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Obama in Afghanistan: US Military “Does Not Quit Once It Starts On Something”

March 28th, 2010 by AHFF Geoff

President Barack Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan to visit with American troops and Afghan President Hamid Karzai

President Barack Obama did an excellent job of firing up the troops and praising the American mission to crush Al-Queda in Afghanistan and elsewhere during his speech today at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.   It is indeed a pleasant experience to see the President articulate a strong American will to fight and win the war on terror.  Obama did repeat four or five times that he would “never” put American troops in “harm’s way” unless it was “absolutely necessary”, which appeared to be an unnecessary slap at former President George W. Bush and the now-successful mission in Iraq, which of course Obama did not consider “absolutely necessary.”

Obama also properly pointed toward the 9/11 attacks as the motivating force behind the American mission in Afghanistan, and the President deserves credit for strongly stating these pro-American positions in front of our nation’s troops in Afghanistan and for saying “thank you” on behalf of Americans to our troops.

However, the President made a curious comment, starting at about the 11:20 mark on the this video of his speech today, about how the America “does not quit once it starts on something“:

“We face a determined enemy, but we also know this. The United States of America does not quit once it starts on something. You don’t quit, the American armed services does not quit, we keep at it, we persevere, and together with our partners, we will prevail, I am absolutely confident of that.”

Obama here sounds an awful lot like President George W. Bush in 2006, 2007 and 2008 when discussing the need to “stay the course” and win the war in Iraq. Indeed, Obama’s comment about how America “does not quit” once the country engages in a battle overseas is quite jarring when compared to candidate Obama’s campaigning throughout America for two years calling for a quick withdrawal from Iraq without a military victory there over Al-Queda and the insurgents.   Here is a portion of Obama’s January 2007 speech, which kicked off his campaign for President, advocating a military withdrawal from Iraq by March 2008, which of course did not occur:

But all of this cannot come to pass until we bring an end to this war in Iraq. Most of you know I opposed this war from the start. I thought it was a tragic mistake. Today we grieve for the families who have lost loved ones, the hearts that have been broken, and the young lives that could have been. America, it’s time to start bringing our troops home. It’s time to admit that no amount of American lives can resolve the political disagreement that lies at the heart of someone else’s civil war. That’s why I have a plan that will bring our combat troops home by March of 2008. Letting the Iraqis know that we will not be there forever is our last, best hope to pressure the Sunni and Shia to come to the table and find peace.

Obama also famously stated in 2007 that the Bush surge would not work and would instead by counterproductive, which, of course, was a mistaken view that Obama pushed for years across the country campaigning for President:

I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse.

Ironically, despite his above-referenced political attacks in 2007-8 upon President Bush for ordering the surge and his active opposition to then-President Bush’s surge plan, today Obama stated that while “politics at home may look a little messy” there is “no daylight [between Democrats and Republicans] when it comes to support of all of you” and “no daylight when it comes to supporting our troops“. While these sentiments are indeed correct, the GOP strongly supports the Afghanistani mission to eliminate the Al-Queda threat, his comments today are quite jarring when compared to the President’s own actions and statements in 2007 where he created a giant shaft of daylight between himself and President Bush regarding the American troops in the field in Iraq at the time.

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Post-Obamacare Collapse: Obama 46% Approval Matches All-Time Low in Gallup

March 28th, 2010 by AHFF Geoff

After last week's historic passage of the Obamacare package, President Obama approval today matches the all-time low of his Presidency: 46%

In another crushing blow to the “conventional wisdom” of the establishment media that because “Americans love winners” President Barack Obama would receive a large, sustained bounce in approval after last week’s passage of Obamacare, today Gallup released its daily approval numbers showing Obama at only 46% approval, with 46% disapproving. Obama’s 46% approval in Gallup represents a matching of Obama’s all-time low in approval. While Obama did peak at 51% mid-week after the passage of Obamacare, he has now lost that entire bounce and is at the low of his Presidency, which completely repudiates the “conventional wisdom” in the establishment media.

Further, Rasmussen’s numbers this morning confirm this dissipation of any alleged “bounce” from the passage of Obamacare, with Rasmussen finding Obama’s approval numbers now at the same level as before the passage of Obamacare:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 28% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-four percent (44%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -16 (see trends).

The President enjoyed a modest bounce in the polls following the passage of health care legislation last week. However, his Approval Index rating is now back to where it was last Sunday, just before the House voted in favor of his health care plan. All the bouncing of the past week has come among Democrats. There has been virtually no change in the opinions of Republicans and unaffiliated voters.

White House spokesman is sure to face questions about this post-Obamacare collapse in the President’s approval ratings, as Gibbs himself last week tweeted out the Gallup one-day poll on Obamacare as a truthful and reliable indicator of the public’s views.

This continued collapse in Obama’s approval, with an all-time low of 46% in Gallup and a near all-time high in Rasmussen of 44% strong disapproval today, demonstrates the failure of the Democratic strategy to smear the tea party as racist extremists as well. Indeed, ABC/WaPo’s numbers this morning show the tea party is favorably viewed by the American public, despite this smear campaign by the Democrats and the establishment media. Numbers such as these are sure to encourage the Republicans to continue to attack the Obamacare package as a historic mistake and ensure that the cry of “replace and repeal” is heard in every congressional race across the nation in the leadup to the November 2010 elections.

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ABC/WaPo: Obamacare Remains Unpopular, Tea Party Favorable to Americans While Public Rejects Obama Talking Points by Large Margin

March 28th, 2010 by AHFF Geoff

President Obama cannot like the new ABC/WaPo Poll that shows Obamacare remains unpopular and about 2/3 of Americans do not believe his health care talking points

In a final debunking of the spurious Gallup poll being used by the White House and establishment media to “prove” that Americans turned on a dime to now “support” Obamacare, ABC News and the Washington Post put out a new poll this morning which unequivocally evidences that Americans remain opposed to Obamacare:

In the days since President Obama signed the farthest-reaching piece of social welfare legislation in four decades, overall public opinion has changed little, with continuing broad public skepticism about the effects of the new law and more than a quarter of Americans seeing neither side as making a good-faith effort to cooperate on the issue.

Overall, 46 percent of those polled said they support the changes in the new law; 50 percent oppose them. That is virtually identical to the pre-vote split on the proposals and similar to the divide that has existed since last summer, when the country became sharply polarized over the president’s most ambitious domestic initiative.

The health-care debate galvanized the country to a remarkable extent. About a quarter of all adults say they tried to contact their elected representatives in Congress about health care in recent months, including nearly half of those who say they are “angry” about the changes. In general, opponents of the measure were more than twice as likely as supporters to say they had made the effort.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll found a full 50% of Americans oppose the Democratic health care reform package, while an astounding 40% of Americans “strongly oppose” Obamacare, which matches the all-time high found by this poll in “strong” opposition. The only change since the passage of the bill is a bit of a rally effect of Democrats, with strong support for Obamacare rising to 32%:
8. On another subject: overall, given what you know about them, would you say you support or oppose the changes to the health care system that have been enacted by (Congress) and (the Obama administration)? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

……………….——– Support ——–         ——— Oppose ——–               No
………..NET Strongly Somewhat ……..NET Somewhat Strongly ……opinion
3/26/10 46           32                    13              50            10                  40                4
2/8/10* 46           22                   25              49             11                  38                 5
1/15/10 44            22                   22              51             12                  39                 5
*2/8/10 and prior: “proposed changes…that are being developed by”

This polling will finally put to rest the untoward and fraudulent efforts of the Obama Administration and establishment media to use the outlier, one-day Gallup poll showing Americans approve of Obamacare by a 49%-40% margin as it will be difficult to credibly claim that one-day poll, which stands alone showing a major bounce in approval for Obamacare post-passage, is at all realistic. Another interesting tidbit from this morning’s poll is that Americans are more likely to vote for a Congressperson who opposes Obamacare than one who supports Obamacare by 6%-8% margin:

24. Say a candidate for Congress voted FOR the changes to the health care system recently enacted by (Congress) and (the Obama administration). Would that make you more likely to [support] that candidate for Congress, more likely to [oppose] that candidate, or wouldn’t it make much difference in your vote? (IF SUPPORT/OPPOSE) Are you much more likely to support/oppose that candidate or somewhat more?

………………..—- Support —-            —- Oppose —–               No        No
…………………..NET Much Smwt       NET Smwt Much          diff.     opinion
3/26/10                26      16          9               32         6           27               40              2
3/26/10 RV        27      17           9               35         5          29               36               2
1/15/10*              22      12          10             31          7          24               45               2
11/15/09             25      13          12             29         8         20               45                1

Separately, the poll is slightly skewed regarding party ID, showing the Democrats with a 10 point partisan ID edge, which is probably at least a few points over reality, and the largest gap reported by this poll since November, showing the GOP at just 24%, which is somewhat counter-intuitive as the GOP has gained steam in recent months by riding the public’s opposition to health care reform.

Nonetheless, even with that skew, this ABC News/Washington Post poll conclusively proves that the “conventional wisdom” of Democrats and the establishment media that Obamacare would magically transform into popular legislation upon passage was and is completely false.  Even the left-leaning WaPo’s writeup on the poll admits that opponents are much more intense than supporters.

Despite the best efforts of the establishment media and Democrats to smear the tea party as racists, extremists and terrorists, Americans view the tea party positively (41%-39%), an improvement from February 2010 (35%-40%) according to this poll.

It would be interesting to know what the partisan leanings of the 20% with “no opinion” on the tea party now are, to determine if the tea party has room to continue to grow in favorability or is reaching its peak.

Finally, this polling also conclusively proves that Americans believe President Obama is lying about the Obamacare legislation every time he speaks of it, with large majorities believing Obamacare will weaken Medicare (not strengthen it), increase the deficit (not “historically” reduce it), worsen the quality of care (not improve it) and finally that many will lose their present plan or doctor (not “if you like your plan, you can keep it”):

More people see the changes as making things worse, rather than better, for the country’s health-care system, for the quality of their care and, among the insured, for their coverage. Majorities in the new poll also see the changes as resulting in higher costs for themselves and for the country.

Most respondents said reform will require everyone to make changes, whether they want to or not; only about a third said they believe the Democrats’ contention that people who have coverage will be able to keep it without alterations. And nearly two-thirds see the changes as increasing the federal budget deficit, with few thinking the deficit will shrink as a result. The Congressional Budget Office said the measure will reduce the deficit.

About half of all poll respondents said the plan creates “too much government involvement” in the health-care system, a concern that is especially pronounced among Republicans.

Senior citizens, who typically make up about one in five midterm voters, represent a particularly valuable but tough audience on this issue. More than six in 10 of those 65 or older see a weaker Medicare system as a result of the changes to the health-care system. Overall, seniors tilt heavily against the changes, with 58 percent opposed and strong opponents outnumbering strong supporters by a 2-to-1 ratio.

All told, it is clear from this ABC News/Washington Post poll, and all other post-Obamacare passage polls other than the spurious one-day Gallup poll hyped by the White House and media, that Americans simply aren’t buying what President Obama and the Democrats are selling regarding their massive new comprehensive health care reform plan. It will be interesting to see if these poll results change the “conventional wisdom” in Washington that continues to linger in the establishment media that Obamacare is somehow transformed into a popular piece of legislation because of its passage.

UPDATE: Ed at Hotair notes the depressing news for Democrats from this poll, even with the partisan ID skew, and the overwhelmingly negative ratings Obama receives on his next big focus: immigration.

With the WaPo survey oversampling by at least five points and perhaps as much as seven, it’s not too surprising to see Obama get a 53/43 approval rating in this poll. It should dismay Democrats to see ObamaCare still losing ground even after the Post had to amp up the partisan gap four extra points from the last survey. The other issue approval ratings won’t be much comfort, either:

* Health care – underwater, 48/49
* Economy – seriously underwater, 45/52, with 40% strongly disapproving
* Budget deficit – 43/52

Interestingly, Obama’s worst issue by far is immigration. Only 33% approve of his handling of immigration issues, while 43% disapprove, 28% strongly so. Obama has expressed interest in taking on immigration with the ObamaCare fight mainly over, but these numbers suggest that he may want to wait until after the midterm elections.

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Democrats & Media Try To Shift Obamacare Opinion with Shaky one-day Gallup Poll

March 27th, 2010 by AHFF Geoff

The establishment media and the Obama Administration have been hyping Gallup's one-day poll taken the day after Obamacare's passage and ignoring all other polling data, which explicitly contradict those Gallup results

As many are undoubtedly already aware, the polling outfit Gallup, as well as all Democrats and establishment media, have been pushing a one-day poll done on Monday, March 22, 2010, the day after the House of Representatives’ historic passage of Obamacare, to “prove” that American opinion simply shifted overnight to support Obamacare by a 9 point margin, 49%-40%.  Anyone who has seen Gallup boss Frank Newport interviewed or read a Gallup release is well aware of the left-leaning nature of Newport’s views. As will be described in detail below, this over-reliance on a one-day poll, taken on perhaps the most positive media day for the Obama Administration ever, appears to be an attempt by the Democrats and the establishment media to actually shift public opinion in America in favor of Obamacare based on a poll that is dubious at best.

The Obama Administration, Democratic politicians and the establishment media have been harping on the one-day Gallup poll showing Americans approved of the House’s actions by a 49%/40% margin since Tuesday and up to and including today, as Gallup trumpets favorable polling to Obama on its front page asking whether Obamacare was a “good first step” or not and cable networks continue to discuss the Monday poll. Amazingly, the media and the Democrats continue to trumpet these one-day results from Monday nearly a week after the poll was taken while Gallup fails to do any further polling on this issue.  This conduct clearly begs the question: why not continue the polling on Tuesday and Wednesday to do a proper three day sample? Perhaps the left-leaning Gallup obtained the results it and its left-wing allies wanted on Monday and feared a dilution of the outlier results obtained on Monday with additional days of polling, which, of course, would have enhanced the accuracy and reliability of the polling overall.

Many factors point towards a conclusion that this one-day Gallup poll is an outlier at best or an manufactured result at worst, as every other poll released since the House vote has shown Obamacare remaining unpopular with Americans, clearly contradicting the one-day Gallup results.   For instance, Quinnipiac did a poll over two days, March 22 and 23, demonstrating that Obamacare remained quite unpopular with Americans, with 49% opposing and only 40% in favor (the exact opposite of Gallup’s findings). That same Quinnipiac post-Obamacare poll showed President Obama at the low of his Presidency for approval, 45%, which is “President Obama’s worst grades so far, tying his 45 – 46 percent approval February 11.”  It certainly defies belief that Obama himself would be less popular overall (45%) than his signature initiative which has been his primary focus for his entire Presidency so far (49%, according to Gallup’s one-day sample).    Indeed, today Gallup itself shows Obama’s approval is down to 48%, again casting doubt on the legitimacy of their one-day poll on Obamacare approval.

Bloomberg's Poll Found Obamacare remains unpopular with "no meaningful movement of opinion the final night of interviewing, after the vote was taken“, explicitly contradicting Gallup's findings

Another post-Obamacare poll which casts serious doubt upon Gallup’s one-day polling results is from Bloomberg News, which noted in its release of a March 19-22, 2010 poll that the final day of polling, the same day in which Gallup’s one-day poll was in the field, showed “Americans remain skeptical” of Obamacare with “no meaningful movement of opinion the final night of interviewing, after the vote was taken“:

Americans remain skeptical about the health-care overhaul even after the U.S. House passed landmark legislation that promises to provide access to medical coverage for tens of millions of the uninsured.

At the same time, most say the government should play a role in ensuring everyone has access to affordable care, a Bloomberg National Poll shows. A majority also agree that health care is a private matter and consider the new rules approved by Congress to be a government takeover.

The poll found the percentage of Americans who favor the almost $1 trillion 10-year plan remained at about just four in 10 following the House vote on March 21 to send the bill to President Barack Obama, who signed it into law today.

The poll of 1,002 adults was conducted March 19-22 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent. There was no meaningful movement of opinion the final night of interviewing, after the vote was taken.

Of course, the Bloomberg and Quinnipiac findings received little to no attention from the establishment media or Democrats, who were busy pushing the one-day Gallup poll in every possible medium. Also, Rasmussen polling, which was nearly alone in correctly calling the New Jersey Governor’s race for Chris Christie (R-NJ)  and came within one point of calling the exact final results of the 2008 Presidential election, found that by a 55%/42% margin Americans want Obamacare repealed, with independents favoring repeal by a massive 59%/35% margin:

Just before the House of Representatives passed sweeping health care legislation last Sunday, 41% of voters nationwide favored the legislation while 54% were opposed. Now that President Obama has signed the legislation into law, most voters want to see it repealed.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, conducted on the first two nights after the president signed the bill, shows that 55% favor repealing the legislation. Forty-two percent (42%) oppose repeal. Those figures include 46% who Strongly Favor repeal and 35% who Strongly Oppose it.

In terms of Election 2010, 52% say they’d vote for a candidate who favors repeal over one who does not. Forty-one percent (41%) would cast their vote for someone who opposes repeal.

Not surprisingly, Republicans overwhelmingly favor repeal while most Democrats are opposed. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 59% favor repeal, and 35% are against it.

Apparently Gallup would have us believe independents support Obamacare by a 46%/45% margin, despite Rasmussen’s findings, from a more reliable two day sample, that independents favor repeal by a whopping 24 point margin (59%-35%).  Finally, CBS News did a two-day poll after Obamacare’s passage which showed Obamacare underwater by a 42%/46% margin and finding that “nearly two in three Americans want Republicans in Congress to continue to challenge parts of the health care reform bill.” Obviously, when 2/3 of Americans desire continued GOP resistance to the implementation of Obamacare, it is spurious to claim that Obamacare has magically transformed overnight into a popular piece of legislation.

Was USA Today Carrying Water for the Obama Administration when it hyped a one-day Gallup poll on its front page this week despite other polling data which explicitly contradicted Gallup's findings?

Despite four other pollsters directly repudiating the results of the one-day Gallup poll showing Obamacare favored by the public by a 49%/41% margin, the establishment media continues to this day to trumpet the one-day Gallup poll to “prove” that Americans now support the Obamacare package. Epitomizing the establishment media’s extraordinary over-reliance upon this one-day Gallup poll, national newspaper USA Today used its entire front page above the fold on Wednesday to push the idea that Obamacare has suddenly become popular, literally overnight, based on the single day of Gallup polling. Of course, USA Today makes no mention of the contradictory Bloomberg results in its “objective” report on Americans’ views on Obamacare on Wednesday. It appears that the establishment media and Democrats are attempting to push low information voters who are not paying close attention into supporting Obamacare by bombarding such voters with the message that Obamacare is now favored by most Americans.

White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs Strongly Pushed the one-day Gallup Poll showing Obamacare to be popular, despite previously slamming day to day fluctuations in Gallup polling as "meaningless"

Further, the Obama Administration has happily pushed the Gallup poll as hard as it could, with senior White House spokeman Robert Gibbs going so far as to tweet out a link to the poll while saying this:

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, amid the glee of the healthcare bill signing Tuesday, tweeted @PressSec “In the polling obsessed town of Washington, DC this will give the nattering nabobs of negativity something to chew on” with a link to a story about the USA Today/Gallup poll that said 49 percent vs. 40 percent saw passage of the bill as “a good thing.”

Gibbs wrapped the Obama Administration up into the “credibility” of the one-day Gallup poll despite having specifically slammed Gallup’s polling as unreliable on a day to day basis several months ago, calling such daily fluctuations “meaningless” then:

The White House lashed out at the Gallup Poll on Tuesday after the survey’s daily tracking numbers showed President Obama’s approval rating dropping to a new low of 47 percent.

Asked for a response to Monday’s tracking poll, which placed Obama’s approval numbers among the lowest of any recent president in December of his first year in office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs mocked the reliability of the widely respected polling firm.

“I tell you, if I was a heart patient and Gallup was my EKG, I’d visit my doctor,” Gibbs said. “If you look back, I think five days ago, there was an 11-point spread, now there’s a 1-point spread. I mean, I’m sure a 6-year-old with a crayon could do something not unlike that. I don’t put a lot of stake in, never have, in the EKG that is the daily Gallup trend.”

He added: “I don’t pay a lot of attention to the meaninglessness of it.”

For the White House, it appears, Gallup’s daily one-day samples are “meaningless” and comparable to what a “6-year-old with a crayon” would do, unless, of course, that one-day sample supports the Obama Administration. Then, as Gibbs tweeted out after the publication of the full, front page USA Today story on the Gallup numbers, Gallup’s one-day sample should be treated as irrefutable truth that “will give the nattering nabobs of negativity something to chew on.” Such explicit hypocrisy and doublespeak from the Obama Administration has gone completely un-noted in the past week by the media, and it falls to a tiny centrist blog such as this one to point out the objective facts surrounding this matter.

Indeed, most pollsters agree that one-day polls are less reliable than samples taken over several days because of the natural variability of the polling sample obtained in any given day, which of course is smoothed out by having multiple days of polling.   ABC News, another left-leaning pollster, explains this “night to night variability” in its polling experience:

Our practice is informed by the fact that, in all our polling, we see night-to-night variability in party ID that appears to represent trendless sampling variability rather than actual changes in partisan self-identification.

Gallup, of course, did not release its methods in weighting, or not weighting, the data it obtained for its one-day poll on Obamacare’s approval. However, the application of simple logic indicates that the day after the passage of a massive legislative package which has been a “dream” of Democrats for nearly a 100 years, the sample obtained would skew towards Democratic voters whose enthusiasm was surely spiking. Conversely, independents and Republicans, who both strongly opposed the Obamacare package before its passage, would have been more likely to avoid any pollster calls on Monday as the depressing news sunk in that the Democrats managed to ram through the massive legislative package.  This type of self-selection bias, on perhaps the most favorable media coverage day of the Obama Administration ever, is again ignored by every mainstream media report on the Gallup poll.

Finally, as is obvious to anyone who was watching the news or reading newspapers or websites on Sunday night and Monday, the establishment media has been in full celebratory mode regarding the passage of Obamacare, with newspaper headlines screaming in 6 inch print about the “historic” nature of the passage of Obamacare as finally completing the century-long “dream” for such legislation. Monday was perhaps the most positive media day ever during the Obama Administration, with the possible exception of Inauguration Day. Regardless, such overwhelmingly positive, saturation coverage of the Sunday night passage of Obamacare by the media undoubtedly had an effect on those polled by Gallup on Monday. Despite this, Gallup chose to only poll on that one day, and thereafter the Democrats and establishment media have focused solely upon this one-day outlier poll while ignoring all other polls which explicitly contradict its findings, four of which are noted above.

It remains to be seen if this gambit by the Obama Administration and the establishment media to shift public opinion in favor of Obamacare via the use of the dubious one-day poll taken on perhaps the most favorable media day ever for the Obama Administration will work.  In the history of the United States, never before has any poll, let alone a one-day poll, been afforded such prominence in reporting across all media sources and in repeated use by a national political party. What is certain is that the media is ignoring the other polls which all contradict the Gallup results, and the facts on the ground, such as today’s overflow crowd at the tea party rally in Searchlight, Nevada, and the million folks who signed up to oppose Obamacare within 11 days on a Facebook page, continue to indicate strong opposition to the Obamacare package, notwithstanding the preferences of the Obama Administration and the establishment media.

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Tea Party Kicks off Tour as 20,000+ Rally in Searchlight, Nevada as Reid Supporters Attack Throwing Eggs; UPDATE: AP Admits Huge Crowd, Omits Reports of Reid Supporters Attacks; Breitbart testimony added; UPDATE #2: Politico reports 20,000 in attendance, debunks Palin smear, reports claims of Reid supporter attacks; 2008 Obama Violent Quotes Added

March 27th, 2010 by AHFF Geoff

Over 10,000 Tea Party supporters rally in Searchlight, Nevada

Building upon a tide of rising of discontent throughout America regarding the recent historical passage of the gigantic Democratic comprehensive health reform plan known as Obamacare, tea party activists held a rally in the hometown of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) today with at least 20,000 gathering to hear headline speaker Sarah Palin.  In what many are terming a “conservative Woodstock,” Sarah Palin spoke about the need for the federal government to cut its bloated budget and to rollback the massive Obamacare package, a desire held by many across America and perhaps everyone in the crowd today judging by the cheers. Palin’s key moment came when discussing Democratic control of Congress, when she stated that Americans should say in November 2010 that “You’re Fired”.

Many Supporters of Sarah Palin were amongst the tea party folks rallying in Searchlight, Nevada todayThe establishment media, of course, is working to delegitimize and smear the tea party movement in the wake of the passage of Obamacare, with the AP clearly putting out this narrative before today’s rally:

Organizers predict as many as 10,000 people could come to tiny Searchlight, the hardscrabble former mining town where the Senate Democratic leader grew up and owns a home. But a light turnout or disruptions could lead to questions about the emerging movements’ credibility and direction.
….
The rally that’s been called a conservative Woodstock takes place just days after the historic health care vote that ushered in near-universal medical coverage and divided Congress and the nation.

The vote was followed by reports of threats and vandalism aimed at some Washington lawmakers, mostly Democrats who supported the new law.

Police don’t expect problems but the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is sending dozens of uniformed and plainclothes officers to patrol the crowd.

The AP, of course, fails to mention that the senior Jewish politician in America, GOP House whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), had a bullet hit one of his Virginia offices (as confirmed by Richmond, VA police).  Considering the massive turnout today, clearly exceeding the estimates of organizers, Americans now know that the tea party is far from finished and perhaps still building strength after the passage of Obamacare. Live reporting from the scene on cable reports that the main highway into tiny Searchlight, Nevada is hopelessly jammed with other folks trying to make it to the rally while a mile long line to enter the rally area, as all available parking on the scene is occupied and folks are parking in town and having tour buses drop them off near the rally and heading in on foot.

Despite the establishment media’s claims that the tea partiers are an violent, angry mob, today’s event was marred only by attacks from supporters of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), as about 35 Reid supporters lined the street leading into the rally and threw eggs at the passing traffic, including the Tea Party Express buses. Such conduct is clearly a threat to the safety of those traveling on the street and a sign of the extremism rising on the left, despite what the media may report. Further, other Reid supporters actually attacked conservative media personality Andrew Breitbart, throwing eggs at him and threats of violence according to those on the scene:

Supporters of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid staged a counter-protest today in Searchlight, Nevada, the Senator’s hometown. Reid supporters gathered just down the road from the launching point of the Tea Party Express tour, and when Breitbart happened upon them, he was met with threats of violence. At least one protester threw an egg at Brietbart, missing him. Eggs were also thrown at the Tea Party Express bus.

We expect the establishment media to ignore these violent acts and threats of violence by Reid supporters directed at tea party activists, as such incidents do not fit into the establishment media’s narrative of tea party “extremism”.   At a minimum, the media should demand answers about what Reid campaign officials organized the 35 Reid supporters to show up on the side of the street and whether the highly dangerous tossing of eggs into a motorway was sanctioned by such officials, and if not sanctioned, what did Reid’s people do to stop it, if anything.

Indeed, the level of enthusiasm necessary to pack a town of only 500 registered voters like Searchlight with 10′s of thousands of people is unlike anything seen in America in many decades.   Considering that President Obama’s approval has again begun to decline, dipping back under 50% after a brief post-Obamacare bounce, the conventional wisdom of the establishment media and all Democratic politicians that the passage of Obamacare would lead to a substantial jump in Democratic fortunes appears to be collapsing, one rally and one poll at a time.

UPDATE: The Associated Press this evening filed a story about the tea party rally today in Searchlight, Nevada, and as expected, did not report the fact that Reid supporters pelted passing cars and tea party buses with eggs from the side of the motorway and threatened Andrew Breitbart, as documented by Breitbart’s radio appearance later in the day. Considering the AP’s reporting of the phantom racial slurs in DC that no one in America has any video or audio evidence actually occurred, despite the presence of many network cameras and folks’ video phones that day in DC, it is unsurprising that the AP refuses to report the Reid supporters’ conduct. Amazingly, the AP did report on the Reid supporters’ presence in the area, but did not report on their activities of throwing eggs at passing vehicles or their threats of violence towards conservative activist Andrew Breitbart:

Reid supporters set up a hospitality tent Saturday in the parking lot of a Searchlight casino, about a mile from the tea party rally. The Senate leader planned to spend part of the day at a new shooting range in Las Vegas with National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.

Luis Salvador, 55, an unemployed fire sprinkler fitter, drove down from Las Vegas to support Reid, who he said has done a lot for the state and doesn’t deserve the protest brought to his hometown.

“You don’t come to a man’s house and start creating a ruckus,” said Salvador, a registered independent. He and several others taped signs saying “Nevada Needs Harry Reid” to the side of a truck near the highway that runs through town.

Another Reid supporter, Judy Hill, 62, said she doesn’t understand the hatred of Reid. The longtime Democrat from Searchlight said she thinks people just don’t know the man she calls a friend.

“They listen to the rhetoric. I think he’s very misunderstood and under-appreciated,” she said.

It is beyond question that this AP reporter, Michael R. Blood, had access to the internet and could have, and probably did, read the release of the tea party organizers which reported the violent activities by the Reid supporters. The AP’s Blood could have easily talked to Breitbart or listened to his radio appearance, or talked to Levi Russell, who issued the release for the Tea Party Express describing the violent conduct of the Reid supporters, and then interviewed others who were on the tea party bus that was attacked. However, the AP’s Blood chose not to pursue this angle of the story, as it would have been damaging to the Democratic Party, which the AP has sworn undying fealty to in all of its reporting, apparently.

Sadly, this cover up of the violent activities and rhetoric of the Democratic Reid supporters, as testified to by Andrew Breitbart, is just another chapter in the biased and slanted reporting of the establishment media, explicitly demonstrating the double-standard employed by the establishment media of always downplaying or omitting any untoward activities by liberals while inventing or exaggerating any untoward activities by conservatives. Indeed, reporter Blood seems somewhat perplexed that there was no violence amongst the tea party’s 10,000+ crowd, saying that the event “appeared peaceful“.

Andrew Breitbart, seen here in a more relaxed setting, today was reportedly threatened with violence by Reid supporters near the tea party rally

Further, the AP’s Blood makes a curious point in reporting on Breitbart’s speech:

Conservative columnist Andrew Breitbart disputed accounts that tea party activists in Washington shouted racial epithets at black members of Congress amid the health care debate, although he didn’t provide any evidence.

“I know you’re not a racist group,” he told the crowd.

Unmentioned by the AP’s Blood is that the Democrats did not “provide any evidence” that any tea party protester “shouted racial epithets at black members of Congress” other than their own “testimony” in front of the cameras. Indeed, also unmentioned by AP’s Blood is the fact that Breitbart offered a $10,000.00 donation to the United Negro College Fund if anyone could produce any audio or video evidence of the use of any racial epithets:

If we let them get away with Saturday’s stunt — using the imagery of the Civil Rights era and hurtful lies to cast aspersions upon the tea party whole — then they really will have won the day.

It’s time for the allegedly pristine character of Rep. John Lewis to put up or shut up. Therefore, I am offering $10,000 of my own money to provide hard evidence that the N- word was hurled at him not 15 times, as his colleague reported, but just once. Surely one of those two cameras wielded by members of his entourage will prove his point.

And surely if those cameras did not capture such abhorrence, then someone from the mainstream media — those who printed and broadcast his assertions without any reasonable questioning or investigation — must themselves surely have it on camera. Of course we already know they don’t. If they did, you’d have seen it by now.

THOUSANDS OF TIMES.

Rep. Lewis, if you can’t do that, I’ll give him a backup plan: a lie detector test. If you provide verifiable video evidence showing that a single racist epithet was hurled as you walked among the tea partiers, or you pass a simple lie detector test, I will provide a $10K check to the United Negro College Fund.

Is James Carville, senior Democratic strategist, behind the recent campaign to smear tea party supporters as racists, despite the lack of any video or audio evidence of any slurs of any kind?

Of course, no such evidence has been forthcoming or produced because, in all likelihood, the claims of racial taunts by Democrats were simply spurious claims made to distract the American public from the content of the massive Obamacare package and to smear those who oppose it. Recall the story a few weeks ago that Democrats were planning ways to bring down the tea party movement, by perhaps turning one of its leaders into a “mole” and smearing the rest as extremists:

Big Government has learned that Clintonistas are plotting a “push/pull” strategy. They plan to identify 7-8 national figures active in the tea party movement and engage in deep opposition research on them. If possible, they will identify one or two they can perhaps ‘turn’, either with money or threats, to create a mole in the movement. The others will be subjected to a full-on smear campaign. (Has MSNBC already been notified?)

Big Government has also learned that James Carville will head up the effort.

Obviously, there is no love lost between Obama and the Clinton machine. It may at first seem odd that Clinton would rush to Obama’s defense, but the tea party movement poses a threat far beyond the immediate goals of the Obama Administration.

The tea party movement could evolve into a new political realignment, one founded on a belief in limited government and less government interference in the economy. The Progressive agenda, which has been painstakingly built up over the last three decades, could be left in tatters.

As the Clinton’s know, “politics ain’t beanbag.” Expect the counterattack soon. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

The avalanche of Democratic claims this week of racial slurs and hysteria about “threats” appear to be the very “counterattack” of the Democrats against the tea party that was predicted by Breitbart. Nancy Pelosi and company strolled down the middle of the tea party protest hoping to get a you-tube moment of a screamed slur or even a physical confrontation – but the tea party protesters simply didn’t provide any such video moment to the Democrats. Because of this lack of evidence, the Democrats have been forced to go out on a limb and, in our view, falsely assert that slurs were made that no one managed to get a recording of, despite the rolling cameras of multiple networks and hundreds of camera phones during the walk up to Capitol Hill. It is truly a sad day in America when the establishment media reports as fact claims made by Democrats about racial slurs for purely political reasons without any evidence whatsoever to back them up.

The AP did, however, grudgingly admit that a giant crowd of tea party supporters descended on tiny Searchlight, Nevada:

At least 9,000 people streamed into tiny Searchlight, a former mining town 60 miles south of Las Vegas, bringing American flags, “Don’t Tread on Me” signs and outspoken anger toward Reid, President Barack Obama and the health care overhaul.

Organizers had said up to 10,000 people might come; around 1 p.m., police estimated the crowd was between 9,000 and 11,000.

Note that the first paragraph excerpted above, near the top of the article, uses the low estimate, and only later in the article, near the end, does the AP’s Blood admit that “police estimated the crowd was between 9,000 and 11,000″ which was what organizers had hoped for. Of course, earlier in the day, before the rally, AP’s Blood had this to say, trying to set up his ability to write a hit piece on the tea party after the rally:

Organizers predict as many as 10,000 people could come to tiny Searchlight, the hardscrabble former mining town where the Senate Democratic leader grew up and owns a home. But a light turnout or disruptions could lead to questions about the emerging movements’ credibility and direction.

Of course, as Blood reported, the turnout was heavy at the rally and the rally “appeared peaceful“. One might expect Blood to write a story reporting that the tea party showed its building “credibility and relevance” after the passage of Obamacare, considering the rousing success of the rally; one might also expect the AP’s Blood to report upon the press release of the Tea Party Express claimed Reid supporters were engaged in violent acts against the passing tea party buses from the side of the motorway, throwing eggs, or the threats of violence against Breitbart. Sadly, AP’s Blood was not there to report objectively on the facts of what happened, he was there to write a hit piece on the tea party – which, fortunately, he was unable to do because of the indisputable success of the rally today.

The violent acts and threats of Reid’s supporters will now fade into the memory hole of unreported facts, despite Breitbart’s testimony, as the AP story on the rally will likely be the only mainstream media reporting to emerge from today’s rally. If tea party supporters had been the ones tossing eggs into oncoming traffic on the side of the highway, or if tea party supporters had been the ones shouting threats of violence, we can be certain that the AP’s Blood would have started and ended his story reporting those facts. All told, the biased and slanted reporting of the AP today is yet another example of the partisan and ideological nature of America’s media in the 21st century.

UPDATE #2: Politico confirmed in their midnight report that the tea party turnout was indeed massive, as they estimated 20,000 supporters were there:

“When we talk about fighting for our country, let’s clear the air right now about what it is that we’re talking about,” she told a crowd estimated by organizers at 20,000 gathered for a rally in a windswept desert lot about four miles north of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s tiny hometown. “We’re not inciting violence. Don’t get sucked into the lame-stream media lies.”

Palin said “violence isn’t the answer.” She said “our vote is our arms” and encouraged activists not to be discouraged by the passage of the Democratic healthcare overhaul bill last week, but rather to channel their energies into defeating congressional Democrats who supported the legislation.

Democrats this week accused Palin of exacerbating the already tense atmosphere after last weekend’s House vote passing the overhaul by telling her followers via twitter “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” and by singling out 20 House Democrats who voted for the health care bill as targets on her website using a map with cross-hair gun sights on their districts.

The targeting phraseology is commonly used by political pros to indicate priority races, but Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) told a New York television station that Palin’s presentation was dangerous, given the context.

Even left-leaning Politico cannot stomach the Democratic strategy of claiming Sarah Palin is “inciting violence” by targeting vulnerable Democrats for electoral elimination, noting that such “targeting phraseology is commonly used by political pros to indicate priority races”. Perhaps today’s rally will be the turning point where the establishment media stops reporting the ridiculous smears of Palin and the tea partiers fed to them by Democratic strategists and instead begins to actually focus on the substance of the massive Obamacare passage the Democrats have just passed into law.

Amazingly, Politico actually reported the egg throwing at passing tea party buses by Reid supporters and the violent threats upon Breitbart:

Conservative talk show host Mark Williams, an official with the political action committee that sponsored the rally, rejected media reports of slurs directed at House Democrats during tea party rallies in Washington before Sunday’s vote, which were based on first-hand accounts from reporters and members of Congress.

“That’s a crock,” he said, alleging that when his group’s buses – emblazoned with “Tea Party Express” – drove down Searchlight’s main street, they were pelted with eggs by Reid supporters, who lined the sidewalks waving mass-produced placards saying “Welcome to Reid Country.”

Williams declared “Thuggery is a left-wing tactic. We denounce it. We will not stand for it.”

On the homepage of the Big Government site of Internet entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart, who spoke at the rally, a headline reads:  “Harry Reid Supporters Attack Tea Party Bus!… Update: Breitbart Attacked!”

Now that an establishment media source has actually reported the violent, unsafe actions by Reid supporters and their violent threats to Breitbart, perhaps the story will gain some traction. Finally, regarding the claims that the GOP engaged in the incitement of aggression or violence by tea party protesters over Obamacare, perhaps the media should take a trip into the way back machine and review these Obama quotes:

Barack Obama, June 2008: “‘If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun

Barack Obama, October 2008: “I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.

Has any Republican or tea party leader told his or her supporters to “bring a gun” to a fight with political opponents, or told his or her supporters to “argue with them and get in their face” in reference to liberals? Of course not, because if that had happened, it would be front page news in the extraordinarily biased establishment media.

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Obama Approval Bounce Over: Gallup and Rasmussen Show Declines

March 27th, 2010 by AHFF Geoff

President Obama May Need To Tap his "Superman" Skills to Push His Approval Ratings Back Up to a Majority of Americans in the wake of the historic passage of Obamacare

After the historic passage of President Barack Obama’s signature initiative, Obamacare, the President received a bump in approval in the two main daily tracking polls, Gallup and Rasmussen. Obama reached as high as 51% approval (amongst all adults) in Gallup, while he reached a peak of 49% (amongst likely voters) in Rasmussen last week after passage of the Obamacare package. Today, the results taken for the three day period of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday show President Obama again on the decline, sliding to 48% approval/45% disapproval in Gallup while declining to 47% approval/53% disapproval in Rasmussen.

These results may be somewhat of a shock to the DC political and media establishment, as the “conventional wisdom” of almost all Democratic politicians and establishment media reports has been that President Obama would receive a sustained and significant increase in his popularity after the passage of the historic Obamacare package.   In addition to the polls noted above, the post-Obamacare passage polling by well-respected Quinnipiac University cut against the claim of any significant bounce for Obama at all, as Quinnipiace found Obama to be underwater at 45% approval/46% disapproval in the two days following the historic House passage of Obamacare after finding Obama at 46%/49% immediately before the passage.

President Barack Obama's long term trend of declining approval by the American public appears to have not been broken by the passage of Obamacare

Indeed, the small bump and ongoing dissipation of same in Obama’s approval after the passage of his signature initiative is quite similar to the brief bump Obama received after his State of the Union (“SOTU”) address in late January 2010. The SOTU bounce peaked a few days after the speech and was completely dissipated in about 10 days, and it appears from today’s Gallup and Rasmussen numbers that a similar pattern is occurring in the wake of Obamacare’s passage.

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Facebook Group Started 3/15/2010 Opposing Obamacare Reaches 1,000,000 Fans

March 27th, 2010 by AHFF Geoff

A Facebook Group Started Just 11 Days Ago To Oppose Obamacare Passed 1,000,000 Members This Evening

In a nod to the strange new world of online activism, Americans who oppose President Barack Obama’s health care reform package, known as Obamacare, formed a Facebook page entitled:

I bet we can find 1,000,000+ people who disapprove of the Health Care Bill

The page was started on March 15, 2010, and just 11 days later at approximately 11:45PM eastern time, the 1,000,000 person signed on as an opponent of Obamacare.   This kind of flash online activism by everyday Americans who oppose the massive government health care program just passed by Congress and the President could pose a major obstacle to Obama’s efforts to “sell” his health care package to the country in the next week with multiple rallies at various places in the United States.  Here’s how organizers described their page:

This Group was started on March 15, 2010 to send a substantial message to those in Washington who are not listening to their constituents.

The purpose of this Group is to serve as an outlet and organizational platform for those that believe in health care reform, but believe that such should be bipartisan, fiscally responsible, minimize role of government and be approved through a legislative process true to the intent of our Constitution. We welcome people of all party affiliations.

Since the bill was passed, this group has had phenomenal – record setting growth of 200-300 new members per minute. Our title says 1,000,000+ and we well expect millions to join us in this fight.

We will continue to serve as a basis for information, ideas and a platform to mobilize action to repeal this law. Our fight will remain focused, civilized and non violent and will continue until our goal is achieved.

Here is their brief message announcing the crossing of 1,000,000 Obamacare opponents signed up:

*********ALERT********
CONGRATULATIONS ON FIRST 1,000,000 at 11:45 PM Fri March 26, 2010.

The ability to add 100,000 people a day on average to a Facebook page animated solely by its opposition to the massive Obamacare package is an indication of the high level of grassroots energy in America that is presently mobilizing against the President’s signature initiative. Many Democrats and establishment media types have been claiming that Obamacare is rising in popularity with the public since its passage last weekend, but sites like this one provide some evidence of the opposite effect: a rising tide of activism objecting to the passage of the massive bill.

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Obama Vetting Disaster Continues: 2nd TSA Nominee Withdraws

March 26th, 2010 by AHFF Geoff

President Obama needs to make some more calls to find a third nominee for TSA head as his first two nominees have now withdrawn, meaning America will continue on without a TSA Chief

When President Barack Obama first came into office and forwarded his slate of Cabinet picks, many ran into trouble and some withdrew over issues that arose in their backgrounds. At the time, many observers wondered why the President and his team had not done a more thorough job of vetting potential Obama Administration officials so as to avoid such problems. In month 14 of the Obama Administration, the vetting issue has arisen once again as the Obama’s second nominee for the head of the Transportation Security Agency (“TSA”), Robert Harding, has withdrawn from considering this evening amidst controversy over his activities surrounding his firm’s defense contract that, after an audit, was found to be improper and his firm was forced to return two million dollars to the Defense Department.

Robert Harding Has Tonight Withdrawn from Consideration for TSA Head

The AP terms it “another setback” for the Obama Administration:

President Barack Obama’s second choice for transportation security chief has withdrawn from consideration because of questions over his background as a defense contractor.

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Harding took himself out of the running Friday night as head of the Transportation Security Administration, another setback for Obama after his first choice withdrew in January.

Harding said the distractions caused by his work as a defense contractor would not be good for the administration or the Homeland Security Department. The TSA is part of that department.

Obama's First TSA Chief Nominee, Errol Southers, Withdrew After GOP Criticism of his illegal use of FBI background checks

Obama’s first pick, Errol Southers, also withdrew under withering criticism from Republicans about an incident during Southers’ time at the FBI when he illegally accessed criminal databases regarding his estranged wife’s boyfriend and then distributed the information on the boyfriend to local police. It is truly shocking that Obama could not find a single qualified person, without a controversial past, in the entirety of the United States to lead the TSA despite having 14 months to do so, as the President’s first priority is the safety of the American people.   Perhaps Obama is having a hard time finding someone qualified to be TSA Chief who also strongly believes in unionizing the TSA employees.

The GOP had questioned the “entanglements” of Harding during his confirmation hearings this week, with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) demanding more details on Harding’s contractor ties before holding the vote on his nomination:

Senate Republicans on Tuesday questioned whether retired Maj. Gen. Robert Harding would face ethics problems because of his past business entanglements with the Pentagon if he is confirmed to head the Transportation Security Administration.

Questions have swirled around Harding Security Associates — the company Harding founded in 2001 and sold in 2009 — and contracts the company and its affiliates have with the TSA.

While Harding told lawmakers he would abide by strict White House ethics guidelines, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) said she would insist he answer more questions in writing before the committee votes on his nomination.

Harding’s old company has ties to firms with major contracts with the TSA, including one to provide full-body scanners. According to the White House, Harding will recuse himself from dealing with contracts involving his former company until July, a year after he sold it.

But the abbreviated Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing, which lasted just over an hour so members could go to the White House to watch President Barack Obama sign the health care bill, was smooth sailing compared with the tougher grilling Harding is expected to face when he goes before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

Congressional aides said senators were likely to press Harding on a more than $7 million contract his firm had to provide civilian interrogators for prisons in Iraq in 2004. The contract was subject to a Defense Department audit, and the company eventually had to return $2 million to the government, an aide said.

Apparently Harding decided that the details of his firm’s return of two million dollars to the Defense Department after an audit were too painful to disclose, and therefore he withdrew this evening. Obama’s vetting negligence has not abated over the course of the last 14 months, as the issues over the fraudulent contract and returned money certainly would have arisen during any professional vetting done before Harding’s nomination.

Regardless, America now stands without a nominee to head the TSA, let alone a TSA Administrator, for the foreseeable future. Considering the ongoing threats to Americans from international terrorism, Obama’s ongoing failure to fill this critical post so late into his Administration is sure to raise more questions about the overall competence of the Obama Administration. Indeed, Democrats themselves have made the point many times before Southers withdrew that lacking a TSA head is a serious threat to America’s national security. Harry Reid spoke of the “serious potential consequences” for America of having an empty TSA post:

“Not only is this a failed strategy, but a dangerous one as well with serious potential consequences for our country.”

One Southers supporter, a Los Angeles Police Official, noted that the Christmas Day attempted bombing proves that “no further delays” are acceptable to fill the TSA post:

Marshall McClain, the president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association, said the Senate should have acted sooner to confirm Southers.

“Friday’s terrorist attack on U.S. aviation makes it all the more imperative that there be no further delays in filling this crucial position,” he said.

Not to be outdone, Senator Bennie Thompson (D-MS) claimed that the failure to have a TSA head seriously hobbles the agency’s effectiveness:

Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (Miss.) also attacked DeMint, saying Tuesday that TSA needs an administrator to run at full capacity and suggested security could be weaker because of the lack of leadership.

“If TSA is to become the kind of nimble, responsive organization the American people deserve in times like this, it will need a Senate-confirmed administrator,” he said. “If nothing else, the events of last week highlighted this lack of leadership.”

Perhaps Senator Reid and Senator Thompson will now direct the same level of concern and frustration at the Obama Administration for its second failure to appoint an acceptable nominee for TSA head. President Obama must focus on this issue of the vacant TSA seat next week, instead of the planned focus on the political sideshow of campaign rallies to sell his Obamacare package, and chose a competent, scandal-free nominee to fill this void in our country’s homeland security leadership immediately.

UPDATE: Ed at Hotair underscores the point about the egregious lack of professional vetting as epitomized by Harding’s TSA nomination:

Harding had been one of The 300 during the campaign — one of the large number of national-security advisers Obama claimed whenever anyone challenged his experience in such matters. Perhaps there really is safety in numbers. No one in the McCain campaign or in the RNC appeared to notice that the candidate of Hope and Change, the Washington insider running against Washington, had an adviser who had overcharged the government as a defense contractor. Obama may have figured that no one would spot it when Harding was out in the open as a nominee, either.

This is a fairly egregious vetting error, even for an administration becoming known as incompetent at assessing potential appointees. Harding didn’t commit violations of personal tax returns, after all. He spent several years as a government contractor, and the audit and overcharge are public record. For that matter, so was Southers’ dip into sensitive databases for his own personal vendettas. Does anyone at the White House actually bother with background checks, or do they just pull names out of a hat?

The Times reports that the White House has no third choice for this position. We can expect several months to pass before Obama gets around to appointing a replacement for a key national-security post. Perhaps by the time he’s finished with this term, we may actually get one that can survive a confirmation hearing.

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Vindication: Felony Charges Against ACORN-killer James O’Keefe Dropped by Feds

March 26th, 2010 by AHFF Geoff

James O'Keefe, seen here with Hannah Giles, Became Famous by Exposing ACORN's Horrible Business Practices and Today Gained Vindication as All Felony Charges against him were dropped regarding his silly attempt to gain access to Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) office to prove she was ignoring constituent phone calls regarding Obamacare

In a quiet filing late on a Friday afternoon, federal prosecutors dropped all felony charges against James O’Keefe and several other conservative activists who were charged originally with felonies for their silly attempt to prove that the Louisiana office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) was not answering the phone calls of their constituents:

Federal prosecutors filed reduced charges Friday against conservative activist James O’Keefe and three others who were accused of trying to tamper with the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office.

The new charges are contained in a bill of information, which can only be filed with a defendant’s consent and typically signals a plea deal. The new filing charges videographer the four with entering a federal building under false pretenses, a misdemeanor. They had been arrested Jan. 25 on felony charges.

O’Keefe, a videographer famous for wearing a pimp costume in a stunt that embarrassed the ACORN community organizing group, has said the group was trying to investigate complaints that constituents calling Landrieu’s office couldn’t get through to criticize her support of a health care reform bill.

J. Garrison Jordan, a lawyer for another defendant, Robert Flanagan, said his client has “an agreement worked out with the government” but wouldn’t elaborate or confirm that the others also have reached a deal with prosecutors.

“I think it’s a fair resolution to the charges, and I’m happy with the agreement we’ve worked out,” he said.

The establishment media, led by NBC and its daytime host David Shuster, falsely claimed O’Keefe was engaged in a Watergate-style operation after his arrest:

All four men were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.

It sounded like a Watergate-style operation, but federal officials have not yet said why the men wanted to interfere with Landrieu’s phones, whether they were successful, or even if the goal was political espionage.

O’Keefe himself at the time had this to say:

O’Keefe said, “The truth shall set me free,” as he left a suburban jail Tuesday with Basel and suspect Stan Dai, both 24. All declined to comment. “There will be a time for that,” Dai said.

Some particularly idiotic radical leftist commentary after the January 2010 O’Keefe arrest came from Michael Wolff, speaking darkly of “aggressive prosecutors” taking down Glenn Beck for his claimed sponsoring of the allegedly heinous crimes of O’Keefe:

There are the perpetrators, the four young men who attempted to get access to the telephone system of Mary Landrieu, the Democratic senator from Louisiana. Then there is whomever else can be connected to them, by cell phone records, text messages, or email.

These are the little fish. Somewhere, at some remove, with some level of foreknowledge—with enough deniability or not—are the big fish.

The Times’ front page piece yesterday, with the thumbnails of the four perps, says little—save that O’Keefe and company were right-wing hot dogs—but is full of anticipation. The Times knows well enough that a break-in, one full of theatrical verve, is unlikely to have happened in a vacuum. Indeed, the subtext of the Times piece is all about James O’Keefe’s impressive conservative network.

It’s a network full of high-profile mentors. After O’Keefe’s audacious bit of political theater exposing the haplessness or recklessness of some functionaries at the liberal group, Acorn—a popular bête noire among conservatives—he was immediately and enthusiastically taken up by the right-wing media.

The right-wing media is an insular but curiously convivial group. It loves its fellow travelers. It loves other right-leaning attention seekers. This is a club for the ideologically pure who are media savvy. The Times piece sketches out some of these connections, including O’Keefe’s relationship with Andrew Breitbart, who is in turn connected to Matt Drudge.

The Times does not explicitly draw in Glenn Beck, but the Fox host has done as much as anyone to promote O’Keefe as an example of right-wing talent and personality. The day after the bust, Beck was hurriedly trying to disassociate himself.

Depending on the aggressiveness of the prosecutors involved, we will find out who O’Keefe and company were speaking to. We will find out who was urging O’Keefe on, who O’Keefe was bragging to, and how far up the media chain this really goes.

Obviously, leftwing hacks like NBC, Schuster, Michael Wolff and the NYT were completely wrong on this story.

All told, the massive establishment media focus on this case, and the ridiculous media claims that O’Keefe should be jailed for a decade and that his actions were comparable to Watergate, have been proven false. It appears that O’Keefe and the others involved will now plead guilty to a misdemeanour charge of entering a federal building under false pretenses. This plea deal is appropriate, as O’Keefe and the others were doing exactly that by pretending to be telephone company workers in furtherance of their silly scheme to prove Landrieu was intentionally ignoring constituent phone calls over Obamacare.

UPDATE: Hotair points out more of the prior false MSNBC reporting on O’Keefe, now fully debunked today:

Commenters are wondering in the Headlines thread when Edward R. Murrow’s rightful heir will apologize for calling this a new Watergate or ace reporter David Shuster will walk back his tweets to O’Keefe right after the story first broke in January that “a) you are not a journalist b) the truth is you intended to tap her phones c) it’s a felony d) you will go to prison.” (0 for 4!) Answer: Shuster already did, sort of, but I wouldn’t look for any more remorse than that from MSNBC. The new storyline, guaranteed, will be that O’Keefe got a break because one of the kids in his crew is the son of the acting U.S. Attorney for Western Louisiana. Never mind that there have already been recusals in the case to avoid any conflict of interest; the “corrupt wingnut” narrative shall not be denied. Long live “Watergate Jr.”!

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AT&T Announces 1 Billion Dollar Loss from Obamacare in 1Q 2010

March 26th, 2010 by AHFF Geoff

Today, AT&T announced that it would take a 1,000,000,000 loss in 1Q 2010 because of Obamacare while also indicating it will substantially alter its employee benefit plans

Gigantic telecommunications company AT&T announced just now that it will take a $1,000,000,000 loss in the first quarter of 2010 because of changes made to the health care laws by Obamacare. Additionally, AT&T noted that the benefits packages are subject to substantial alternation in the next few weeks. AT&T’s announcement, on the heels of similar announcements by Caterpillar, John Deere, AK Steel and other large American companies, is more evidence of the negative economic effects from Obamacare. Reuters broke the story a half hour ago:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – AT&T Inc (T.N) said on Friday that it would record a $1 billion non-cash charge for the current quarter related to the new U.S. health care reform law signed by President Barack Obama this week.

AT&T’s charge appeared to be the largest in a series of charges announced by U.S. companies this week.

The operator, whose annual revenue is expected to be $124.1 billion this year, said the charge is the result of a provision in the law related to the tax treatment of Medicare subsidies.

As a result of the legislation, the company said it will be evaluating prospective changes to the health care benefits it offers.

AT&T’s announcement, and others that are sure to follow from America’s blue chip companies, appears to disprove the Democratic claims that Obamacare would create hundreds of thousands of jobs “almost immediately” after passage. Indeed, the corporate losses incurred already from Obamacare appear destined to reduce, not enhance, the ability of America’s companies to hire new employees.

Furthermore, AT&T’s statement that “as a result of the legislation, the company said it will be evaluating prospective changes to the health care benefits it offers” also disproves the oft-repeated Obama misrepresentation that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” after the passage of Obamacare. The tens of thousands of employees of AT&T are learning the hard way that sometimes Americans cannot trust the rhetorical claims of politicians about the policies they pursue.

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