- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 8, 2009

TANGLED WEB

The Obama administration is squirming as former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld continues to bulldog the president for suggesting in his speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., last week that the previous administration had repeatedly denied troop requests by commanders in Afghanistan.

“White House officials are not credible in denying President Obama’s intended meaning when he said on Wednesday night that ‘commanders’ were ‘repeatedly’ denied additional troops and resources in Afghanistan,” Mr. Rumsfeld’s office said Friday in a statement written by Keith Urbahn.

“The administration now claims President Obama was actually referring to denials of troops by his own Secretary of Defense [Robert M. Gates] in 2008. This is obviously not what the president meant. If it is what the president meant, he owes an apology to General [David] McKiernan for dismissing him, for it was General McKiernan who sought additional forces in 2008,” Mr. Rumsfeld’s office said.

“This looseness with the facts seems to be a pattern in the current administration’s efforts to blame their challenges on their predecessors. Nearly one year into this administration, that approach is wearing thin.”

Blogger Moe Lane, writing at www.redstate.com, commented: “When pressed on this, current White House press secretary Robert Gibbs must have felt backed into a corner. After all, he was trying to justify the White House sneering at a policy implemented by a secretary of defense that the new administration had retained, and at the expense of a military general that the new administration had sacked. Gibbs being Gibbs, he took the opportunity to try to change the subject by sniping at Rumsfeld some more.”

DISSENTER

“A leading foe of international plans to cut carbon dioxide has landed in Copenhagen, home to the huge climate summit, to play off the recent ‘climategate’ controversy and announce a Web site that questions the science behind global warming claims,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column at www.usnews.com.

Leighton Steward [on Tuesday] launches SpeakOutForAmerica.com to draw international attention to the impact of proposals expected to be offered by President Obama and other nations at the two-week summit,” Mr. Bedard said.

“Steward’s concern is that the world will cut CO2 too much, which he says will starve plants and eventually lead to food shortages. In a statement to U.S. News [Monday] morning, Steward said, ‘The participants that are showing up at Copenhagen or COP-15 negotiations seem very excited that they may soon reap the benefits from the United States in having to pay for their past sins of burning fossil fuels, causing carbon dioxide. The irony is that CO2 that has been emitted into the atmosphere has caused a rise of 12 percent food growth of the world’s agricultural industry.’

“Steward is a geologist who co-wrote the best-selling diet book ‘Sugar Busters.’ His most recent book, ‘Fire, Ice, and Paradise,’ reviews past scientific studies and claims that CO2 is not the cause of global warming. His Web site reviews different areas of the draft Copenhagen Climate Treaty, such as the economics of carbon dioxide regulations and the morality of reacting to climate change claims. SpeakOutFor America.com also urges Americans to review global warming science themselves and contact lawmakers with their concerns.

“Meanwhile, another foe of the treaty said that the environment at the summit is so sympathetic to global warming scientists that opponents aren’t being listened to. ‘It’s like being at a Democratic presidential convention with lots of feel-good rhetoric and hope and ideals but lacking the political and scientific facts and realities,’ said Steward.”

RAH-RAH REPORTERS

“More than two weeks after ClimateGate broke, ABC’s ‘World News’ finally got around to mentioning it on Sunday evening, but not to explore how the e-mails discredited leading scientists who insist mankind is causing global warming as, instead, ABC declared ‘the science is solid’ and NBC assured viewers ‘the evidence is overwhelming that man is behind climate change.’” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mrc.org.

“ABC reporter Clayton Sandell merely included, in a larger story about the Copenhagen conference, how ‘global warming naysayers are claiming that e-mails stolen from’ East Anglia University ‘show climate scientists discussing how to fudge results to promote the idea that humans are altering the planet.’

“After failing to inform viewers of any specifics the e-mails revealed, Sandell, who didn’t utter a syllable about them on Sunday’s ‘Good Morning America,’ concluded his ‘World News’ piece: ‘The science is solid, according to a vast majority of researchers, with hotter temperatures, melting glaciers, and rising sea level providing the proof.’ ”

BEWILDERED

“I was pleasantly surprised to be invited to the White House jobs summit last Thursday, where I got to watch President Obama engage with about 130 people off the cuff,” liberal pundit Robert Kuttner writes at www.huffingtonpost.com.

“And I was reminded, first hand, what drew so many of us to the promise of this remarkable outsider - the decency, the intellect, the idealism, and the evidently progressive impulses. I came away even more bewildered and dismayed at the reality that this president, who could have been such an insurgent at a moment demanding insurgency, has been so utterly captured by the Wall Street elite, the health insurance industry elite, and the military elite,” Mr. Kuttner said.

“As a friend said, ‘I so wanted to be supportive of a great progressive president this time instead of being back in opposition.’ ”

USE SPELLCHECK

Political analyst Charlie Cook, writing at nationaljournal.com, says a recent focus group assembled by pollster Peter Hart shows just how angry voters feel toward Congress.

“One telling moment came after Hart asked each voter to write the name that comes to mind when they think of Congress,” Mr. Cook said. “Bill, a 62-year-old retired automobile-industry executive and independent who backed Obama, wrote ‘Satan.’ When Hart asked why, Bill answered, ‘Because I wasn’t sure of the correct spelling of “Beelzebub.”’ Now that’s intensity.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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