After four years of pampering media support, the floundering Obama campaign seems stunned into inactivity in light of the stunning revelations about White House orders to SEALs to “stand down” DURING the 7 hour battle in Libya on September 11 of this year. (Cowardly orders to “stand down”) The soon to be former President Obama had a blank faced stunned non-reaction when LOCAL media twice tried to ask the President simple and straight-forward questions about the source of those “stand down” orders. Watch one of these interviews and watch the non-answers that flow from Mr. Obama’s mouth:
The Obama campaign, just like the Obama Administration, is simply not prepared to deal with anything but a completely fawning and supportive media. One of the toughest problems for the Romney campaign has been the uneven playing field in which the Obama campaign can make ridiculous and unfounded accusations about Governor Romney without repercussion, such as the infamous “Romney killed my wife” ad where the claim is made that because Governor Romney closed a steel plant it caused this poor man’s wife to lose her health insurance just before she developed terminal cancer which took her life. Watch the ad for yourself and keep the “facts” in the video in mind:
This would have been a compelling accusation against Governor Romney if only ANY of the stated facts had actually been true instead of a set of straight out lies. First, Governor Romney had left Bain Capital years before the steel plant had been shut down so regardless of what else is said about the plant closure, Governor Romney had nothing to do with it. (Video lies) Second, the poor woman did not “lose” her insurance at all, she voluntarily changed coverage unrelated with the eventual plant closure. (Video lies) As vicious as politics have always been, I dare anyone to give me another instance when one Presidential campaign accused the opposing candidate of murder.
With an even-handed media the lies in this video would have been exposed in micro-seconds and the Obama campaign would have had to spend significant time and resources explaining away this unprecedented immoral set of lies. Instead, what was the reporting from ABC, NBC and CBS on what should have been a huge story? Nothing but crickets.
When finally confronted with the complete and intentional lies in the ad, the Obama Administration claimed that they had no control over the PAC that issued the ad (legally true), had nothing to do with it and had no advance knowledge that it was being released. Points two and three are blatant lies by the Obama campaign. Listen to this tape of a conference call featuring Deputy Obama Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter and the accuser Mr. Soptic:
Ms. Cutter appeared on CNN the FOLLOWING week and stated among other things, that “I don’t know the facts” about the case of Joe Soptic. (CNN Interview) She lied directly and intentionally.
Why am I making such a big deal about the difference in media handling of Governor Romney and President Obama? First, it makes a huge difference in time and resources. Obama and his PACs can spend a few dollars cobbling together a set of horrible allegations (accusing Romney of murder) that have no truth or merit forcing Romney to spend two full weeks and valuable campaign resources explaining that the ridiculous allegations are lies. Secondly, through these deceitful actions, President Obama’s campaign was able to move the discussion off of the President’s complete failure to improve the economy or create jobs.
This combination of false accusations and deflecting strategy worked extremely well right up until the first debate. After having seen Governor Romney painted as the evil villain for the past six months the country saw that he was actually a nice guy that was pretty smart and very Presidential. Obama’s complete failure at that debate deflated his normally supportive media allowing folks to actually listen to arguments about President Obama’s continued failures with the economy. This combination of establishing Romney as “Presidential” and the real examination of Obama’s failed policies led to a huge perceived swing in poling margins and established Governor Romney as the front-runner. (I say perceived because I think the polls were not reflective of real public opinion – see “Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics (pt 2) – Polls“)
Fast forward to the Libyan crisis. Americans are pretty tolerant of a lot of things including become almost insensitive to outright lies used in the political process. What Americans WILL NOT tolerate is someone who is unpatriotic or cowardly. As the devastating facts continue to emerge from Libyan crisis even the normally fawning national media realize that the best that they can do is nothing. They cannot defend the President’s actions for fear of losing viewers that will tolerate a lot, but will boycott the media if they believe the media is supporting unpatriotic actions. This silence at the national media level (except Fox) is creating a void that is allowing local and regional media to go on the offensive leaving the President vulnerable to attack.
After facing tough questions like “Do you think that speech you just gave will go down as one of the great speeches in history?” the President has not been toughened and is not prepared to face an even mildly hostile media. He is also one of the most arrogant men in history with a tendency to lecture those that deign to disagree with him, a posture that does not play well in the last days of the election.
With the wind of momentum in his face, the President is in an almost impossible position. To really have an impact on the campaign he must be fully engaged using his two biggest assets, his charisma and a willing media to pass along his “message.” Implementation of that strategy requires that he expose himself to questions about actions that for all the world look cowardly and unpatriotic something that would be fatal to the campaign. This conundrum explains the campaign’s current inertia and stagnation. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy at a better time.