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Obama Town Hall Questioners Were Campaign Backers

Updated 7:02 p.m.
By Garance Franke-Ruta
President Obama has promised to change the way the government does business, but in at least one respect he is taking a page from the Bush playbook, stocking his town hall Thursday with supporters whose soft -- though far from planted -- questions provided openings to discuss his preferred message of the day.

Obama has said, "I think it's important to engage your critics ... because not only will you occasionally change their mind but, more importantly, sometimes they will change your mind," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs recounted to The Post's Lois Romano in an interview Wednesday.

But while the online question portion of the White House town hall was open to any member of the public with an Internet connection, the five fully identified questioners called on randomly by the president in the East Room were anything but a diverse lot. They included: a member of the pro-Obama Service Employees International Union, a member of the Democratic National Committee who campaigned for Obama among Hispanics during the primary; a former Democratic candidate for Virginia state delegate who endorsed Obama last fall in an op-ed in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star; and a Virginia businessman who was a donor to Obama's campaign in 2008.

Here are their stories:

1. Sergio Salmeron: Self-description at the White House: "My name is Sergio Salmeron. I want to find out about health care."

Salmeron became engaged with the Obama campaign early in 2008, writing on his blog at my.barackobama.com, "We need to mobilize towards changing the trend of '2 to 1 Latinos favoring Hillary over Barack.' Let's make a resolute commitment... Let's put the facts on the table, ask the questions, until we understand how this all applies to us. Then strategize [sic] to get the word out to Latinos in America, who want change as much as everyone else."

He was a volunteer canvasser for the campaign, he told The Post, and did voter registration work and translated materials for the campaign, as well. A partner at Global Paradigm Strategies, Salmeron is volunteer "member of the Democratic National Committee" and continues to be active with the Obama campaign's successor, Organizing for America, which is how he got the White House invite, he said.

"I got a call from this woman who has been working with me for the pledge drive," he said, referring to the Organizing for America drive on behalf of the president's budget proposal. "You know, we're trying to get support out for the president's agenda."

2. Tom Sawner: Self-description: "Sir, I'm Tom Sawner. I'm a service-disabled veteran, small-business owner in Arlington, Virginia. My company, Educational Options, works with public schools."

According to Federal Election Commission records, Sawner made a $250 donation to Obama's campaign on Oct. 27, 2008. He also, as he noted Thursday, served as an adviser on Obama's educational platform committee. He said he was invited to the White House town hall through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Executive Council.

Sawner's no stranger to the White House, either; he attended President Bush's Feb. 2008 signing ceremony for that year's economic stimulus package -- another Chamber of Commerce invite. And in April 2008, he even became an anecdote in one of Bush's speeches.

"And I met a guy named Tom Sawner," the 43rd president said at a small business summit. "Now, he's an old fighter pilot, which means there's no wall he can [sic] run through. He's a doer, an achiever, and he's got him a small business called Educational Options."

But the event with Obama, Sawner said, "was a whole different look and feel" than the one with Bush. "This is a president who is into openness." And he didn't know he was going to be able to ask a question until he got to the forum, he said.

3. Carlos Del Toro: Self-description: "My name is Carlos Del Toro. I served in the Navy for 26 years, retired four years ago, and started a small business."

In 2007, Del Toro stood as a Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, but did not win. A supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic presidential primaries, he backed Obama against McCain in the general, endorsing him in an Oct. 24, 2008 op-ed in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star.

"As a Virginia small-business owner, veteran, and Latino, I'm voting for Sen. Barack Obama for the same reasons as millions of other Americans: because I believe this country desperately needs change. Obama will change our economic policies to help middle-class families, promote the growth of small businesses, and increase funding for veterans' affairs, so no member of our armed services goes without the medical treatment he or she needs and deserves," he wrote.

In 2008, he donated $2,750 to Virginia Democratic candidates for office, according to the Center for Responsive Politics; in 2006, he gave $1000 to the campaign of now Sen. Jim Webb (Va.), FEC records show.

He also has ties to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Council.

4. Linda Bock: "My name is Linda Bock and I'm a registered nurse just in Prince George's County, Maryland -- been there 34 years at a free senior health center. And I'm here with my fellow nurses from SEIU."

Bock, along with her chapter of the SEIU and her son and daughter, helped campaign and canvass for Obama, she said. After Obama was elected, she wrote in the Landover, Md., 1199 SEIU nurses' newsletter: "Now we have our work cut out for us -to hold our elected officials accountable. And I hope they hold us accountable too. We all have work to do to make the changes needed to restore our reputation, to heal the wounds of war, to repair our earth and regulate its resources; and, to secure our economic future. It will take sacrifice and service. It will take prayer and the grace of God. Now we have hope. We have President-elect Barack Obama. God bless America."

Her invite to the White House came through the Nurse Alliance Leadership Council, she said. And like Sawner, she didn't know until she got to the forum that it was open to the in real life participants. "I did not think we would be able to ask any questions," she said. "I wasn't personally anticipating being chosen to ask anything. We knew that the Web portion was people already lined up."

5. Bonnee L. Breese: "Hi, Mr. President. Thank you so very much for having me, a public school teacher from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, here to be with you.
THE PRESIDENT: What's your name?
Q Bonnee Breese.
THE PRESIDENT: Good to see you, Bonnee.
Q Thank you. I'm from Overbrook High School. I have to say that, because I know all the children are watching. (Laughter.)"

Breese has not donated a reportable amount to Obama, according to the FEC. She is a member of the 11,626-person Pennsylvania for Obama page on Facebook.

A supporter of the president's -- "Of course!" she said -- Breese was invited to the meeting through the American Federation of Teachers union. She sits on the executive board of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Local 3, she said, and is known in her area for being politically engaged.

The sixth in-person presidential questioner, "Ellie" from Maryland, did not give her surname. The White House did not respond to a request for it, but noted there were roughly 100 people in the audience.

"The audience was composed of approximately 100 people, including teachers, nurses, small business owners, and community leaders -- and the virtual audience of thousands across the country who have submitted questions online," said White House spokesman Nicholas S. Shapiro. "The White House reached out to a number of community groups and the chamber of commerce and those groups invited their folks to come and participate."

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 27, 2009; 6:38 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Comments

jbleenyc: "First of all, Bush does deserve a lot of blame. It was his party that drove us into the ditch... 2001 to 2007, everything was under Republican control."

You need to get your facts straight. Try Carter...Reagan...Clinton and the fair housing laws.

Posted by: Texas_Gal | March 31, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

jlucker1: "Why do I feel like I am reliving Germany 1935?"

Because you're an idiot.

Posted by: nodebris | March 30, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

So, questions from us "little guys" who happen to be toe-tag liberals. The real story here is that the Washington Post actually investigated and reported on this. Where's the Obama love you guys were feeling during the campaign?

Posted by: MikeS6 | March 30, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

AMB69 wrote -
"Considering how many people donated small amounts to his campaign, I imagine it would be difficult to find people who couldn't be considered "backers" in some way. I mean one of these guys donated a whopping $250. Yay Matt Drudge! Yay Rush Limbaugh! Way to be more retarded than Palin's down syndrome baby."

Wow!! How very "tolerant" and "open minded" of you...

Why are Liberals so hypocritical?

Posted by: mattroyal | March 30, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

to craigpederson... here is the corroboration. http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Lawsuit_reveals_Bush_Administration_attempts_to_suppress_dissent

There was actually an Advance Manual published in 2002 that detailed how "The non-redacted parts of the manual detail strategies designed to suppress demonstrations and bar those identifiably opposed to Bush Administration policy access to presidential events."

Posted by: jenzinoh | March 30, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

When are people going to realize we are being scamed by the govt. and the banks. They milked us out of billions of dollars. We gave GM 17 billion and we are right where we started, it made no difference. We are GETTING SCAMED BY EVERYONE. We are going to be controlled in every aspect of our lives. We are not responsible for gloable wareming, it's another way to control us.

Posted by: kendallpl | March 30, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

craigpedersen255: that was my point - perhaps not well stated. I was attempting to point out that this dude says Bush did this too without giving any evidence to back that up. I'm sick of journalists like this, and I think this guy should be embarrassed about this article. Even though he was seemingly pointing out something sketchy Obama did, the author still managed to hit Bush, with no corresponding evidence. The media has no shame anymore. Journalism students will go through school thinking this is the way to report.

Posted by: norathorn | March 30, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"There is a reason that OB'S birth certificate can't be found is that he was born in his fathers native Nigeria, forgive the spelling . and if this is true he was born a muslim which I do not care about what I care a bout is why he would lie abaut it."

Actually, you can be born in Nigeria and be a Christian. You can be born in Saudi Arabia and be a Christian.

President Obama was actually born in Hawaii...

Enjoy the bunker.

Posted by: jenzinoh | March 30, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

It seems that day after day we keep getting bombarded with more crap on top of crap. There is a reason that OB'S birth certificate can't be found is that he was born in his fathers native Nigeria, forgive the spelling . and if this is true he was born a muslim which I do not care about what I care a bout is why he would lie abaut it. If he was born in Nigeria then he could not be President, because he would not be native born. These are not new questions , but because of the Liberal Media which is all of them exept Fox we the inteligent ones will never get the answers we need and deserve. Time to head to the Mountains and build a bunker, because change is a comminng just not what we were expecting......

M. J Rogers
SFC (RETIRED)

Posted by: airborn1us | March 30, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"He understands that the future is in controling the youth, who are easily swayed by promises and who at their stage in life ( students) don't have to deal with a lot of the financial changes Obama is proposing. No money is coming out of their pockets, so the reality of the change is not realized by them."

Yeah... darn those yung-uns... They only have to inherit all of the messes and catastrophes of the older generations.

Posted by: jenzinoh | March 30, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"Yeah, Mr. President, I have a tough one for you. What's your favorite color?"

Posted by: greeneggs83 | March 30, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I can't understand why people haven't figured out what Obama's strategy. His focal point is organizing the youth to make them a voting machine to keep him in office. He understands that the future is in controling the youth, who are easily swayed by promises and who at their stage in life ( students) don't have to deal with a lot of the financial changes Obama is proposing. No money is coming out of their pockets, so the reality of the change is not realized by them.

Posted by: rmagness | March 30, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

m_algore wrote: "more obama lies - nothing new for patriots with intelligence - like the 42,000,000 Real Americans that did not vote for the radical"

42,000,000 voted for Sarah Palin... which cannot under any circumstances be confused with intelligence.

Posted by: jenzinoh | March 30, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Why do I feel like I am reliving Germany 1935?

Posted by: jlucker1 | March 30, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

One thing for sure, he will have difficulty stacking folks at the G20!!! Bet there will be limited MSM coverage!! (And they wonder why they continue to lose market share!!!!)

Posted by: wheeljc | March 30, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"The Liberal Fascists that have taken control of most of America's "mass left-wing media" are at it again........blaming Bush........ censoring Biden's daughter doing five lines of cocaine and continue their political lynching and sterotyping of the GOP............

Welcome to NAZI America where the Democrat Party is the new "Master Party" and where our MSM wolfpack provide the propaganda they need to grow........."

Are really this stupid or are your just paranoid?

First of all, Bush does deserve a lot of blame. It was his party that drove us into the ditch... 2001 to 2007, everything was under Republican control.

Secondly... the liberals are the facists now?? Seriously, don't use words you do not understand. Do you remember "with us or against us"... do you remember the "Patriot Act"...? Do you remember the Constitution getting shredded in the name of the Global War on Terror?

No, of course you don't... your willful ignorance is showing.

On topic however... I do find it funny that conservatives are screaming about this today. EVERY Town Hall GWB had was stacked with supporters.

Oh, AND he used a teleprompter.

Posted by: jenzinoh | March 30, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I THINK THE ONLY THING THAT SEPERATES OBAMA FROM CHAVEZ IS THE FACT HE DID NOT HAND OUT T-SHIRTS FOR ATTENDING THE TOWN HALL MEETING....OR DID HE?

Posted by: craiger2 | March 30, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Progressively dumb and dumber...team prezident teleprompter and WaPo media bootlickers. Weeetawded Heepocwits!!

Posted by: CatGut | March 30, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

The Liberal Fascists that have taken control of most of America's "mass left-wing media" are at it again........blaming Bush........ censoring Biden's daughter doing five lines of cocaine and continue their political lynching and sterotyping of the GOP............

Welcome to NAZI America where the Democrat Party is the new "Master Party" and where our MSM wolfpack provide the propaganda they need to grow.........

Posted by: allenridge | March 30, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Hmm..."borrowed a page from the
Bush playbook". It's like the writers at these papers can't let go! This is an excellent example why the print media is dying. Take the Post. Good format, decent writing , great sports coverage....the only problem is like the Times or the SF Chronicle, the reader knows the story before he even reads it. The editorial staff is so liberal biased that to a moderate or conservative it seems an insult to one's personal intelligence to even glance at the op-ed page. You can't run a business ticking off 50% of your readership. Try offering an occasional pleasant suprise to the conservative reader.

Posted by: countrycuz | March 30, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I see the back and forth between the right denoting outrage at Obama's clear violation of any proper uses of the 'rules of fairness' and leftists (such as I once was) attacking them for being vicious attackers of the "change" the voters voted for back in November.

To the leftists I'll say the MSM, (which means ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, NPR, PBS/ NY-LA Times, et al/ Time, Newseek, People, et al/ Oprah, Good Morning America, et all) was entirely in bed w/Obama so completely that they'd never betray their lover to the American People.

Obama's smooth operating within Chicago's corrupt political patronage machine politics inside of it's muscular Daley and Stroger Tammany Hall-like machines was MSM's blueprint for their repeated mass-lies to America, defeating our good judgment on November 4. No one makes proper decisions w/o at least most of the information needed in order to make a decision.

I know still willfully deluded people and have heard numerous other voters who are now shocked/concerned at the implications of their un-informed vote. MSM massively lied to America, so there was no real election on November 4. Those same liars are still in place trying to cover up for their wholesale prostitution of their craft. The embedded mass lie (that IS the corrupt MSM) is the reason for America's distrust of the dying MSM.

Posted by: Miguel3 | March 30, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Near as I have ever seen about Obama He's a nice speaking fella, who is a dedicated Marxist. Everything as far as his directives all point to that end. His He's also a jokester of sorts or some one in his retinue is. one. The Campaign promise of CHANGE was a joke for changing the whole form of government in the US. If this goes unchecked and it will go unchecked. The Us will become the USSA. I hope the people who pay the taxes like this. Yes, you'll all be equal...equally down troden, poor, kangaroo trials and summery executions for speaking out. Read Road to serfdom by Hayak and get a clue.

Posted by: jackolantyrn356 | March 30, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

The real bafoons are the Left wing Media in this country.They made a community organizer from a racist church.A super left wing liberal with friends and votes to prove it.Into a super moderate messiah of change and hope.Now I hope all those deceitful SOBS lose their jobs.

Posted by: Totoro | March 30, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Okay, Dems where is the outrage over Obama planting supporters to ask questions in the audience? Of course when Bush did it he was the lowest form of life, when Obama does it, its for our benefit!

Posted by: lorddunsmore | March 30, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

To @M_AlGore -- actually 69,000,000 people voted for Obama, not 65,000,000.
But then 60,000,000 voted for McCain, so clearly you are as much of a liar as Mr Obama, spouting incorrect information.
Or was that just another case of "Campaign rhetoric"?

Posted by: makka2000 | March 30, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

It's unfortunate that the US press didn't pick up on a Sunday Telegraph story on why Obama was so rude to the UK prime minister Gordon Brown.
It told how a source close to the president said that he was exhausted, and getting irritable about having to make decisions faster than he wanted. Welcome to the real world Mr Obama!
But of course he had been in the job 4 weeks then....
But of course they are not going to report about this on their own anointed one.

Posted by: makka2000 | March 30, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

So much for transparency. Clearly Obama doesn't have the guts to answer questions from anyone other than guaranteed supporters.
The lies he told getting elected are now dismissed as "Campaign rhetoric". I wonder how he will define the lies he tells now.

Posted by: makka2000 | March 30, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

While both Obama and Bush used plants to toss softball questions in press conferences, Obama differs from Bush in pretending he would change the way government does business. Bush never made any such claim. So Obama loses on dishonesty to Bush. Must be hard for you libs to swallow that after you spent so long in reaffirming Obama was a not-Bush.

Posted by: Wiggan | March 30, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

@M_AlGore:
"like the 42,000,000 Real Americans that did not vote for the radical"

Right, the 65,000,000 of us who *did* vote for him are FAKE Americans. You right-wing buffoons are hilarious. You feel empowered to abuse the authority granted by the slimmest of margins, yet discount completely Obama's victory, despite its large margin.

Rush Limbaugh should come with a warning label that listening to him may destroy your brain.

Posted by: AMB69 | March 30, 2009 6:10 AM | Report abuse

@tink38570:
"Are you going to now make fun of my 12 year old who has an artificial eye because he suffered from a rare form of eye cancer when he was younger? Or perhaps you would rather put down my autistic son."

I wasn't making fun of Palin's down syndrome baby. I guess you're right though, I apologize. Comparing Palin's baby to some of the right-wing fools posting here is very insulting, and the baby is probably much smarter than a lot of the people posting comments. Thanks for clearing that up.

Posted by: AMB69 | March 30, 2009 6:05 AM | Report abuse

I read reports that Obama's "Virtual Town Hall" had a list of general topics he wished to address.
Fair enough.
I read that anyone who chose to register at the web site were welcome to submit questions related to Obama's topics.
Fair enough.
I read that the web site received around 98,000 responses, with some responders submitting more than one question.
Fair enough.
I read that the questions which were to be answered were pre-selected by Obama's staff. I infer that, as the president's schedule would allow only so much time for his "inter net show," pre-selecting the questions was necessary.
Fair enough.

From those same reports, logical reasoning reveals the following:
Obama now has the e-mail addresses of 98,000 or so potential contributors, some of which may be new;
Obama now knows which are the more important topics (among the options listed) to those 98,000 likely voters;
Obama now knows whether the "Virtual Town Hall" mode of campaigning is useful or not for promoting his agenda and increasing his contributor list;
Obama has tapped deeply into the well of people who believe that somehow he is reaching out to them personally by using the highly impersonal inter net;
Obama learned all this valuable political data before one single question had been asked or answered over the inter net;
Obama has put another one over on his sycophants, and perhaps roped in a few unsuspecting dissenters, as well.

To draw a logical conclusion:
There is no free lunch.
Buyer beware.
Look before you leap.
Always look a gift (Trojan) horse in the mouth.
Never let a good crisis go to waste.
Fool me once ... shame on you. Fool me twice ... shame on me.

I tip my hat to Obama and his merry band of handlers and manipulators. They may, in fact, be smarter than the average voter. It is a given that they are MUCH smarter than the average "journalist." The respondents to Obama's clever ruse, as well as the "propagandizing" useless press, have once again been HAD.

Don't you liberals EVER get tired of being used ?????

Posted by: KatyfromdeepsouthTexas | March 30, 2009 4:17 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone surprised? I mean really. This is pretty much what we have seen since day one with this fool. And what we can expect. Please don't tell me anyone was surprised.

Posted by: thehypnotist2013 | March 30, 2009 3:58 AM | Report abuse


can this article be taken as an example of the msm finding out that they pushed a liar and moron for radical prez.

Posted by: M_Algore | March 30, 2009 2:43 AM | Report abuse


more obama lies - nothing new for patriots with intelligence - like the 42,000,000 Real Americans that did not vote for the radical

its is all more proof of

LIBERAL HYPOCRISY


to go along with the


DEMOCRAT CULTURE OF CORRUPTION


Posted by: M_Algore | March 30, 2009 2:38 AM | Report abuse

These are the questions every American should be asking, because the answers to both will reveal what this "change" is really all about.

Posted by: NDSue | March 30, 2009 2:18 AM | Report abuse

Why are comedians afraid to make jokes about the president?

Posted by: NDSue | March 30, 2009 2:16 AM | Report abuse

Why is the media so afraid of Barack?

Posted by: NDSue | March 30, 2009 2:14 AM | Report abuse

That is a joke, had W stood out there taking questions from people that openly campaigned for him you and the MSM would be have been busting in on our favorite shows to break the news. It is one thing to have people in there that are dems or repubilicans and another to load up the questions from people that worked for your campaign. The man is a fake and barry is his name!!!

***
Come on now, folks. It was an event designed to buck up Obama and so the attendees were carefully selected. I am shocked, shocked to learn that gambling is going on here.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 27, 2009 8:24 PM

Posted by: KABOOKEY | March 30, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Very informative piece. Keep up the good work educating the people.

It's surprising to see the comments of outrage? But, encouraging especially from those who sat silent for the last 8 years of deceit. This is typical den of thieves Washington. Would you not imagine this is typical of 80% of Washington? Yet, we continue to reelect 90% of them every time. The real question is when will the people finally wake up and realize it is not Dems or Reps, it is Washington.

Posted by: nonein2008 | March 30, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse

If you believe the rest of the story, why not believe the reporter's opening statement that Bush stacked townhalls?

Those asking for proof:
He stacked them:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,153720,00.html
He canceled them:
http://www.metafilter.com/39958/With-a-Hush-and-a-Whisper-Bush-Drops-Town-Hall-Meeting-with-Germans
And even had a plant in the press corps.
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2005/02/02/white_house_friendly_reporter_under_scrutiny/

The people invited at Obama's town hall got invitations from pro-Obama groups--just like every political event, everywhere, any party. If you are active in a party you're going to get an invitation. There were only 100 people there, in close proximity to the president; they're not going out and getting the first 100 crazies they find on the street.
I applaud Obama for opening up the process, and if you actually listened to some of the questions, there were definitely some non-supporters asking questions from online.

Posted by: InformedATL | March 30, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

I am SICKENED about Obama (the one that all the Liberals hail as such a "genius" but he reads words off a Teleprompter 24/7 that were written for him by a young WHITE MALE whose other "claim to fame" was caught GROPPING a Hillary Clinton cardboard cut-out) uses "hypnotic phrases" like "change" and "transparent" when he is ANYTHING BUT.
Obama is an Attorney who EXCELLED in the Corrupt Chicago Political Machine as did Axelrod (aka: As a Reporter he was involved in leaking the opposition to Obama's SEALED Divorce records) and Rahn (aka: he sent someone a "fish wrapped in paper" as a "funny gesture").
Obama, and Mrs. Obama, ask us all to give to Charities and yet up through 2006, while they were MAKING MILLIONS, they gave LESS THAN 1 percent of their income to charities.
Mrs. Obama was too busy steering the sick and elderly AWAY from her Hospital, where she sat on a board raking in HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS PER YEAR, and onto local clinics. PATHETIC.
If President Bush read from a Teleprompter 24/7, and then PLANTED 5 "Town Hall Questioners", he would be mocked 24/7 and laughed at and it would be all over the Main Street Media for YEARS!
Obama gets a PASS from the Media as he manipulates everything!
Each of his Cabinet Appointees (i.e. Holder, Janet N, etc.) are COWARDLY examples of the LACK OF SPINE and they can't even muster the strength to use REAL WORDS like ILLEGAL ALIENS, MUSLIM TERRORISTS, and/or MUSLIM EXTREMISTS. Then they call American Citizens "cowards" when, in fact, THEY are the cowards. Holders' firm is REPRESENTING 16 of the Gitmo Detainees. Where is the Post covering this BLATANT CONFLICT OF INTEREST?
Janet N. is NOT enforcing her "oath to the Constitution" and they want nothing more than to expand their "political base" by allowing the ILLEGAL ALIENS, and their family members, to become Citizens. Same with the CENSUS and the involvement of the CORRUPT FELONY ORGANIZATION named (which Obama worked for and then denied and then retracted) ACORN.
PATHETIC, COWARDS, who are CORRPUT and maniuplative 24/7. Welcome to CHANGE.
Jeffrey Schrembs, American Citizen

Posted by: Nostradamuslives | March 30, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Dear Liberal Friends,

Just remember one thing. Sometime down the road your party will not be in power. And when that happens the powers you are now happy to be granting your liberal President, will be used by a President who you do not agree with. The shredding of our Constitution started on this President's watch. From the bail outs to the forcing CEO's of companies to resign, remember it started here. Pay back will be a b*tch.

Posted by: browns44 | March 30, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Obama has lied more in two months than Mr. Bush in 8 years...

"BUSH LIED"

He was vague in every promise and now is taking America down the road to ruin.

WHO THE HELL IS SURPRISED?

DUH!

Posted by: im14fun | March 29, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

The point is: Obama himself said it is important to engage your critics.

So for him to engage in the politics as usual of answering questions from his own campaigners IS a story.

This is yet ANOTHER example of Obama saying one thing, but doing quite the opposite.
------------------------------------
We need something truly refreshing: REAGAN CONSERVATIVE politicians who are pro-INDIVIDUAL rights and pro-Constitution:

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/we-demand-true-conservative-leadership.html
===========================================

Posted by: ensignbay | March 29, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Is this supposed to surprise us?

Posted by: irondog | March 29, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

As you mainstream media frauds, who are active partners and enablers of this great charade, continue to lose subscribers...will you ever learn? Obviously not--the hallmark of liberals is inability to learn anything from history or experience.

So, this actually took you by surprise? I don't even have a college degree and I could have told you this before you reported it. Why not hire me, if you want less egg on your silly, ignorant faces?

Give it up, guys. The Constitution was a nice cover for you while it lasted, but your party (and John McCain) canceled it and you are headed to the ash heap of history, along with all the the other "useful idiots" the Left will soon have no more need of to control the masses.

This is the bed you made--sleep in it. Hell of a bummer that you made it for the rest of us too. I don't believe the next transition will be peaceful, but what do you expect when you suspend the rule of law?

Posted by: gcmere | March 29, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Again, the melancholy refrain: "Not ready to lead, not ready to lead..."

If only someone had warned us.

Posted by: MarkCarlton | March 29, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

The argument that "practically everyone" supported OBAMA is NOT TRUE. Look it up. Actually past presidents won by more. Also, lot of those have voted for the FRAUD HAVE now woken up.

Everything this man does is "STAGED".

Posted by: mjno | March 29, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Writer Garance Franke-Ruta asserts that President Obama has promised to change the way the government does business --- "but in at least one respect he is taking a page from the Bush playbook, stocking his town hall Thursday with supporters whose soft -- though far from planted -- questions provided openings to discuss his preferred message of the day."

An interesting statement. Whom did Bush unfairly include and whom did Bush unfairly exclude? Or was it just that Bush or his aides made sure that the crew throwing questions at him had at least a few Republicans?

Posted by: OsamasPajamas | March 29, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

AMB69 wrote:

"Way to be more retarded than Palin's down syndrome baby."

How dare you. I don't care if you were a McCain/Palin supporter or an Obama/Biden supporter, that was uncalled for. I'm sure your comment does not show the true color of most Obama supporters, but it does show your true color. I happen to have two children with disabilities. Are you going to now make fun of my 12 year old who has an artificial eye because he suffered from a rare form of eye cancer when he was younger? Or perhaps you would rather put down my autistic son. You do not help your cause by making statements like you did, you only make yourself out to look like a very ugly person.

Posted by: tink38570 | March 29, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

These plants just like the liberal media remind me of the movie "Stepford Wives"

Posted by: Midland | March 29, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

And one more thing. O reminds me how attractive Hillary would be at closing time in any bar in the country compared to barry.

Posted by: bmwgolfguy | March 29, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Actually Soros is the wizard of OZ on the key board for the teleprompter!!

Posted by: Midland | March 29, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone really surprised?

Posted by: jltules | March 29, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Well I am shocked and stunned! That this administration would ever allow itself to be sucked in to such chicanery is just unimaginable. What next? Plays out of the Clinton playbook orchestrated by Cueball Carvel? Heaven forbid!

(btw - who is paying for O's cigarettes?)

Posted by: bmwgolfguy | March 29, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

@Jackbit:

Good of you to recognize your intellectual inferiority. That's a rare trait for a Drudgetard/Dittohead.

Posted by: AMB69 | March 29, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

B. Hussein Obama is the Milli Vanilli of Presidencies!

He is America's first: (1) professionally unqualified President; (2) Elected President without solid proof of his being a natural U.S. citizen; (3) socialist/Marxist President; (4) President who relies totally on scripted teleprompters for any understandable utterance; and (5) a proven fraud.

Posted by: JohnGalt6 | March 29, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Everything else about Obama is fake.Why not this too?

Posted by: diana11777 | March 29, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

So, more evidence of no change at all from 0bama?

Only his drones would be surprised, but they're so firmly in denial that they just don't see it.

Posted by: NeverLeft | March 29, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

The following comment can be attributed to the "I'm so much smarter and more elite than the rest of you":

"Considering how many people donated small amounts to his campaign, I imagine it would be difficult to find people who couldn't be considered "backers" in some way. I mean one of these guys donated a whopping $250. Yay Matt Drudge! Yay Rush Limbaugh! Way to be more retarded than Palin's down syndrome baby.

Posted by: AMB69 | March 29, 2009 7:11 PM"

Yay for the true nature of President Obama supporters.

Posted by: Jackbit | March 29, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

This president is a first class tool! A showboat of immense proportions this was nothing unexpected. I just read where he's taking an entourage of 500 plus staff to Europe. What a colossal joke. Where do I sign up to further the cause of impeaching him?

Posted by: phantom1947 | March 29, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Considering how many people donated small amounts to his campaign, I imagine it would be difficult to find people who couldn't be considered "backers" in some way. I mean one of these guys donated a whopping $250. Yay Matt Drudge! Yay Rush Limbaugh! Way to be more retarded than Palin's down syndrome baby.

Posted by: AMB69 | March 29, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

This if for those of you that thought 'TheOne' was going live-up to the hype of being honest & transparent:.........Buhwahhahahaaaa...

Posted by: mbs1960 | March 29, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Unbelievable, the transparent manner with which the mainstream media deflect every little thing away from their false idol.

So, when Obama the Hack stacks his "town hall" meeting with ringers, it's "taking a page from the Bush playbook."

Basically, this WaPo "writer" as much as insinuates in the opening paragraph, that when Obama acts like the dishonest, manipulative, narcissistic control-freak he is, it's all Bush's fault. Don't blame Obama. Bush "invented" it. It's "Bush's playbook." Got it.

It's so sophomoric, so absurd, you have to laugh out loud. What a bunch of dried-out manure.

These mainstream media hypocrites apparently cannot help it. Their primary operating mode is to insult their readers' intelligence and spew the most unsubtle, unrefined, propaganda they can contrive. It's like they went to the bizarro school of journalism.

Looking forward to day when the incestuous media get their full comeuppance.

Posted by: finsher771 | March 29, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

well, duh...B-HO IRKLE is incapable of impromptu or spontaneous responses. again, folks, he's the PUPPET and has not accomplished anything; but, is clearly a full blown MARXIST! AH, for the idiots, this translates into anti-capitalist and UnAmerican! I directly blame every congressman voting and supportng these business take-over plans!

Posted by: tommyrichards | March 29, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Don't let the corrupt Chicago political machine spread--

I would vote for a law that would demand that ANY politician who cheats on taxes or who commits ANY Felony while in office, would be fired immediately, and lose ALL government perks, benefits, and pensions.

Do we want to be corrupt like Mexico or France? We need to take a stand NOW, before the government is too corrupt to pass a law like that.

Any politician brave enough to write this law? any lawyer savvy enough to write it?

Posted by: shari7 | March 29, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Change...............................Soon.

Posted by: jeffreyazz | March 29, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, what in the hell did you expect? Nothing surprises me anymore. I quit watching T.V. because it's so depressing. "Ignorance is bliss"! I console myself in my guns & a bottle of 12 year-old single malt Scotch whisky! There is no known better therapy. It is one medicine I take with glee. ( cheaper then any Dr.)

Posted by: trekcdm | March 29, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

zjr78xva wrote, "The Messiah is a fraud."

Not true. This secular messiah, the empty suit from that cesspool called the Chicago Political Machine, the pretend-Christian, the abortionist-in-chief, the whiner-in-chief, His Hope-and-Changeness--he's the fraud.

The Messiah is not.

Posted by: 1legacy | March 29, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Change you can believe in! Really?
We need more "planned" openness like this. I am beginning to wonder if there is actually anything coming out of this administration or the Messiah's mouth that is truthful?.

Posted by: MikeandDeni | March 29, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey y'all...

What else did you expect from a someone who was willing to use voter fraud and illegal contributions to ascend to the highest office in the land?

The question is not about "how low can he go?".....we need to look ourselves in the eyes and ask....."who are we as a nation that we would elect someone like this to entrust the great heritage our forefathers handed down to us?"

Posted by: LoveMyGOP | March 29, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Everything concerning Obama has been orchestrated from the 2 books he purportedly wrote to his puppet presidency. And what's most disgusting is that the media have been complicit in the Obama charade.

Posted by: judithod | March 29, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

This hardly seems like news. I assume every event he does is scripted, including press conferences. This is a man who knows himself well enough to know when he is off the script, he is prone to screwing up.

Special Olympics, anyone?

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | March 29, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

GWB is not the President; that would be Barack Obama. There seem to be some posters here who are confused. Obama deals from the bottom of the deck at every opportunity so there should be no amazement that he hand-picks participants for his public appearances. Obama is unable to bear scrutiny from any except either the mentally deficient or the traitors that support him, so he is unable to appear before bipartisan audiences when ad lib questioning might occur. The American 'press' will never call him on his serial lying or his intent because were they to do that, there would be a tacit admission of their stupidity. Never fear, though, the foreign press is eating him alive. Have faith! Good always wins out over evil, sometimes it just takes a while.

Posted by: KATZ66 | March 29, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Once again, time to discredit the claims that Bush kept all opposition from attending his CAMPAIGN rallies. Not true.
I heard such reports during the last campaign and thought that was outrageous, so, when Bush came to town I decided to find out. I called and asked "can a Dem attend?", yes, of course, was the answer, just remember that NO political signs, shirts hats or button, either FOR or AGAINST.

Got my free tickets, went with my son, saw all of the signs and stuff that people brought (most supporting the Pres.) stacked by the side at the security entry - just like they said, no signs for or against, only the official campaign signs.

So, inside I see two women be detained, because they hid t-shirts under coats to get in and then displayed them - they deserved to be and were booted out.

Now, some commenters try to say its Bush's fault that Obama stages and manipulates an Official event. BS. the dishonesty is O's alone.

So, enough with the lies about "free speech" at Bush's campaign rallies.

Posted by: Sashland | March 29, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Still no outcry from the sycophants and boot lickers of the so-called media.

Posted by: ricardo4max | March 29, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Why in the world would we NOT suspect anything as sleazy, shady, low down, underhanded, deceptive, and fraudulent an action as this from the impostor in chief, der Fuehrer, formerly known as the messiah?

Posted by: ricardo4max | March 29, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Wow. What a surprise. So what if Bush "stacked" his audiences. Wasn't this guy supposed to be different? Yeah, sure.

Posted by: Lilycat11 | March 29, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Occasionally people were removed from Bush press conferences that had started yelling or protesting while Bush was talking. Obama should be allowed the same privilege, but it's not comparable to what happened at this STAGED town hall meeting.

Why are you Obamabots basing your excuses for him picking his own questioners on Bush? Yes, that is exactly what he did. He had people submit their questions prior to asking in his 'town hall' so he didn't get any surprises.

On top of that, Obama most likely had his teleprompter there to make sure he gave the right answer. He is nothing but a silver tongued fraud, and his followers are a bunch of unthinking rubes.

Posted by: ABHFGTY | March 29, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Who cares if these idiots are asking the floundering fool questions. So somehow the hapless dunce stocking his phony Town Hall meetings is somehow different than the media scum doing his bidding for him? Obama is nothing but a fruad to begin with and he couldn't have perpetrated his fruad on the American people without the help of the Washington Compost.Fifty Three percent of the American people are getting just what they deserve with this Chicago hack politician,unfortunately 47% also are getting punished by the 53% of fools.The proof is in the media and their love child are both fruads.

Posted by: fe59 | March 29, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The only way we are going to get REAL CHANGE is by stopping politics as usual. We have the same people for the most part in Washngton, DC, year after year. They just change the chairs they sit in! People like Chris Dodd get elected over and over because the Republicans do not stand a chance in Connecticut, and honest, qualified Democrats will not challenge him! We are then stuck with him for decades as he deludes himself he could be elected President and moves his family to Iowa! Then he comes back to Connecticut and offers three stories about AIG in the same week, writes a book about how he 'saved' the financial markets, etc. Average people of both parties need to get involved and put this country back on the right track where it works for the people and not the privileged or connected! The koolaid drinkers of both parties do not represent the majority of Americans....They are just the loudest!
Do something....get involved!
Bill Evans-Contributor
OurPromiseToAmerica.org

Posted by: TermLimits2010 | March 29, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I too, would like to hear an example of W doing this, but more importantly, I believe it is no secret that Obama isn't inclined to be open or transparent. He and his cadre of control freaks will only let us see and hear what they want us to, in addition, they send red herrings out in all directions to distract us. It is almost impossible to digest one assault on our economy, values, or freedom, before they create another one. And the word IS create...they aren't reacting to a crises or situation, they are creating it....and that is why they have to salt Town Hall meetings with their supporters.....very Orwellian.

Posted by: 4NoParty | March 29, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Come on Nora, the writer said in the lead of the story "but in at least one respect he is taking a page from the Bush play book, stocking his town hall Thursday with supporters whose soft -- though far from planted -- questions provided openings to discuss his preferred message of the day." That is all that needs to be said in a story about Obama. Bush was a twit for this but that doesn't make it alright for Obama as you imply. Wake up. your man is just another Bush, with nothing to offer but collective stupidity. The fact you voted for him doesn't mean he can get away with anything he wants. Two wrongs don't make a right. Maybe this is over your head, but most politicians are worthless in a crunch and its already obvious with Mr Obama, just like it was with Mr. Bush. The only difference is Obama it trying to destroy the country and Bush was ignorant enough to think he was helping. We are all in deep trouble because of people like Clinton, Bush, and Obama. It looks like our country is doomed and you seem thrilled about it like many of those who voted for Obama. I, for one, will never call you comrade!! Even when the law demands it.

Posted by: craigpedersen255 | March 29, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Dear Garance Franke-Ruta:
You forgot to provide an example of when Bush did this. Do your job; have some pride man. Don't be a mouthpiece, pony up, take pride in being a provider of the facts and report - don't make excuses for the guy you like. Questions are raised...if Bush did this, have other Presidents as well? REPORT PLEASE, we need it out here.

Posted by: norathorn | March 29, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

As a canadian, I can not believe the Obama supporters.Can they not see what Obama is doing to your awesome country??? Are they blind?? Or do they not care!!!Your future is at stake!

Posted by: lawnchairliz | March 29, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.Impeach Obama, Impeach Pelosi, Impeach Reid.

Posted by: rvenema | March 29, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I will wait with bated breath to hear the outrage of the mainstream media. I am afraid I will turn blue, die, and be buried for years before we hear anything negative about this from the Obama worshippers. The man lies. I've figured that out, so why can't the others who still see him as the Messiah.

Posted by: LuKuj | March 29, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

This is what we call "transparent", right?

Posted by: DickTuck | March 29, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

BozObama can't be truthful for anything.

This is the socialism you butthead liberals voted for. Go get in line, get your free stuff, free health care, free borders, free mortgages, free everything, and in a year or so it will have all evaporated... along with your freedom.

And don't forget to be good little liberals and hand in your guns, take off your shoes, hand over your tweezers, and throw away your shampoo in airports, send your kids to government indoctrination schools, and most of all don't forget to bend over and crack a smile so you can receive what you voted for.

Posted by: fantum | March 29, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

What did you expect? Obama has set himself up in a virtual dictatorship, his policies represent the biggest government grab in history, his spending purposely being done to bankrupt the country completely so that his elitist banker friends and handlers can take over for good and merge us into their envisioned world order. (Can you say Kissinger, Soros, Rockefeller, Goldman Sachs, the Warburgs, etc?)

Yes we kooks have known this for a long time, and those of you who were skeptical should now realize that it's too late to change things save for a full blown revolution which may indeed actually happen once the UN starts taxing us. They are in fact getting the military ramped up for civil unrest, to be used to quell the masses, in violation of posse commitatus.

As far as I am concerned this has been an illegal communist coup d'etat where the gov't officials are not acting within the constitution and thus I am no longer giving my money to them. I do not recognize this gov't as a legitimate republic of the people any longer and wish to be no part of it.

Posted by: username | March 29, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"What if Bush had done it?" That question, and a thousand variations of it, will be asked again and again during the next 4-8 years. I'm already tired of it; first, because I already know the answer, and secondly, because the idea that you can shame Democrats and their MSM sycophants into honesty is absurd.

Posted by: philgrey9 | March 29, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Do you really think that either candidate, during the election, didn't tailor the audiences to weed out any undesirables? You're ALL drinking your own KoolAid if you think different. You neocon whackos think our situation would be any different (right now) had McCain been elected. Wake the EF up! You are blinded by your own party.

Posted by: Ashloch | March 29, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I'm really surprised that osamabama and all who cling to him like wisps of toilet paper are a collective POS!!

Sort of what one would expect of a man who issued from the lower bowel of Chicago politics...

Posted by: jsanderssr | March 29, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Lets review a couple of recent of Obama's exchanges with the public:
- Henrietta Hughes: Attended an Obama 'town hall' meeting in Ft. Meyers. Had a front row seat. Cried her eyes out about her homelessness. She managed to get Obama to promise that he was going to do everything he could to help her. Wonderful.

Turns out Henrietta Hughes recently GAVE her home to her son. She may own at least two other properties. And she recently turned down free housing that was offered to her by a local charity. She was a fraud.

- Joe the Plummer: The last person to challenge Obama. How was Joe treated? He was raped by the press. Had every aspect of his life challenged. The state of Ohio investigated his finances.

I don't recall Bush ever succumbing to fraud at a public hearing. I don't recall anyone being personnally destroyed for challenging Bush. I don't recall Bush using the 'town hall' forum, nor do I recall many instances of Bush being provided with softball questions or adoration from the public.

There is no comparison between how Obama and Bush handled public questions.

These 'town hall' meetings are neither open nor productive. Obama isn't going to allow anyone to challenge him, and if they do, they will be personally attacked. It doesn't matter if the town halls are packed with adoring supporters or if the questions are planted...these 'town hall' meetings are publicity stunts. Pablam for his pietistic public.

Posted by: bkidd1 | March 29, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Instead of trying to run this country (Which he is not qualified to do) he is out on the Jay Leno show, 60 Minutes, faking his own Hall Meetings or just picking his Final 4. All ways in front of the camera a Lip syncing rockstar.

Posted by: JustsaynotoBO | March 29, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

At
town halls
and
press conferences,
Barack ANTOINETTE Obama's plan is...
"Let them have FAKE."

Posted by: dumbreddown | March 29, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Have you seen this mortal man in front of the camera, he grins from ear to ear. At the Eisenhower Building he stategically places his head in front of the presidential seal so that he appears to be glowing. This guy is a rockstar who is lip sinking.

Posted by: JustsaynotoBO | March 29, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

For all of you Kool-Aid drinking Obama Maniacs, 72 % of Americans voted, 38% for Obama and 34 % for McCain, leaving 28% who did not vote for either of the lousy candidates, Hardly a mandate, especially when you consider the efforts of Acorn and Soros. Now your Messiah is planting questions in his town hall meetings hardly a change from anything I have seen. Change is all we will have in our pockets with this President. Socialism and increased taxes is what we are going to get from this mortal man. He is not qualified!!

Posted by: JustsaynotoBO | March 29, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

@ zefal | March 28, 2009 9:25 PM

Planting questioners and passing them off as general public isn't what's being alleged here. It seems to me the author was pointing out that the folks who asked questions were all supporters, which as many others have pointed out, isn't all that surprising, given the political makeup of DC, and the fact that Dems are more likely to show up at Dem White House events, anyway.

Good try, though...

@ gdsuffern | March 29, 2009 5:46 AM

I think the point of we commenters bringing up Bush is to point out that Obama ISN'T doing what Bush did. It seems to me, we believe this author is confusing a Dem White House event where Dems showed up and asked questions, with Bush admin events where those who disagreed were not permitted entry. In both cases, you get friendly questions, but only one is the result of manipulation and manufactured consent.

Until I see a few credible reports of people barred from entering Obama events based on political affiliation (as evidenced by shirts, pins, bumper stickers, posters, as happened to people at Bush "public" events--I tried to post links to 3-4 such stories in a comment a few minutes ago, but it is being held for moderation... Hopefully, it will pass muster.), I'll not lose too much sleep over the fact that the majority of people asking Obama questions at public events are Democrats. Now that they know Obama isn't pre-screening the audience, I expect there will be more and more Republicans and conservatives going to these events, in hopes of "taking their verbal shot" at the President and his policies. (A good hour or two of "open phones" on CSpan would be cool, too... I wouldn't put it past him, either...)

Posted by: repsac3 | March 29, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Obama can not afford to leave anything to chance.

He needs to control the "dialogue," because he needs to make sure the communicating is done in the language known as BarackSpeak.

Do YOU wish to become fluent in BarackSpeak?

Attend the following session at Global Speakers' Summit in Capetown, South Africa next month.

http://www.globalspeakersummit.org/schedule.html

"Rhetoric Taken to Another Level: Appreciating and Learning from BarackSpeak"

Here's the summary of the session:

(This is not a satire. It only seems like one.)

"Most people sit in awe of what Obama is able to do with the words he speaks to massive audiences. Dr. Janelle Barlow, C.S.P. will analyze Obama’s rhetoric to break down the useable components of his speaking style. Janelle will also demonstrate how actual CEO speeches can benefit from REWRITING INTO BARACKSPEAK."

Posted by: dumbreddown | March 29, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me? You are aware that 69 million people voted for Barack Obama, aren't you? You found five of them in a townhall audience and this is somehow considered "news"?

Posted by: incognita | March 29, 2009 5:48 AM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me? You are aware that over 69 million people voted for Barack Obama, aren't you? You found five of them in a townhall audience and this is somehow considered "news"?

Posted by: incognita | March 29, 2009 5:47 AM | Report abuse

Um...guys? The central point is that this is a man and a campaign which ran on being the exact OPPOSITE of all-things-Bush. So, the turn around here is delicious! Funny how the Obama cultists are in full immature force declaring, "But, but...Bush did it!!!" Fine. You want to declare Bush the irrevocable standard to measure presidential decisions, ok. I believe that even Conservatives had their issues with the Bushes...mainly because of his liberal bend...which you people never acknowledged. Yet, you are only too happy to claim these things for your sacred Obama. It's just so perfect how you want to tell us that this "brilliant orator" addicted to the prompter is now more like Bush than not...and that is supposed to somehow be a good thing.

One day the scales will drop.

Posted by: gdsuffern | March 29, 2009 5:46 AM | Report abuse

zefal -

The Bush administration paid people to pretend to be journalists.

You'd have to ask Garance Franke-Ruta to explain her assertion about Bush.

But check out this exchange between Bill O'Reilly and Ari Fleischer:

O’REILLY: George Bush came in with a list of guys he was going to call on?

FLEISCHER: Yes, I used to prepare it for him. I would give him a grid, show him where every reporter is seated. And there are some reporters, you know, in that briefing room, you can imagine, Bill, you get a lot of dot coms and other oddballs who come in there. They’re screened.

O’REILLY: Like the Huffington Post. Now it gets called on.

FLEISCHER: And I used to seat them all in one section. I would call it “Siberia.” And I told the president, “Don’t call on Siberia.”

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 29, 2009 1:29 AM | Report abuse

The Messiah is a fraud.

Posted by: zjr78xva | March 29, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

JohnQuimby,

That isn't planting questioners in an audience and passing them off as John Q. Public.

Posted by: zefal | March 28, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Please, Garance Franke-Ruta, refresh our memories with links to stories of President Bush doing this. The one time he was accused of doing this proved to be bogus.

Perhaps you meant to say this is from the bill and hillary Clinton's playbook?

Posted by: zefal | March 28, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

pabarge:

Here's a page from the Bush playbook for you.

From the federal investigation into Video News Releases:

"The range of VNR is wide. Among items provided by the Bush administration to news stations was one in which an Iraqi-American in Kansas City was seen saying "Thank you Bush. Thank you USA" in response to the 2003 fall of Baghdad. The footage was actually produced by the State Department, one of 20 federal agencies that have produced and distributed such items."

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 28, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

"taking a page from the Bush playbook"

Please back this up with substantiation that GWB hand-packed questioners with his supporters. Please name events, dates and locations and describe the questioners.

tick. tock.

Posted by: pabarge | March 28, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Smell the Change ™

Posted by: masonjahr | March 28, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

LOL! :-D

Pointing out the true about O'Bomba's Stooges!

Now THAT'S, Transparency I can Believe in! ;~)

But seriously;

Anyone even remotely SURPRISED?!

Posted by: SAINT---The | March 28, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Change. Transparency. Not.

Posted by: JoeCollins1 | March 28, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

In a piece extremely heavy on insinuation and light as air on actual evidence, the WaPo makes the following statements: "...[President Obama] is taking a page from the Bush playbook, stocking his town hall...," "... the five fully identified questioners called on randomly by the president in the East Room were anything but a diverse lot."
No evidence is presented that non-supporters were refused entrance. No evidence is presented that Obama pre-selected his questioners or that he knew who they were when he called on them.
Bush stocked his public appearances by making attendees get tickets from local supporters. No one got in without a ticket, i.e., without an endorsement that they were certified as being pro-Bush. Obama has made it clear that all American citizens are welcome to his appearances.
The session was held in Washington D.C., which voted for Obama by a factor of 9 to 1, so It's hardly surprising that a truly random selection of only six people would yield 100% pro-Obama questioners.
The detailed investigations that are done on these six people would be less disturbing if there were any clear point in making these investigations in the first place. It's not at all clear what the reporter was attempting to prove.
This is a truly revolting piece that any truly professional reporter would be embarrassed to put his or her name to.

Posted by: rlg3526 | March 28, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

When John Boehner(13% approval)can interrupt the president to announce a budget plan that contains no actual information - I don't have to wonder why conservatives aren't included in a serious discussion of the economy.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 28, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

For me it isn't a matter of who was there, but who was turned away. There were many allegations (some backed by news reports) that those wearing shirts, pins, or carrying posters unfriendly to Bush or the Republican party during the previous administration were denied entry into Bush "public" events, and tended to be placed in "free speech zones" out of sight & earshot of the President or his party.

So far, I have seen no similar allegations or news reports of similar things happening to those unfriendly to President Obama or the Democratic party.

Inviting your political allies because they're political allies (to whatever extent that was even done in this case) is one thing; barring your political critics by screening them out when they want to attend, based on their political views, is a whole other ball of wax.

If the same kinda case can be made that Obama is doing what Bush did in that respect, I will gladly call him on it, as I did Bush. So far, this is Democrats showing up to an event hosted by a Democratic White House. This shouldn't even be news--unless a Republican who wanted to attend or who had an invitation to do so was denied entry based on his party affiliation.

Posted by: repsac3 | March 28, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The "Bush" playbook? I guess you were asleep when the Democrats planted their operatives in the 2004 and 2008 election cycle debates.

Now on the other hand I can't recall a single instance of Bush planting one of his operatives into a debate.

Posted by: RealityHammer | March 28, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I love the hypocrisy. I can't believe the post is letting this out about the community organizer. The obamabots cry like biatches and scream bush did it everytime someone is critical of the tele-prompter. I hope America will make the socialists pay in 2010.

Posted by: dugedug62 | March 28, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

EYES ONLY TO: vincep1974


Thanks for telegraphing the punch.

Next time, just open the umbrella.

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 28, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

LOL. Why do we even have a media?

When these clowns are finished sniffing our presidents sack maybe they can find time to polish his shaft.

Posted by: goaway41 | March 28, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

This president welcomes all ideas and perspectives. Yeah, I'd say that too if I knew my handlers were making sure that only my adoring fans would be asking me questions. I rarely use the term, but "Obot" is so appropriate. They think only in terms of what pleases the leader and not in terms of what is best for all Americans to know about the intentions of our leader.

Posted by: pjean | March 28, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

When will the media stop covering this nonsense as news. It's Obama propaganda. Townhalls are just for him to have softball questions that make him look good. It isn't news, just an extension of the endless Obama campaign.

Posted by: mramsour | March 28, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised you didn't open the article by saying, "Bush appeared in Iraq on Thanksgiving with a fake plastic turkey."

Where is the proof or evidence that Bush had townhall meetings with questioners that were preselected?

Other than quoting insane and deranged sufferers of BDS, were is the evidence that Bush did this?

Posted by: seanr_64 | March 28, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Fraud. Phony. Charlatan. Empty suit. Strawman. Coward. Vacuous. Inane. Shallow.

All of these words should be in the Thesaurus as synonyms for "Obama"

If we get the politicians we deserve, we have indeed sunk to the 9th circle of Hell.

Posted by: AudaciousAardvark | March 28, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

There is no evidence that Bush "stocked" his audiences with shills. Clearly, there is evidence that Obama practices this deception by the article.

Even if Bush did it, why would that make it OK for Obama to do?

Posted by: Sigmonde | March 28, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

A gutless attempt to keep the people in the dark, the type of tactics used by Castro, Chavez and a host of other petty dictators. If our president wants to reclaim the image of perfection he will need to do better than this.

Posted by: DL13 | March 28, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

There is a huge difference between "I voted for Obama" and "I worked actively on Obama's campaign in one form or another".

The former is a voter, the latter, campaign staff.

It's all marketing. The guy is still running for President because that is what he knows how to do. I find it hilarious that he's mused in interviews that he needs his technology and that he mourns being able to sit and have a cup of coffee in public because that allows him to have his finger on the pulse of the people.

If you only have coffee with syncophants, you're only going to get your own views, echoed back to you. Pressing your fingers against your own wrist only reveals your own heartbeat.

Whoopee. Hardly a revelation to know that Barack supports Barack! ROFL Everyone supports me because I support me.

If anyone believed that he actually was going to talk to real people and allow them to speak in a real way that wasn't controllable, I have some swampland for sale.

Posted by: Geepers1 | March 28, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Love the Bush Derangement Syndrome in the first paragraph. Just spent 10 minutes Googling, and, other then a few far out lefties making an accusation, there is no proof that Bush stocked his town halls.

Care to back it up, Garance Franke-Ruta?

Posted by: NCDevil | March 28, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Another of Obama's phony openness and transparency.

Posted by: lynnL123 | March 28, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I am sick of your thoughts Who else would be at an Obama rally. His supporters who else???????

Posted by: barryaudrey | March 28, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Um, hey, WaPo, don't mean to take you down or anything, but you do realize this town hall was held in Washington D.C., right? A city that gave Obama about 90% support? I only mention this to ask the question: what the heck were you expecting from a town hall meeting in D.C.? Even Southern MD and Northern VA are more Democrat than not right now.

Also, didn't you or the NY Times run a story not a month ago about how Obama's town hall meetings were a notable departure from Bush's, and that he was getting asked questions that were *not* favorable to him? Do us all a favor. First, understand that one town hall does not a trend make; and second, report real news, not this schlock, please. Merci, thank you, and good day!

Posted by: suntzusartofmun | March 28, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

It's precious how the Obamabots get so angry when their mothership is exposed as the Trojan Horse that it is.

Panic panic... its only two months and his phoniness is so huge that it's already come all undone.

Biden - President '09!

Posted by: vincep1974 | March 28, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

It is politics as usual, and this phony slug isn't any different from Pelosi, Reid or any of the corrupt democrats in Congress. This would have been a front page rant on the Post if it had been Bush, and you hypocrites know it.
Obama and Gibbs make Bill Clinton look like an honest man.
The Obama incompetents are all a bunch of leftists, and even though you liberal weak minds won't admit it, you've been had by the democrats....again.
What a bunch of dolts.

Posted by: LarryG62 | March 28, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Sigh, another non "news" story. The writer will have to join the ranks of Scott Wilson- "AIG BONUS BLOWBACK IMPERILS OBAMA'S POLITICAL AGENDA" when the polls say otherwise. Mike Shear had another non- news story, where it was gossip and inuendo, on the front page. And let's not forget The Fix saying the biggest story from the WH presser was the Prez calling on lesser known publications with Obama risking the ire of the MSM who sets the conventional wisdom of the presidency. LOL!!!
Before the election the MSM and the RNC CONSTANTLY inderestimated Obama's outreach, popularity, and the public's capacity to see through spin. The MSM didn't realize that when he said CHANGE in DC, he meant the media too. Wake up and smell the coffee, or become irrelevant like the GOP. The times, they are a changin'!

Posted by: katem1 | March 28, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Did Garance forget to include their ACORN membership? But when "The One" gets his agenda rammed through the DIMocrat congress, they'll be easy enough to identify in their uniforms of brown shirts. And those of us who don't don the brown shirts will be summarily dealt with.

Posted by: segeny | March 28, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed that BO's supporters are incredibly thin-skinned? Like President Obama himself, these folks don't like to hear even the most mild criticism of the lightweight currently in office.

And being thin-skinned isn't something BO inherited from the Bush administration. Even now, President Bush acts with class towards our class-less group in the White House.

Posted by: mdkelly99 | March 28, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

The Post has become a pathetic parody of journalism as it slowly dies.

Posted by: branfo4 | March 28, 2009 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Wonder if this "writer" ever did an expose' of why Jeff/Gannon /Guckert was in Bush's white house????? Well??

Posted by: waawaazaire | March 28, 2009 3:26 AM | Report abuse

INNOCENT BUT TARGETED.


Google it.

YOU, or someone close to you, could be the next victim.

Unless Team Obama/AG Holder takes action.

Now. Before it's too late.


http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 28, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

It's a shame we don't have real journalists to question the President for depth in his answers. Townhall meetings with superficial answers to superficial questions are a waste of time but they make people feel good while politicians rob them blind.

Posted by: rpatoh | March 28, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

GFR: Good job, I'm surprised the WaPo would publish anything critical of The One.

At a recent townhall in OC, one of those called on was a union official, and whoever the other people were they only asked the weakest questions, such as the one described here:

http://24ahead.com/obama-asked-stock-question-about-immigration-gives-stock-une

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | March 27, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Many people, perhaps a majority, are smart enough to realize when "soft" questions are asked by those in the audience to a candidate or president, they are from supporters. Mildly interesting story, Obama apologists seem unwilling to acknowledge obvious propagenda efforts involved. Hardly different from Hillary's, John McCain's or George W. Bush's town hall meetings. Politicians from both parties, from different idological perspectives are alike in wanting to avoid answering difficult, embarassing or critical questions.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | March 27, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

One phrase - "though far from planted" - in referring to the audience for the Web Town Hall. Hardly Bush-esque! I am not surprised that most of the attendees and questioners are Obama backers and supporters, who may have contributed on the net to his campaign. This young and innovative crowd are an important part of his base. But to title this article as "Obama Town Hall Questioners Were Campaign Backers" is misleading; it sends out unsavory vibes.

Posted by: jbleenyc | March 27, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

As a Democrat who voted for NOT Obama all I can do is: LOL lol lol lol lol.... lol.

A comedy if it were not so tragic.

Posted by: Realitycheck6 | March 27, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

IT'S THE SCOOP OF THE CENTURY!!!

No wait. Garance used a pooper scooper.

Posted by: kevinschmidt | March 27, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Another ho-hum article from an unknown reporter who really should go back to J-School and learn how to report the news. If newspapers want to know why intelligent citizens no longer read the news, they can look to articles such as this.

Posted by: marmac5 | March 27, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I mean, Bush always stacked his audience with supporters, so it's S.O.P. in Versailles, right? Move along, people, move along! There's no story here!

Posted by: lambert_strether | March 27, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

As I understand it, they can vote too.
Shocking.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 27, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Did someone forget to adjust yorkville's meds?

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 27, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

WE MUST CONSTANTLY UNDERMINE OBAMA IN THE MEDIA BECAUSE HE HAS SLAPPED ISRAEL AROUND, AND WONT INVADE IRAN FOR ISRAEL............KEEP WRITING ARTICLES LIKE THIS, IT ALL HELPS OUR CAUSE.ISRAEL FIRST !!!!!!!

Posted by: yorkville7 | March 27, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Come on now, folks. It was an event designed to buck up Obama and so the attendees were carefully selected. I am shocked, shocked to learn that gambling is going on here.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 27, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

What a silly non-story this is: Supposedly proving that Obama is just "poitics as usual"! Very disappointing...Diane

Posted by: dianajo99 | March 27, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

70 million voted for Obama, 15 million signed up on his website, 3 million donated to him. His supporters were much more likely to actually make the effort to go to the townhall. This is yet another instance of the MSM just trying to gin up trouble wherever they can.

Posted by: calvinav | March 27, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

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