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Sep 29 2012

Thiessen Spreads Another Anti-Obama Lie

Marc Thiessen, the former Bush speechwriter and torture apologist who was inexplicably given a spot as a columnist for the Washington Post, is behind the currently popular lie that President Obama has “skipped more than half of his daily intelligence briefings.” Glenn Kessler, writing at the same paper, shows why this is nonsense:

The notion that Obama has skipped his intelligence briefings was promoted by a right-leaning research group called the Government Accountability Institute, which published a report detailing that the president’s daily calendar shows Obama receiving an in-person briefing on the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) 43.8 percent of his time in office. (The percentage dropped from a high of 48.8 percent in 2010 to 38.2 percent through May of 2012.)

Marc Thiessen, a former Bush speechwriter who writes an opinion column for The Washington Post, then drew attention to what he called the “startling new statistics” in the report. His column on the subject is cited as the source in the American Crossroads ad.

That column also includes the White House’s response — that Obama reads his PDB every day, but he does not always require an in-person briefing every day. The White House argument is that this is how Obama structured his White House operation, so it is specious to say he has “skipped” a meeting that was not actually scheduled.

Kessler points out that each president has had a different manner of receiving the daily intelligence briefing from the CIA. George W. Bush preferred to have a CIA official give him a verbal version of it, so he had such meetings every morning. Obama prefers to read the daily briefing and then ask follow up questions of the CIA when he has such questions. But every single morning, he receives the briefing and so does the senior national security staff, which meets to discuss it. Just another lie.

17 comments

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  1. 1
    garnetstar

    That Obama knows how to read is just another indication that he’s a Commie academic elitist.

    If he was a true American, he would be illiterate, like Bush.

  2. 2
    slc1

    The fact that a piece of filth like Thiessen is given a column in a paper like the Washington Post is an insult to the newspaper profession. Of course, the fact that the paper’s editorial page editor, Fred Hyatt allows Thiessen to lie on his page shouldn’t be surprising. Hyatt also allows George Will to lie about global climate change and prints the crap of Jennifer Rubin and Charles Krauthammer. Hyatt is a disgrace to the newspaper profession, no better then Karl Rove and Rupert Murdock.

  3. 3
    Zeno

    I guess Bush needed to be told things (and was accustomed by his handlers to this mode of instruction), while Obama is able to read briefing documents for himself. Since literacy is apparently anti-American (as evidenced by numerous Tea-Party posters), Obama stands condemned!

  4. 4
    thebookofdave

    “George W. Bush preferred to have a CIA official give him a verbal version of it, so he had such meetings every morning.”

    That had to be a compromise process. It probably wasn’t Dubya’s preferred method of getting his PDB. I could hardly imagine the difficulties of even a fully staffed comic illustration studio releasing these reports in a timely manner, though.

  5. 5
    Modusoperandi

    You do know that they’re written in Arabic, right?
    Now, I’m not making accusations. I’m just asking questions, that’s all.

  6. 6
    Dr X

    I guess Bush needed to be told things (and was accustomed by his handlers to this mode of instruction)

    Bush also used a briefing coloring book. It helped him remember things.

  7. 7
    david

    Even with Bush being told the contents, he didn’t retain the information and act on it.

  8. 8
    Modusoperandi

    Dr X “Bush also used a briefing coloring book. It helped him remember things.”
    Now you’re just being ridiculous. It was a pop-up book.

  9. 9
    tommykey

    My cousin’s husband, who is a real Obama hater, posted something about this on Facebook recently. The other was taking Obama to task for going on The View instead of meeting with foreign leaders at that UN thing here in NY recently. Looks like the picture of Obama that the right is trying to disseminate is that of a lazy president who would rather go to fundraisers and hang out with celebrities than doing his job as president.

  10. 10
    yoav

    I’m confused now, I thought the whole point of Obama using his time machine to go back and forge his birth certificate was so he can get his muslim claws on the intelligence briefing and destroy murka.

  11. 11
    TCC

    George W. Bush preferred to have a CIA official give him a verbal version of it, so he had such meetings every morning. Obama prefers to read the daily briefing and then ask follow up questions of the CIA when he has such questions.

    Must…resist…urge…to…nitpick…

    Okay, I give: Both versions are verbal, but only one is oral. (And yes, I know that the word is beginning to gain that usage.)

  12. 12
    kantalope

    Oh I hope people will still read this: I get to plug one of my favorite podcasts. Spycast from the Spy Museum. They have a podcast that is right on topic http://www.spymuseum.org/spycasts/intelligence-and-presidency . Some Presidents like things written, some Presidents like things presented. Some like the combo. As for Cousin’s husbands…what can you do? But do check out the podcast they cover all kinds of interesting things.

    How about presidential vacation: http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/7127735-418/obamas-vacation-ripped-but-hes-taken-less-time-off-than-bush.html

    But since that is lamestream cousin’s husbands won’t believe it or they’ll explain that Obama is playing golf..W was clearing brush and that is totally different.

  13. 13
    dingojack

    TCC – *ahem*

    “Usage note
    3, 4. Verbal has had the meaning “spoken” since the late 16th century and is thus synonymous with oral: He wrote a memorandum to confirm the verbal agreement. Slightly earlier, verbal had developed the meaning “expressed in words, whether spoken or written (as opposed to actions)”: Verbal support is no help without money and supplies.
    Although some say that the use of verbal to mean “spoken” produces ambiguity, it rarely does so. Verbal is used in this sense in all varieties of speech and writing and is fully standard. The context usually makes the meaning clear: No documents are necessary; a verbal agreement (or contract or order ) will suffice. Oral can be used instead of verbal if the context demands: My lawyer insists on a written contract because oral agreements are too difficult to enforce”.

    Sorry to spoil your hunt for the egg-cases of lice.

    Dingo

  14. 14
    sunsangnim

    And Reagan needed videos that look like they were designed for 7th grade students.

  15. 15
    Michael Heath

    sunsangnim writes:

    And Reagan needed videos that look like they were designed for 7th grade students.

    I find this perfectly analogous to conservatives who absurdly claim President Obama’s rhetoric is merely the product of his reading a teleprompter. Probably because such assertions come from the same type of thinking and ideological/partisan-dominated point of reference.

  16. 16
    Modusoperandi

    Michael Heath “I find this perfectly analogous to conservatives who absurdly claim President Obama’s rhetoric is merely the product of his reading a teleprompter. Probably because such assertions come from the same type of thinking and ideological/partisan-dominated point of reference.”
    To be fair, Michael Heath, Reagan did prefer briefings delivered in a manner that he could shoot with his Captain Power Powerjet XT-7 lightgun.

  17. 17
    tbp1

    You know, you could probably write a post with that headline every day, and just fill in the details.

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