- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Press and public are aware that President Obama will appear at five Democratic fundraisers by the time Thursday rolls around, despite alarming events here and abroad. Initially, the White House reasoned that in times of unrest, business as usual rather than crisis management was the tactic of choice on the world stage. But that’s not quite good enough now.

“What about the president’s time? What about the fact that there’s five workdays this week, and three of them he’s fundraising?” demanded Fox News correspondent Ed Henry at the White House daily press briefing on Tuesday.

Yeah, about that. A more ornate deflection strategy is now in place for such inquiries, essentially framing Mr. Obama as the consummate modern guy on the go, pen and phone in hand, connections at the ready. Spokesman Josh Earnest replied that despite all the West Coast party-time hubbub, the president would still tend to his duties, get national security team updates and consult with world leaders.

“The president, like most professionals, has the capability to deal with more than one priority at a time — particularly somebody who has the trappings of the presidency alongside him. He’s got his own airplane. He’s got dedicated phone lines. He has senior advisers who will be accompanying him every step of the way to make sure that he has access to the information and technology necessary to represent American interests in the midst of these challenging international times,” Mr. Earnest explained.


The spokesman later added, “If it becomes clear that there is something that the president is not able to do from the road that is critical to advancing American interests, we will alter the schedule to ensure that the president can fulfill those responsibilities.”

All that aside, when this moneymaking round is over, Mr. Obama will have conducted 398 fundraisers since taking office. Early estimates also indicate that he could raise as much as $6 million on this particular jaunt to the state of Washington and California. So mission, uh, accomplished, perhaps.


It’s been a decade since the 9/11 Commission issued a comprehensive report about the terrorist attacks on American soil that “changed everything,” according to much of the public. The commission has a new follow-up. The 48-page report released Tuesday is grim, determined and factual, carrying warnings like “the struggle against terrorism is far from over — rather, it has entered a new and dangerous phase” and “counterterrorism fatigue and a waning sense of urgency among the public threaten U.S. security.”

The original commission, chaired by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, reconvened in recent months, refocused on emerging threats and received considerable input from the likes of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan from among a veritable constellation of luminaries in the intelligence community and beyond. But even as clandestine agencies seek a practical balance between public transparency and national security, the commission members fret the nation just doesn’t get it.

“Unfortunately, except for counterterrorism specialists in the government, most Americans did not see the connections among these events. The government did not effectively explain to the public the evil that was stalking us,” the report states.

But, of course, Americans can’t live in a constant state of alarm either. Judge for yourself. Download the new report here: Bipartisanpolicy.org.


Lawmakers are wrangling with such things, meanwhile. They are, in fact, all over it. The House Committee on Homeland Security examines the 9/11 report itself Wednesday, particularly the commission’s “unfulfilled” recommendations. Simultaneously, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs stages a hearing titled “Terrorist March in Iran.” The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations offers “Iraq at a Crossroads: Options for U.S. Policy” on Thursday. “In the past year, the Iraqis have urgently requested additional U.S. counterterrorism assistance in the form of drone or airstrikes against terrorist camps, and the Obama administration declined,” says Rep. Edward R. Royce, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. “This hearing will examine the reasons behind the administration’s decision not to adequately address this problem months ago and what it plans to do going forward.”

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