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White House 'birther' strategy backfires

Posted By Les Kinsolving On 05/03/2011 @ 12:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

It was the April 27 Fox News headline in a news report that quoted Obama press secretary Jay Carney’s public rebuking of CNN’s Ed Henry, during a White House daily news briefing.

Carney’s denunciation of Henry was as follows:

“What do you think, Ed? It’s a distraction. This is a settled issue. The birth certificate online is the same certificate you get to get a driver’s license. Anyone born in Hawaii gets the same thing the campaign and the White House have provided to the press.

“I just think this is a distraction, an unfortunate distraction from the issues most Americans care about. Anyone watching this exchange would be appalled that this is what concerns us when so many issues are facing us.”

Think about that.

Then consider what happened “just one day after his press secretary upbraided a reporter for even asking about such a thing”:

“President Obama reversed course today and answered critics, led by reality show host Donald Trump, who have called for him to release his original birth certificate. …

“The new document doesn’t seem to reveal anything to contradict Obama’s claims. But the very fact that the president will have to answer Trump must be very galling. Remember the longtime argument offered by the administration against releasing the document was that it would still not satisfy conspiracy theorists and doing so would only encourage them to make further demands.”

All of this evokes a number of questions:

  1. Why did Obama fail to notify press secretary Carney of his intent to completely undercut and undermine Carney’s public and angry rebuke of CNN’s Ed Henry’s very legitimate question?

  2. If press secretary Carney had any advance information that Obama was going to release the new birth certificate, can anyone imagine Carney so rebuking CNN for asking about it – without resorting to inexcusable misleading of the national media and the people of the United States?
  3. If press secretary Carney was being entirely forthright in his rebuke of CNN, then he must have been denied any information about that new birth certificate. If that presidential denial – of enormously important information to his top spokesman – is what happened, how can spokesman Carney ever recover any of the credibility that is so important in the White House dealings with this nation’s free press?
  4. Why did it take so long (more than two years) for the Obama administration to reveal this latest birth certificate to the American people?
  5. How much in legal fees did President Obama spend in resisting legal efforts concerning his birth certificate?
  6. Is the governor of Hawaii (who claimed he just couldn’t find this new birth certificate) grateful that the president has, at last, relieved him of this search problem?

All this brings to memory my covering the White House in the last year of the presidency of Richard Nixon – and watching the obvious desperation of press secretary Ron Ziegler.


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