than help the country.

  5. “their showing it” is actually correct — “their” in this case being the possessive case of “they.” I just looked at it and it looked funny.

    But, an example” “Their attending the rally showed them as supporters of the union workers.”

    I’ll shut up now.

  6. ‘ Most days I barely skim through the comment section of Huffington Post — Daily Kos — Fire Dog Lake — The Daily Dish — (Laughter.

    He was making fun of The PL.

  7. Just in case they didn’t know who specifically the PL was, that nice little list of whined comment boards tells all. I love my president.

  8. This was pure brilliance. The whole thing was just awesome. I’m so sad this wasn’t captured on video. Prez should use “Born in the USA” as part of his re-election campaign music as an in your face to the stupid birthers.

    Joan, your second paragraph is so telling. The haters — including the PL — are really frustrated that he is so good. Try as they might, they cannot diminish his gifts. They shine brightly for the American people see. And they see how hard he is working for this country despite the opposition.

    I too believe he was sent to lead this country during this trying time. I cannot imagine another person doing what he is doing. Heaven help us in 2016 after leaves office. That is unless Michelle runs. 🙂

  9. Thanks for this text of the president’s remarks, BWD; I took the liberty of passing them on, with acknowledgement and thanks to you. And Joan, I couldn’t agree with you more.

  10. I;m so glad he called them out. Watch them whine and ratchet up the attacks. Idiots.

  11. I would too. Not a mean-spirited bone in that man’s body; he’s depreciating himself along with everyone else, responding to the “too Spock-like” bs criticism.

  12. I agree with you 100%

    I LOVE my President!

    The best I have seen in my lifetime and I’m 65.

    Just imagine anyone else in that job at this moment in history – McCain would have us in several wars by now – probably dropped the N bomb

  13. They are about their $$$$$$$. Maybe Hamsher will add a “President Obama called us out” t-shirt, mousepad, or coffee mug to the merchandise she’s selling on her website. They’re just trying to make money; they don’t really care in terms of genuine critique IMO. Strident, sensationalist bs which draws in a bunch of page clicks will be featured on those garbage websites regardless of the intelligence or merits of the analysis.


  14. And don’t forget FDR had I think 75 Democrats in the Senate. Big advantage that this President has never had. We had 58 at best.

    Hi BWD! Thank you so much for this transcript! Didn’t see it anywhere else. It was hilarious.

  15. Me too! They could screen this nationwide and put some money in the coffers of the re-election campaign!

  16. GN, I have a theory that really intelligent people have the best sense of humor. They have a very sharp sense of wit. PBO is amazing. the way he is able to deliver a line.

    Heck, he could make Jon Stewart look like a lump on a log.

  17. The speech was perfect for the event with just the right touch of wit without meanness. I never could stand David Broder’s opinions or writings. but the president is such a gracious man that he can give genuine praise from his heart even to his former critics.

    If the people in the audience came with half a brain, they would know, despite their political prejudices. that they were witnessing someone brilliant and unique and were being granted a wonderful gift. Of course, the assumption of half a brain may be too generous in the case of many of them.

  18. BWD, happy Sunday and thank you for sharing Pres. Obama’s Gridiron remarks. He was hilarious. That joke about the PL comment boards was on target. Seriously though, I hope the President knows about your site and the level of support he has in this forum. Again, thank you for creating this site, and thanks to all the commenters and lurkers who make this place a community.


  20. PBO reminded the press of what they SHOULD be doing, but, of course, they won’t.

    Born in the USA was the best shot.

    Now..there are 400 thumbnail shots of the Wisconsin protest here, and you don’t have to look at every one but just pick and choose which ones you want and which signs you want to see:

  21. PBO was hilarious!!! I swear one of these days he’s gonna go full blown Paul Mooney on errybody lol!

  22. OMG- he mentioned the nasty PL blogs.. haaaaa!! ohh Mr. President there just ain’t no one like you. Good grief he is bloody brilliant indeed. Born in the USA.. lol- this really needs to be sent to EVERYONE. He missed nothing and noone.

  23. Wow,wow, that was brilliant. Now just imagine McCain, up there, let alone the GOP 2012, line up. They sure are shaking in their boots coz this Prez. is the total package, good at anything he does. That was really funny.

  24. The Prez is just brilliant. I loved his ding on Barbour…’When Michelle asked you to run, she did not mean run for President..’

    Burn that lard dude…

    Thanks BWD.

  25. Well, Joan, it’s rare that somebody speaks up about using the possessive case (their) with a gerund (attending). Ha ha ha. Lots of word snobs in my family, so I’ll just say to you: You go, girl! Save the language (even a little bit!).

  26. Finally this guy is gone…

    P.J. Crowley is abruptly stepping down as State Department spokesman under pressure from White House officials because of controversial comments he made last week about the Bradley Manning case, CNN has learned from senior officials familiar with the matter.

    I personally was done with Crowley after this mess:

    The genesis of the breakdown in unified messaging on Egypt appears to go back to a Saturday, Jan. 29 Tweet from State Department spokesman P.J Crowley that was intended as a response to Mubarak’s wholesale dismissal of his cabinet a day earlier, which Washington regarded with suspicion.

    “The Egyptian government can’t reshuffle the deck and then stand pat. President Mubarak’s words pledging reform must be followed by action,” Crowley said.

    Some officials now refer to that as “the Tweet heard round the world.”
    By the time that message appeared on Twitter on that Saturday, Mubarak already had taken his next step by naming a number two, something long-demanded by the United States, and Crowley’s comment was interpreted as the first U.S. reaction to Suleiman’s appointment.

    The White House was furious, officials said, and Crowley was ordered not to post potentially controversial messages without clearing them first.–white-house-works-to-regain-message-on-egypt-after-confusing-days-obama-showed-frustration

    All of these people who end up getting fired over their careless comments need to remember that they serve at the pleasure of the President. When your actions cause him and his administration displeasure, you’ve go to go.

  27. I so ♥ my President. He has the best sense of humor. I wish this could have been televised.

  28. This is really funny but the whole debt ceiling thing is making me nervous. What would happen. From recession to Great Depression is what it looks like.

  29. GN, when I saw he mentioned that he perused the frustrati web sites I so wondered if he also came to BWD and others so he could clear his system of the hate and see how much ‘real’ Democrats and Liberals support him.

  30. You don’t screw with the national security state. They do what they want, and if you speak up, you just gotta go. So much for that team of rivals shit.

    And if you are wondering why we will stay in Afghanistan for as long as Obama is President, wonder no more. The mildest disagreement with the national security state and the war pig is cause for immediate dismissal.

    A comment from John Cole at Balloon Juice. Why has Manning become the hero of the PL?

  31. Great minds, Dorothy. I thought the same thing and his humor can be real subtle, like his last line about the bar being open. PBO is a genius and a real person.

    Sis and I were out gathering signatures for a recall here in AZ, yesterday. We came to the conclusion that all politicians should be given mental status exams and IQ tests before they are allowed to run for public office.

    I’m also feeling we should see if they have a real sense of humor. Our Prez can both poke at others and still laugh at himself, too. This is a wonderful, endearing quality,imho.

  32. I think about how universally intelligent our President is when I read this. He is very funny and that is not easy. He has the nuance to finesse these jokes and the mindfulness to make them biting but not petty. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the universe for this man and thank you, BWD, for the site you have created where we can go and safely celebrate him.

  33. IMO he knows that Dems and liberals love him. I’d actually be very surprised if he visits blogs at all right now, but you never know.

  34. Sorry BWD I noticed him on your blogroll.
    I certainly dont agree with this!!!

  35. I figured Manning would become a hero to the PL after it was announced this morning about him resigning from his position.

  36. It’s okay, mate. And Cole is gone from the blogroll now…I have zero tolerance for the PL propaganda, no matter who they are. They have not one shred of proof to back their claims about Manning. I’ll take PBO’s word over on any day.

  37. The comments thread there is also full of what bwd has very aptly named “professional left propaganda.” Such zealotry, always looking for the next righteous crusade, always thumping some fundamentalist bible or other. There is simply no way in the word that the PL would have taken a rational, no-drama stance, “we’ll discuss this as further information comes in;” “he might have been let go too hastily but we’re not sure yet”—nope, it’s always going to be some full-on zealous rant. I can’t do it anymore: too exhausting. Glad to have wonderful alternatives to that madness, like this space.

  38. Opps! Sorry, Askew:) Didn’t see that you had that up already. My link will just “catch” the people that may have missed this one. As usual, right on the money with his thoughts and comments. He has expanded certain gun rights and it’s still amazing to me we still hear the idiots whine about him wanting to take their GD guns away.They have NO IDEA what he’s actually done, or where he actually stands on the issue.They guessed and fabricated things like the haters always do.Will use that fear over hope and change every time:)How do they even get through their seemingly miserable lives?

  39. Yea, they also have a story on it at Think Progress. Sometimes Think Progress get on my nerves.

  40. BWD this was perfect without the pictures. Reading the words without pictures made for a very nice presentation. President Obama has a wonderful sense of humor. This gave us the opportunity to create images to add to the words rather than words to add to the images.


  41. Dorothy, I concur. It is my good fortune to be represented by Senator Franken, another very smart and witty politician. It’s also why I think Stephen Colbert is genuis.

  42. This has been bugging me, so I’ll, you know…say something.

    All this nonsense about wanting President Obama to get involved in what is going on in Wisconsin got me to wondering: What if this had happened during the Bush administration? Would all those PL children want *him* to go to Wisconsin? If Bush did intervene in any way in Wisconsin, their heads would have exploded and they’d be all over themselves screeching and hollering.

  43. Gosh, the comments on President Obama’s piece in the Tucson newspaper are pretty frightening. I always try to remind myself that the people writing those very ugly comments are a tiny fraction of the population — but they are still disturbing.

    I’m going to have to re-read the President’s hilarious Gridiron Club speech to get myself back in a happy mood!

  44. Obama’s clear understanding of the issue is something that should be appreciated by both sides. By staying out of the fray, Obama keeps the issue from escalating out of control.

    After all, it could have been a Republican President backing up Walker, and one who has little understanding of State-Federal boundaries.

    I just love the Gridiron transcript. It would have been nice to have had an audio transcript. However, these are also print and other reporters, and they don’t want to have to worry about how they sound or look for at least one event. To laugh without being called on what they were laughing about.

  45. I certainly recall him telling them when he hired them that if they “leaked” anything, they were gone, and he is a man of his word.

  46. What did Crowley say?

    If it was as big of mistake as his tweets about Egypt, it’s no wonder he was let go.

  47. I hope that BWD considers putting Balloon Juice back on the roll. Yes, Cole does have his grumpy, sometimes sarcastic side, but he genuinely supports the President, and that comment was more snark than anything else.

    As for Bradley Manning, I find his treatment appalling, but I would find that true of anyone treated that way regardless of what they were in for. But demanding Obama directly address it is not the way to go here. Obama has to mostly stay out of this lest he be accused of interfering with his trial. Obama can inquire about his treatment, and can request that it be better, but this is one area that he probably would just as soon leave to the professionals to handle.

    None of the grandstanding will help him-and hasn’t so far. PJ Crowley’s statement won’t even get the attention that it needs because of the Frustrati way in which it’s being handled-making statements first and then being fired doesn’t help. Nor does delivering petitions on a Sunday when nobody is there to receive them, and probably no one really has the authority to handle them in any event.

  48. I think it was a great opportunity, for us, to use our creative visualization techniques, for the gridiron event. I saw him smirkishly (new word) grinning at each satirical comment. And, of course, his huge grin with those lovely laugh lines at the corners of his eyes. Oh, and the special laugh as required.

    I love his dry and witty sense of humour.

  49. I googled and haven’t yet found the info, but I did read that he compared the Middle East “tsunami” to the tsunami that hit Japan.

    Crowley needed to go, imo.

  50. He told a reporter or blogger that the treatment of Manning was stupid (he used other adjectives I can’t recall right now), the reporter asked him if he wanted that remark on the record and Crowley said yes. Now the PL is up in arms because Crowley was right and he shouldn’t have been fired.

    Doesn’t matter if Crowley was right. He should have kept those opinions in house. He knew the consequences.

  51. But David Axelrod did say when he was on Morning Joe last week that the President does get on the internet. So who knows. Maybe he is has gotten a peak at your wonderful site. Sure hope so.

  52. You really think John was being snarky? He has his moments but I still think he is serious.

    I don’t have all the facts and knowledge to say whether or not Obama should stay out of it. I’m pretty sure after that question at the presser, Obama’s going to be inquiring if he hasn’t already. What bugs me is that some of the commentators wanted Obama to denounce whatever is happening to Manning right then and there. They basically wanted him to denounce the DoD or the pentagon or whoever is in charge of what is happening to Manning and I just have to wonder what the heck are these people thinking sometimes.

    Obama’s administration has to present itself as one cohesive unit or else your opponents, allies, and the press start to think that you are incompetent. To stand there and then denounce a part of your administration without the full facts or at all is just a strange demand from the PL. What president of any party would do something like that?

  53. BWD, I think you are being too humble. Even if he is too busy to surf the net himself, I will just bet he has people who do that and give him feed back.

  54. Michelle! Yes! I’m on for that but I suspect that by 2016, the whole Obama family will need a break. Let’s think Malia or Sasha somewhere in the future.

  55. Meanwhile, the can of mixed nuts in our AZ Legislature want a “State gun” and want to arm our children in schools. Beating my head against the key board now…..

  56. I guess allowing guns at school is one way to reduce public school attendance. I know I would be out of AZ or home school the kids. Too bad so many in this country believe education equals indoctrination.

  57. Absolutely, Tien Le. They would have had a collective mental break down about Bush getting involved in any State’s local issues.

    But remember, in their eyes, PBO is supposed to be ‘Super Dude’ who not only can pass through walls, leap from windows in a single bound while catching bullets in his teeth but must also be subject to their every whim and random blatherings, sort of like a well trained ‘pet.’

    They despise him and everything he does because they can’t control him and because he is not an old ‘white’ dude.

    IMHO, and just saying….

  58. Correct. If he thought something was wrong about Manning’s treatment [and I’m not sure that he had any way of knowing all the facts], Crowley had plenty of people to go to to make his feelings known – Clinton, Gates, Daley, and PBO himself. He opted to talk to the press instead. Bad move. Stupid move.

  59. I get so angry about folks not trusting our Pres.
    Why would they mistreat Manning? I just dont see vengeance as part of the mix. Again trust the Pres.

  60. From my twitter timeline:

    RT @WestWingReport: President’s Monday Schedule: 10:20-visits a Virginia middle school; 10:40-remarks on education; 11:55-senior advisors;

    RT @WestWingReport: President’s Monday Schedule: 1:45-Danish PM Rasmussen; 2:25-remarks to press (pool only in the Oval); 3:00-Gen. Petraeus; 7:30-DNC event

    RT @WestWingReport: Rest of the Week: Tue. & Wed.-White House meetings; Thurs.-Irish PM Kenny; St. Patrick’s Day lunch/Cap.Hill; St. Pat’s Day reception in PM;

    RT @WestWingReport: Rest of the Week: Fri.-travels to Brazil. President & First Family also visiting Chile and El Salvador. Return Mar. 23

  61. Sorry, CarolDuhart but I have to disagree somewhat with you re: Bradley Manning.

    He enlisted in military service, he was not drafted or forced to do this. He may or may not have broken laws, innocent until proven guilty, but he is subject to the military code of justice and the treatment they choose to give.

    This may seem harsh by your standards but how much do you know of our boot camps and the training given to our service people? He is not a civilian. He took an oath. Marines believe fervently in Semper Fi, (always faithful) to their country, to the core, their fellow servicemen and their ideals.

    I believe that his so called horrible treatment has been way overblown by those who would seek to vilify our President and undermine his support in every way they can.

    I hope this didn’t offend you.

  62. The PL views every news story through the following lense: how can I spin this story to show Pres. Obama in a bad light. Reality does not matter. I remember Olbermann railing against Obama b/c Guantanamo is still open. He knew full well that it was Congress that kept the prison open. But facts cannot get in the way of the anti-Obama narrative. They set politically stupid demands that they know the President will not meet, and then feign surprise and outrage that Obama is not listening to them. Did President Kennedy march with MLK in Selma? Did I miss that? They cannot be as stupid and clueless as they seem to be. They are as anti-Obama and anti-democrat as any teapartier. It is not “news” or even factual analysis that the PL peddles. It is propaganda that is designed to hurt Pres. Obama politically and get republican elected.

  63. Their primary concern is Manning, and only to the extent that he gives them a reason to keep up their Obama bashing.

  64. That was a gem of a speech, bwd. Thanks for finding it and posting it for us in its entirety. Loved it! Lots of great zingers!

  65. Tell it like it is EricFive! That’s the TRUTH.

    Like you, I’m not buying the propaganda that the PL is peddling. Their whole agenda is to destroy this President, and every news item on their roster is “analyzed” with an anti-Obama bent – facts be damned.

  66. Aquagranny, I’m not offended in the least. But being held without a blanket or made to stand nude or in solitary is a bit over the top.

    I agree that he signed up for the job, but reading the interview with Bradley’s father, I get the impression that Dad forced him to join in the hope that Bradley would be “less gay” or whatever. To a young man that age, losing parental support probably means more to him than the consequences of being in the military would have been. If he’s had his druthers, he would have stayed out.

    In any event, I think the whole thing should be handled in a much more professional manner than it has been. Give him a blanket and some books, finally charge him with something, and be done with it all.

    If the frustrati really want to prove us wrong, show some concern for other prisoners, and keep up the concern for Bradley as he makes his way through the system and beyond. If conditions are truly inhumane, working for the improvement of prison policy is the way to go to make things good for all prisoners, no just ones that make Obama look bad. And care for Bradley after he’s sentenced as well.

  67. Stunts like this is why I’m a fan of vote by mail. No voter harrassment by people wanting to take an “extra” look at your picture id. No vote challengers. No suddenly “misplaced” polling places. Plenty of time to cast a ballot-so no drama like in 2004 regarding extended polling place hours in Missouri.

    Despite the desperate attempt to find “voter fraud” in Oregon elections, Oregon elections are the cleanest in the nation. Oregon votes entirely by mail and saves millions in the process.

    I did a paper on it in college, and it makes me very passionate on the subject.

  68. Agree Dorothy. How many funny Repubs do you know? I don’t know any, and I bet there’s only about 2 in the whole country. They’re all boring and not fun and funny at all. And as you said, it takes a little bit of smarts to get humor, so that’s probably the problem right there. There oughta be a study. 🙂

  69. Ho Carol,

    Since Manning’s lawyer has asked for a psych exam, he may be heading for a mentally ill defense, and Manning may agree. So we may be seeing a whole lot of acting out by Manning going on, enough acting out to worry the Commander and put him on suicide watch. Since Manning himself chose to appear naked, my guess seems likely that a lot of this is Manning’s choice of bizarre behavior.

    We just have another case of PBO should be in Wisconsin every day and now PBO should be in Manning’s cell 24/7! I’m ignoring it all.

  70. And in both cases, active involvement could mar far more than it mend, by overwhelming the field of contention. There’s no risk of Obama doing that now with Wisconsin: he hasn’t and won’t. But Bradley Manning is the next issue up. Again, his prospects for a fair trial rely on Obama staying out of it and letting the process unfold according to the rules. If Obama gets involved in anything other than “check into it, and follow the rules”, he would be accused of tainting the jury pool, of influencing the judge. This is especially sensitive in the military system where Obama is commander in chief as well and can command the multitude of players.

  71. Does everybody remember the Terry Schiavo fiasco in FL when Bush flew back to Washington to sign a definitely unconstitutional bill. Talk about the government stepping into a state affair. And everybody on the left ripped it, but they wanted Obama to do something similar.

  72. Thank you. Manning is being treated like a typical person that enlist in the millitary. The millitary has ALWAYS been ruthless, so I think many need to realize that Manning’s treatment is not abnormal. If Manning gets a special pass, then everyone held in a millitary court are going to be looking for their special pass.

  73. I have no sympathy for Manning. He’s in the military. He was trusted with national secrets. And he decided to spill those secrets, for whatever reason, even if it put the troops and informers in harm’s way. He had plenty of avenues that he could have explored for getting the one secret out to his senior officers about the accidental shooting of the journalists, but that’s not what he chose to do. He took millions of pages of confidential information, and delivered it to a gossip site, without regard for people’s safety or any other matter.

    The fact that he “joked” about killing himself with his underwear, and then got that underwear confiscated – well, he probably should have known that would happen since he was already on suicide watch.

    He’s charged with “aiding the enemy”. That’s pretty serious. He’s not at a church picnic or summer camp. When he took the job, he knew the consequences. I know that if any of us spilled corporate secrets to our competitors, we wouldn’t still have our jobs, and we would likely face charges related to intellectual property laws – and most of us don’t hold lives in our hands.

  74. I believe the story was updated to show that Manning was not forced to stand at attention nude – he chose to do that himself. And he’s had a blanket.

  75. What a wonderful surprise for the afternoon. I love the President’s humor. I too wish I could see this on video. I wonder if any of those blogs mentioned this Dinner at all?

    I loved his op-ed in the Tucson paper. He is so spot on. But the haters do not even understand what he is really saying. They just hate him what ever it is. I feel so sorry for them. Life is to short to hate so much.

    I am so thankful he is our President! And I am so thankful for the site and all this great family! Go Wisconsin!

  76. Hi Carol,

    Not sure where you are getting your information, if it’s from PL sites, beware of propaganda. I would like to address some of your statements:

    “being held without a blanket or made to stand nude or in solitary is a bit over the top.”
    He was not “made to stand nude”. His lawyer to wants to plead an insanity defense. (In fact one of the reasons that he has not yet gone to trial, is that at the lawyer’s request, he has to go through psych eval which delays the process). So they put him on a suicide watch and removed the clothing items that he could use to do himself harm. Manning then made a comment that if he wanted to really harm himself he would use the elastic in his underwear. At that point they did not allow him to keep his underwear at night, but they did provide him with a blanket. Also, he decided to stand nude. No one made him do it.

    If the lawyer’s strategy is to plead insanity, I can understand why they would not want to provide Manning with the opportunity to harm himself in order to support his insanity claim in court.

    “I think the whole thing should be handled in a much more professional manner than it has been.”
    Can you be specific about what you think is unprofessional about the way this has been handled and provide the source for this claim?

    “Give him a blanket”
    Again, he was provided with a blanket. Please see above.

    “finally charge him with something, and be done with it all.”
    He was charged in June 2010 and then recently additional charges were filed against him. See NY Times article:

    Prison conditions may need to be reformed, but that is a separate question. I take PBO at his word that nothing untoward has happened.

    Manning enlisted in the army knowing the rules. He is being tried under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, not the civilian code.

    The charges against Manning are serious.
    To my mind they amount to treason. If the allegations are true, by his actions Manning endangered the US national security and his fellow soldiers. We can’t have people in the armed forces behaving that way, no matter what the motivation.

  77. Carol, I agree with you about keeping Cole on the blogroll. As you point out, he and his coposters have been pretty staunch defenders of the President. Like a lot of people, he saw something and had an instant reaction to it. In the blogging world that happens a lot. On thing John is big on is the ability of people to speak their minds. I think he was wrong this time, but I don’t think this particular offense warrants a banning.

  78. You are so right He got himself in this mess so don’t cry if you can’t do the time. When took the oath it was for everything done in carrying out his job. Any information that was not his personnel writings did belong to him to send to anyone. Yes somethings can be wrong but you have a chain of command to file with and just keep filing until someone gets it corrected. But to give it out for the public to see without context and reason is just wrong.

  79. Can I thank all of the participants to this thread for an ultra-civil disagreement. I personally have humongous issues with the notions of punishment versus rehabilitation in this country and think that Manning’s treatment might be excessive. But I also realize that my knowledge of this matter is extremely limited, and I have huge doubts about the allegation that the WH wants Manning to be treated severely in confinement.

  80. Man – Our Prez is laugh-out-loud funny. I especially enjoyed the zinger at the PL troika and the Boehner crack.

  81. Brad Manning’s dad, in a recent PBS interview:

    KWAME HOLMAN: Pvt. Bradley Manning is the 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst accused of stealing thousands of classified government documents and providing them to WikiLeaks. He is in custody at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Va., where he is confined to his cell 23 hours a day under what’s called a prevention-of-injury watch.

    Last week, there was a change in his imprisonment. Manning was stripped of his clothing at night. Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, has reported the brig’s action followed his client’s complaint that the so-called prevention-of-injury restrictions on him were absurd. Manning said if he wanted to harm himself, he could do so with the elastic waistband of his underwear.

    In an exclusive “Frontline” interview this week with correspondent Martin Smith, Bradley Manning’s father, Brian Manning, talked for the first time about his son’s incarceration.

    MARTIN SMITH: You decided that you wanted to sit down and talk today because you want to complain publicly about the conditions of his imprisonment.

    BRIAN MANNING, father of Pvt. Bradley Manning: Yes.

    MARTIN SMITH: And those conditions are?

    BRIAN MANNING: Well, he’s being — his clothing is being taken away from him, and he’s being humiliated by having to stand at attention in front of people, male or female that I — as far as I know, you know, that are fully clothed.

    MARTIN SMITH: Who tells you that?

    BRIAN MANNING: I read it in the statement that was put out by his civilian attorney.

    I mean, this is someone that has not been — you know, gone to trial or been convicted of anything. And that’s prompted me to — you know, to come out and go forward. I mean, they worry about people down in — you know, in a base in Cuba, but here they are, have someone in, you know, on our own soil and under their own control, and they’re treating him this way.

    I mean, it’s — you know, I just can’t believe — you just can’t believe it. I mean, it’s shocking enough that I would come out of, you know, our silence, as a family, and say, you know, now then this — you know, you have crossed the line. This is wrong.

    KWAME HOLMAN: Today, the NewsHour asked the military for a response to Brian Manning’s assertions.

    A statement from the Department of Defense said in part: “The circumstances of PFC Manning’s pretrial confinement are regularly reviewed, and complies in all respects with U.S. law and Department of Defense regulations.

    “In recent days, as the result of concerns for PFC Manning’s personal safety, his undergarments were taken from him during sleeping hours. He was not made to stand naked for morning count, but on one day, he chose to do so. There were no female personnel present at the time. PFC Manning has since been issued a garment to sleep in at night. He is clothed in a standard jumpsuit during the day. None of the conditions under which PFC Manning is held are punitive in nature.”

    In his interview with “Frontline,” Brian Manning says he saw no signs of suicidal intentions in his son.

    MARTIN SMITH: How many times have you visited him?

    BRIAN MANNING: Approximately eight or nine times.

    MARTIN SMITH: During those visits, has he ever mentioned any complaint of any kind to you?

    BRIAN MANNING: No. I always, you know, am conscientious enough to look him straight in the eyes and ask him a direct question. How are they treating you? Are you sleeping? Is the food OK? And he’s always responded that: Things are just fine.

    MARTIN SMITH: How does he look?

    BRIAN MANNING: He looks good.

    MARTIN SMITH: And he doesn’t complain about being shackled?

    BRIAN MANNING: No. He doesn’t complain at all about anything.

    MARTIN SMITH: It wouldn’t be surprising for somebody in solitary confinement to be suffering a bit.

    BRIAN MANNING: Oh, I’m sure.

    MARTIN SMITH: It’s surprising to me that you described him as somebody who’s doing well.

    BRIAN MANNING: He comes across to me as doing well.

    MARTIN SMITH: He’s in solitary confinement. That’s tremendously difficult, psychologically and physically.

    BRIAN MANNING: I understand that.

    MARTIN SMITH: So, are you surprised that he’s doing as well as he is?

    BRIAN MANNING: I’m happy that he’s doing as well as he is.

    MARTIN SMITH: So, is there any reason that Bradley wouldn’t confide in you if things were tough for him there?


    KWAME HOLMAN: Brian Manning was himself in the service, the Navy, where he held a security clearance. Stealing and sharing classified information is wrong, he says, and the whole WikiLeaks situation angers him.

    But he told Martin Smith he does not believe his son did what the Army has accused him of doing.

    MARTIN SMITH: Does it surprise you that Bradley had access to this much information?


    MARTIN SMITH: And what will you say if it turns out that he leaked these documents?

    BRIAN MANNING: I don’t know. I mean, I’m not even — I’m not even letting those thoughts come into my head. I’m thinking positively.

    MARTIN SMITH: Is that always easy to do?


    MARTIN SMITH: You don’t think he had it in him to do this?

    BRIAN MANNING: I don’t think that the amount and the volume of things and the environment he worked in, no, I don’t think so.

    MARTIN SMITH: You don’t think it’s possible he — he could have had this kind of intent?

    BRIAN MANNING: I don’t know why he would do that. I — I really don’t.

    MARTIN SMITH: Was he patriotic?

    BRIAN MANNING: I don’t think he followed any regime of any kind.

    MARTIN SMITH: You don’t think he was a patriot of the United States?

    BRIAN MANNING: I imagine he was just as much as you and I.

    MARTIN SMITH: Well, you knew — he’s your son. You knew him. Was he patriotic?

    BRIAN MANNING: It never came up. I mean, he never said anything anti-American.

    MARTIN SMITH: He joined the Army.

    BRIAN MANNING: At my twisting his arm, yes.

    MARTIN SMITH: So, he joined the Army because you made him do it?

    BRIAN MANNING: I didn’t make him. I twisted his arm and urged him as much as a father can possibly urge somebody.

    MARTIN SMITH: He didn’t want to join the Army?

    BRIAN MANNING: No, he did not. And he had expressed that.

    MARTIN SMITH: Why did you make him — or why did you twist his arm to join the Army?

    BRIAN MANNING: Because he needed structure in his life. He was aimless. And I was going on my own experience. When I was growing up, that’s the only thing that, you know, put the structure in my life was by joining the Navy. And everything’s been fine since then.

    MARTIN SMITH: From talking to you, it doesn’t seem — I mean, you don’t wear your emotions on your sleeve. If you’re feeling something about his situation, I’m not hearing it.

    BRIAN MANNING: There’s a certain point, you know, when — you reach where you can either accept things, you know, and — and try and do as much as you possibly can, and then there’s no point in dwelling upon it.

    I mean, there relatively is nothing I can do at this point, except support him, you know, as a father would support a son that — that’s in this situation.

    MARTIN SMITH: But that’s a very rational answer. Emotions don’t respond to that kind of logic.

    BRIAN MANNING: Well, I guess I’m just a right-brained person. You know, I think logically.

    MARTIN SMITH: But you raised this kid. You played with him. Now he’s sitting in a prison…


    MARTIN SMITH: … facing severe penalties, very, very serious charges pending.

    BRIAN MANNING: That’s correct.

    MARTIN SMITH: I would guess that that is very hard to — to square.

    BRIAN MANNING: Well, as I said, once — once you make the — the — can rationalize it to the point is that they’re — as I said, they’re — all the things I could possibly do, you have done, OK, and just wait for the next move on the chessboard.

    I mean, all’s I can do is support him.


    Can I ask a question? How can Manning look fine and have no complaints according to his OWN DAD, yet I have the Professional Left swearing to me that he’s being tortured, possibly at the direction of the WH? Somebody’s lying and I doubt it’s the dad…

  82. This is so true BWD. And the President remains calm, methodical and full of grace, as he goes about tackling these problems. Yet, a vocal minority of people, who claim to be his base, are given so much air time to attack and denigrate him.

  83. This is amazing! So funny…PBO got jokes and they are spot on! Remember when all of those pundits said he didn’t have a sense of humor? It was at the beginning of his presidency when he and McCain gave speeches at some dinner. Everyone was talking about how McCain was naturally funny and not PBO. Many journos were still upset because they didn’t get a lot of access during the campaign…basically they don’t know him. Never have and still don’t…

  84. Good catch GN. Sometimes humor is the most potent vehicle in driving home the truth. The president has been “calmly” rejecting “illogical” ideas from the PL. The latest being their call that he drop everything to go to Wisconsin to lead a labor protest.

  85. Right, lol, or the dad’s an O-bot looking to institute torture at military prisons. Or…the main source of these torture allegations: Hamsher and Greenwald, perpetually overstate their various and many grievances against the WH and we have yet another instance in which they went waaaaaay overboard in terms of floating around a story of nefarious WH activity. I said at wsy, there’s person named shoq who maybe a month or two ago, raised a red flag by noting that these torture claims weren’t substantiated–they were just relentlessly promoted by Hamsher/Greenwald, but there was not a lot of independent verification for their statements. Hamsher went nuts on this guy, told him that she knows his real life identity and made some pretty bad accusations. If Manning’s father is telling the truth (and I really don’t see why he’d lie), this shoq guy was a thousand percent correct.

  86. I know truth hurts but I am so glad that you figured out their game:

    “They’re just trying to make money; they don’t really care in terms of genuine critique.”

    The sad thing, of course, is that many of their followers, who dish out the money, believe that these so called progressive leaders, like Jane Hamsher and Arrianna Huffington, are genuine and principled progressives.

  87. Yes, it’s not particularly surprising that it’s Greenwald and Hamsher who are leading this latest effort. The end is result is that they will FAIL, and their credibility will be pulled down yet another notch.

  88. He also gave a Gridiron speech when he was a Senator in 2006. It was equally funny!

    From the Chicago Sun-Times:

    Thank you very much:

    It’s great to be at the Gridiron dinner. Wow, What an extravaganza! Men in tails. Women in gowns. An orchestra playing, as folks reminisce about the good old days. Kind of like dinner at the Kerrys.

    Nice to see you Mr. President and Mrs. Bush. I think it takes a great spirit for the President, who we all know is an early riser, to sit here until midnight and hear himself lampooned, when he could be back at the White House enjoying a quiet, peaceful night, watching TV and approving secret wiretaps.

    I don’t see the Secretary of State is here tonight. You know, the President promised a muscular foreign policy. And anyone who’s seen the Condi Rice workout tapes knows he means business.

    The truth is, I’m terrified to be here. Not because you’re such a tough audience, but because they’re serving drinks, I’m standing about 30 yards from the Vice President, and…Mr. Vice President this is too easy!

    Mr. Vice President, I know you came here expecting to be a target, which, it turns out, may prove easier for you than shooting at one. But I do want to thank you: for years, we Democrats have succeeded in doing little more than shooting ourselves in the foot. You’ve taught us a valuable lesson: aim higher.

    There’s probably only one person more sick of these jokes than you… and that’s your wife. It’s an honor to share this stage with Lynne Cheney — a great personage in her own right. Scholar. Author. A few years ago she wrote a book called, “Telling the Truth,�? or as they call it in the Vice President’s office, “Telling the Truth-24 hours later.�?

    The Vice President and I do have one thing in common, we both married up. I want to acknowledge my wife, Michelle, who is here tonight. This is a true story: a friend sent me a clip about a new study by a psychologist at the University of Scotland, who says sex before a public speaking engagement actually enhances your oratorical powers. I showed this clip to Michelle, before we arrived here tonight. She looked it over, handed it back and said, “Do the best you can!�?

    This appearance is really the capstone of an incredible 18 months. I’ve been very blessed. Keynote speaker at the Democratic Convention. The cover of Newsweek. My book made the best-seller list. I just won a Grammy for reading it on tape. And I’ve had the chance to speak not once but twice before the Gridiron Club. Really what else is there to do? Well, I guess…. I could pass a law, or something…

    About that book, some folks thought it was a little presumptuous to write an autobiography at the age of 33, but people seemed to like it. So now I’m working on volume two-the Senate Months.

    My Remarkable Journey from 99th in Seniority to 98th.

    (With an introduction by Nelson Mandela.)

    Believe me, when you’re the last guy to ask questions at every committee hearing, you have plenty of time to collect your thoughts. Especially when Joe Biden’s on the committee.

    I’ll tell you, that Grammy was a big surprise. I thought, for sure, Jack Abramoff would win for his rendition of “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.”

    As I said, it’s great to be here speaking opposite Lynne Cheney. As you may know, Mrs. Cheney was a late substitution for Senator John McCain. And speaking of Senator McCain.

    This whole ethics thing has been an adventure. I was really excited when they asked me to be the lead Democratic spokesman. But I don’t know. Turns out, it’s a little like being given the Kryptonite concession at a Superman convention. I mean, how did I know it was a freshman hazing? It gets a little depressing. So as I sometimes do when I get a little down, I wrote a song. Maestro?

    (To the tune of “If I Only Had a Brain”)

    I’m aspiring to greatness, but somehow I feel weightless
    A freshman’s sad refrain
    I could be a great uniter, making ethics rules much tighter
    If I only had McCain

    I could bring us all together, no storm we couldn’t weather,
    We’d feel each other’s pain
    Red and blue wouldn’t matter, party differences would shatter
    If I only had McCain

    Oh why is it so hard, for honest men of good will to agree,
    If we ever found a way to strike a deal, would we survive… politically?

    When a wide-eyed young idealist, confronts a seasoned realist
    There’s bound to be some strain
    With the game barely started, I’d be feeling less downhearted
    If I only had McCain

    Still I hope for the better, though I may rewrite my letter
    Cause I gotta have McCain
    Needless to say, my Grammy was in the spoken word category!

    I should say that I really do get along well with Senator McCain. But as you know, not everyone in politics does. Because of his superstar status, his virtuous image, the kind of hero worship treatment he gets from all of you, some of my colleagues call John a prima donna. Me? I call him a role model. (Think of it as affirmative action. Why should the white guys be the only ones who are overhyped?)

    By the way, before I forget, raise your hand if Karl Rove didn’t tell you about Valerie Plame?

    You know, The Gridiron Club is an aging institution with a long, proud history, known today primarily for providing a forum for jokes. To some, that may sound like the Democratic Party.

    You hear this constant refrain from our critics that Democrats don’t stand for anything. That’s really unfair. We DO stand for anything.

    Some folks say the answer for the Democratic Party is to stop being so calculating, and start standing up for principle. In fact, Harry Reid’s appointed a task force to study this option.

    But really, they say our party doesn’t have ideas? We have ideas.

    Take John Edwards. He’s leading a new war on poverty… from his Chapel Hill estate. And he’s educating us. I had no idea there was so much poverty in New Hampshire!

    Speaking of New Hampshire, a lot of speculation that that 2008 campaign could come down to Senator McCain and Hillary Clinton. The thing I don’t think people realize is how much John and Hillary have in common: They’re both very smart. Both very hardworking. And they’re both hated by the Republicans!

    A lot of folks want to be President, but, I mean, wow, it really has been a rough period for you, Mr. President. I missed the Oscars, so when I picked up the paper the next morning and saw “Crash” in the headlines, I just assumed it was another Bush poll story.

    And how about that ports deal? I feel for you, sir. It’s tough getting trapped in a storm, when no one comes up to help!

    And then there’s the flap about global warming. You know, the Bush Administration’s been a little skeptical about the whole concept of global warming. It’s actually not the warming part they question. It’s the globe.

    The President was so excited about Tom Friedman’s book, The World is Flat. As soon as he saw the title, he said, “You see, I was right!”

    But when people say the administration is hostile to science, that’s really a bad rap. Just last week they asked for a hundred million dollars for the NIH to fund new research into leech therapy.

    I was told that this dinner is off-the record… no taping or recording of this event, unless, of course, secretly authorized by the President.

    I completely trust the President with that authority, by the way. But just out of an abundance of caution, and not implying anything, I’ve asked my staff to conduct all phone conversations in the Kenyan dialect of Luo.

    Truth is, this domestic spying has all kinds of useful applications for Homeland Security. And I have a suggestion, in this regard, Mr. President: You can spy on the Weatherchannel, and find out when big storms are coming.

    You all watch the winter Olympics? Mrs. Bush was there, representing our country, and that was great. I’m sure a lot of us in politics were following that figure skating, because we can identify with performers who spin wildly and sometimes fall on their butts.

    And the curling. Wasn’t that something? I hear Andy Stern from the SEIU loved the curling so much he’s trying to organize the sweepers.

    I also enjoyed that biathlon, where they ski and shoot at the same time. Probably not your sport, Mr. Vice President.

    Hey, it’s been great fun to be a part of this tonight. But before I go, I want to say a few words about the work you do.

    For a democracy to succeed and flourish, people must have full and free access to information about what’s going on in their world and, yes, in their government.

    The framers of the Constitution understood that, which is why the very first amendment deals with the indispensable freedoms of speech and press. Those rights, those freedoms, the access to information citizens absolutely require in a democratic society are no less important today.

    Pursuing that information is not always easy. Sometimes you meet resistance from powerful institutions that would sooner operate in secrecy. And sometimes, as in Iraq, you literally risk your lives to keep the American people informed.

    Tonight, even as we laugh together, I want to thank you for that important and often courageous work and extend my prayers to those journalists and their families who have made and continue to make great sacrifices to fulfill this essential mission.

    And most of all, I want to thank you for all the generous advance coverage you’ve given me in anticipation of a successful career. When I actually do something, we’ll let you know.

    Thanks for having me!

  89. srsly though, the ods seems to have completely fried the brains of the pl, teabaggers and the msm.

    Pahdon my french, fvck them all.

  90. But whatever challenges we face and however history unfolds, we rely on all of you — the press — to tell the story.

    Well, the president is too cracious but I’ll say it: the press is a joke. They went out of their way to cover the toilet paper party if they had 100 people at their rallies. Yet WI protests number in the fifty thousands and where are they?
    The whole “liberal” media description is just bullshit.

  91. Well said Jackie! As much as people hate this President, no honest person can ever, with a straight face, accuse him of “meanness.” Of course, no matter how considerate and graceful the President strives to be, I am sure there are people already sharpening their knives to attack him based on some passage in his speech that they will be able to spin to death.

  92. 2nd cosigning to GN. Enough of these self serving premature outrages from PL!

  93. gobrooklyn, you say: “Doesn’t matter if Crowley was right. He should have kept those opinions in house.” I have a slightly different opinion. I think It would matter if Crowley had direct evidence of the way Mr. Manning was treated, and had communicated that evidence to his superiors, who did nothing, before he went to the press. So far, I’ve not seen any evidence that Crowley had first hand knowledge concerning Manning’s treatment. For example: Did he visit Mr Bradley to find out the ways he was being mistreated? To me he seemed to be expressing an opinion rather than detailing what he actually knew, first hand, about the “stupid” treatment of Manning.

    I think that government officials who talk to the press have an obligation to state conclusions based on facts. I would definitely be concerned if a government official was fired for being a whistle blower because he tried to expose the misdeed of the government. However, I have yet to see Mr. Crowley state specific factual evidence to support his opinions about the treatment Manning is receiving. Until he does so, all this outrage from the PL is nothing but another excuse to attack the President.

  94. Wait a minute. Isn’t Cole dissing the PL ? So then, why is he being banished here ?

  95. So do I. Whether he’s being funny or serious, he’s one impressive President.

  96. If I had some, I would, too! Just reading sounds sooo-ooo ‘choice’ to me. Thank you SO MUCH for this!

  97. You know Tien Le, i truly share your sentiments. By the way, since I am a bit older I think I can share with you some other historical examples that illustrate the idiocy of people asking the President to go to Wisconsin to lead a labor protest so as to demonstrate his commitment to labor rights. Here are two examples that the PL bashers of the President need to ponder:

    1. In 1960-61 students launched” Sit-ins” and “Freedom-rides” movements to try to end racial segregation in the South. Obviously President Kennedy was opposed to segregation. Does that mean that President JFK should have gone to places like Memphis, Tennessee to participate in the sit-in movement to demonstrate his genuine support for integration? Or, should he have been one of the bus riders from D.C. to Jackson Mississippi? I suppose the same question could be asked about JFK with regard to the Albany, GA struggle of 1962, the Birmingham struggle of 1963; and the famous March on Washington in 1963. Since JFK did not participate in these Civil Rights struggles does that mean that JFK did no support Civil Rights?

    2. In 1966, in the wake of the attempted assassination of James Meredith, Civil Rights leaders, led by Dr. King, marched from Memphis, TN, to Jackson MS, to protest the denial of voting Rights to African Americans. President Lyndon B. Johnson, who is the darling of the PL who believe in the use of the “bully pulpit,” did not drop everything to go lead the voting rights protest. Does that mean that LBJ betrayed civil rights and black voting rights?

    I know I have asked this question before but it needs repeating: Why is President Obama being held to a different standard? I am glad you brought out the example of George W. Bush. But, focusing on just the Democratic presidents, can any one cite an example of when FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Jimmy Carter and Billl Clinton went out to participate in, or lead, any of the labor struggles, including strikes, during their presidency?

    I am sorry, but I cannot take seriously any one who thinks the President should have been in Madison, Wisconsin leading the protest. I am thankful that the adults in Wisconsin, who are intimately involved in the struggle, agree that the President should not have gone to Wisconsin because his presence would have derailed the genuinely people’s movement. Moreover, they appreciated the real and genuine support by the President for their cause; they were less interested in symbolic presidential theatrics that had the potential of undermining the cause they were struggling for.

  98. How is this dissing the PL? Maybe i lost something.

    You don’t screw with the national security state. They do what they want, and if you speak up, you just gotta go. So much for that team of rivals shit.

    And if you are wondering why we will stay in Afghanistan for as long as Obama is President, wonder no more. The mildest disagreement with the national security state and the war pig is cause for immediate dismissal

  99. Hi Carol,
    Other than the claims by Manning’s lawyer Greenwold, FDR, Cole, can you cite some objective sources to support your assertion that Manning’s treatment is “appalling?” I also would like to know if Manning’s treatment is so different from the treatment mated out to those accused of comparable crimes?

    It seems to me that people keep repeating that Manning is being treated horribly primarily based on claims by biased people who would rather focus on his treatment instead of the alleged crimes he is accused of committing.

  100. Pretty spicy stuff! Hard to believe that was only a few years ago. He must find it hard to always have to watch himself now, and not just to be able to let loose.

  101. GN:

    Thanks a million for posting this pbs interview with Manning’s father. Things have not been adding up with me either. You question is absolutely right on the mark? Another aspect of the father’s assertions that alerted me about the possibility the claims of torture are manufactured, purely for the purpose of attacking the president, was this gem:

    “MARTIN SMITH: You decided that you wanted to sit down and talk today because you want to complain publicly about the conditions of his imprisonment.

    BRIAN MANNING, father of Pvt. Bradley Manning: Yes.

    MARTIN SMITH: And those conditions are?

    BRIAN MANNING: Well, he’s being — his clothing is being taken away from him, and he’s being humiliated by having to stand at attention in front of people, male or female that I — as far as I know, you know, that are fully clothed.

    MARTIN SMITH: Who tells you that?

    BRIAN MANNING: I read it in the statement that was put out by his civilian attorney.”

    What really jumped at me is that Brian Manning bases his claim that his son is being mistreated not on his direct observations/experience from his visits with his son but on what he “read … in the statement that was put out by his civilian attorney.” Except for the attorney’s statement, the father never once said that he directly observed, or was told by his son, about the mistreatment/torture. Instead, as you pointed out, he says that his son “looks fine and have no complaints.”

    Here is my take. I think there are two angles driving this claim of the mistreatment/torture of Manning. First, I think Manning’s lawyers are trying to change the subject:they have probably concluded that they cannot mount an effective defense of the crime he is alleged to have committed, so, they would rather put the government on the defense by claiming mistreatment. Second, the PL, desperately in search of concrete evidence to prove that Obama is equal to, if not worse than, Bush, think they’ve found a story that they can easily manipulate, hoping that people will not pay attention to the facts of the case. The goal here is to stir up the emotions of people to ignore what Manning did and focus on how this evil Obama government is mistreating him.

    Thankfully there are alert people like you GN, on this incredible site, who are not easily fooled.

  102. Manning’s attorney seems to be a fierce advocate for his client and is looking to get a potential sentence reduced via claims of mistreatment. He’s going to spin every fart and loss of eyelash on the part of Manning as cause for him to get fewer years in jail. This is what lawyers do for criminal defendants like Manning. Doing their jobs. For people to take this and make just these ultra-serious accusations of torture—these people are really just gone in terms of a disgust with President Obama. They’re birthers at this point IMO.

  103. em bee, thanks for posting this speech. I missed it because I had stopped watching TV news. This speech should have altered every one about President Obama’s formidable intellect as well as his people skills. He made fun of other politicians but he also made fun of himself. I enjoyed reading this speech

  104. I agree with you TrumpDog. The President always tries to appeal for the “better angels” in people. Unfortunately the media is no longer interested in reporting truth. I even think that no matter how much love and respect Obama tries to give the corporate media, they always find away of attacking and denigrating him.

  105. Angry Black Lady posted this transcript the other day and what was scary to me was the number of people in comments who then tried to attack the father. They just pulled stuff out of the air about how he forced his son to join the military because he’s gay. They have no concrete evidence other than in that interview the father said something about pushing his son to join because he was “aimless.” Obviously that’s a code word *eye roll* Basically they were trying to disregard the father saying his son was “fine” by saying he obviously doesn’t have a close relationship with his son…smh

  106. I’ve been looking for hours for just some link that is simply just the facts and I haven’t found it yet. I have heard that the UN is checking into the allegations of his mistreatment, which considering what is happening elsewhere seems to be a big waste. There are doubtless many in Egypt and elsewhere that would want to put their stories on the record for possible accountability when the time comes.

    Nobody seems to dispute the basic assertion that Manning did do the leaks and talked about it, which is a crime in and of itself.

  107. No surprise. Those who are so frightened of their fellow Americans that they feel they need to have a firearm with them at all times to protect themselves are unlikely to be anything but mean.

  108. I think most of the frustrati have internalized outrage as a way of life and it doesn’t much matter who the President is. They are on a perpetual search to validate their rage and what better object for that than the most prominent person in the country? There is no reason to pay any attention to these people. I can’t imagine what their social, family and work lives are like.

  109. With all the needs in this country, I always found it truly sad that people actually donated money to these people. I never quite understood why as none of them have made any headway at all in achieving their “goals”. The political scene would look exactly the same as it does now even if they never existed (which for us they shouldn’t).

  110. Please, doing so would get in the way of their front-page stories about the incident. Or non-incident as it turns out. It was a set-up to justify the defunding public radio and television.

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