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Obama's tough talk on terror

1. President Obama laid out -- in stark terms -- the failure of his administration to properly act on intelligence regarding Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and pledged to "do better" in the future in remarks made late Tuesday. Obama, perhaps sensitive to the charge that he was too dispassionate in his first remarks about the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day, was by turns firm and aggressive. Missed the speech? Here are the highlights: 1) "The system has failed in a potentially disastrous way." 2) "Intelligence was not fully analyzed or fully leveraged." 3) "We have to do better." 4) "Make no mistake: we will close Guantanamo prison." 5) "The margin for error is slim and the consequences of failure can be catastrophic."

2. We've noted before in this space that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is using Facebook to serve as a sort of shadow president, a constant counter to President Obama on nearly every issue. Palin's latest missive came late Tuesday when she decried Obama's approach to terrorism as "fatally flawed" because the administration sees the issue through a law enforcement lens rather than a national security one. Palin's Facebook riffs allow her to speak directly to those who share her worldview without having to wade through questions from the news media seeking deeper answers to the complex problems she is addressing. The goal? Perhaps to install Palin as the obvious foil to the current president thereby giving her the right of first refusal when the 2012 Republican presidential primary fight comes around.

3. The departure of Lt. Gov. John Cherry from the 2010 Michigan governor's race is very good news for Democratic strategists who had resigned themselves to losing the seat if he was their nominee. Speculation immediately turned to Denise Ilitch, the daughter of Mike Ilitch who owns the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings. Polling has been conducted to test Ilitch's viability in the contest; her considerable personal wealth and lack of a voting record -- she has never run for office before -- is attractive to national Democrats who recognize the state's economy makes the race an uphill one for them. Aside from Ilitch, state House Speaker Andy Dillon and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero are also seriously looking at the race and would be formidable. While Cherry's departure gives Democrats a fighting chance to hold the seat in 2010, Republicans who have an extremely strong field, are still favored given the struggles of the state's economy and voters' weariness with outgoing Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D).

4. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will head to New Hampshire later this month, his first visit to the Granite State in more than three years and a trip sure to re-start talk of a potential presidential bid by the Georgia Republican in 2012. Gingrich will be in Manchester at Southern New Hampshire University on Jan. 30 to speak at a conference sponsored by fiscally conservative businessman Fred Tausch. Mike Dennehy, a consultant to Tausch and longtime New Hampshire adviser to Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), heaped praise on Gingrich in an interview with the Manchester Union Leader's John DiStaso -- calling him the "pre-eminent creative thinker in the Republican Party." Gingrich, who weighed a presidential bid in 2008 before ultimately deciding against it, has said little publicly about his interest in a run for national office in 2012.

5. Lynda Tran, communications director for outgoing Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D), will join her boss in Washington later this month. While Kaine will leave office on Jan. 16 and become the full time chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tran will take a post as the national press secretary for Organizing for America, the grassroots arm of the DNC. Prior to her work for Kaine, Tran spent nearly a decade in the communications operation at the Service Employees International Union. She replaces Natalie Wyeth who left OFA over the summer for a job at the Justice Department.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 6, 2010; 6:03 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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Comments

Ooops. The radicals and terrorists are in the White House.

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | January 7, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

37thand0street
FYI:
Obama has not gone soft on terrorism because so far he has up the ante to fight Al Queda in Afghanistan whereas GWB left things static for 8 years while focusing on Iraq ("Saddam tried to kill my daddy" and among other things before justifying the WMD which happens to be bogus; for proof David Kay says so after spending 5 years looking). It doesn't help when Cheney opens his mouth acting like a chicken with his head lopped off.

Posted by: beeker25 | January 7, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Another statement from Palin on Facebook without having to explain her reasons (lest she looks dumb for answering it) for decrying Obama's approach which should be both national security and law enforcement IMO. This is an example why Palin will not get far in the nomination process should she run and JakeD stop slobbering over her like a teenager.

Posted by: beeker25 | January 7, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

MORE APPARENT MISADVENTURES IN LAME GOVERNMENT CENSORSHIP...

...OF CHRIS CILLIZZA'S "THE FIX," "44" AND OTHER POLITICAL INTERNET BLOGS.

(Good people on the inside: PLEASE FORWARD TO JOHN BRENNAN / DENNIS BLAIR, c/o White House. They need to see this one...)

See "Reporting" section, http://Poynter.org OR http://NowPublic.com/scrivener, comments section, "U.S. Silently," "Witness Says..."

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 6, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

37th:

"leapin" is OBVIOUSLY not serious. You need to get some rest (you are starting to sound as paranoid as "scrivener50").

Posted by: JakeD | January 6, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

leapin


Are you serious? Because I think you are. That is the mentality that will NOT end the war, but it will get a whole bunch of Americans killed.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

I can not stress how serious these terrorist releases are - and how serious it is that Obama has gone soft on terrorism - almost under the radar.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 6, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

You see Obama has this idea in his head that if he releases a bunch of terrorists, maybe al Queda will realize what a great guy he is and just stop fighting.


You decide if that is a good idea.

Posted by: 37thand0street
--------------------------------------
Besides being a great guy having a cool Middle Eastern middle name will go a long way towards stopping the fighting.

Posted by: leapin | January 6, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Too bad caribou and polar bears can't vote; actually better for Idiot Palin they can't, she wants to see them extinct. OTOH if they're Republicans they'd probably vote for her just like wage slaves vote GOP, against their own self-interest.

How could anyone still believe in her? Easier to believe in Santa.

Posted by: Noacoler | January 6, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD | January 6, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Someone needs a reality check.

Palin is not going to get the Republican nomination. They're (what's left of) a political party, not a comedy troupe.

In Nov. 2008 she was a charismatic unknown; now she's that nitwit who quit in a snit. We don't vote for quitters and we like our presidents to have something between the ears other than hair roots.

Forgot NY23 already? How'd that work out?

Posted by: Noacoler | January 6, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

koolkat_1960:

Are you including Mr. Cillizza as one of "her slavering mob of half-witted drooling fans"? Also, note that I didn't say "one of" the largest States. There's is no dispute that (a) Alaska is THE largest State in the Union, and (b) tundra doesn't vote (although a majority of graveyards in Cook County do ; )

She will go on "Meet the Press" if she runs (and she is next "in line"), and of course I am referring to "best shot" among the Republican Party -- once she is nominated, all bets are off -- I don't expect she would get the Green Party's nomination, if that's what you meant.

Posted by: JakeD | January 6, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

..............NEWS FLASH


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A classified Pentagon assessment shows one in five detainees released from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay has joined or is suspected of joining militant groups like al Qaeda, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

The disclosure comes amid revelations that former detainees were playing a leadership role in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula


__________________________________


The point is not whether Bush released some terrorists - he did - but those were deemed the least dangerous - AND THIS POLICY IS NOW WRONG.


We should not release any more terrorists, it is that simple.

Obama's policy places the SECURITY OF AMERICA WAY DOWN THE PRIORITY LIST.

Apparently, the most important determinant NOW is whether Obama's people think they are going to lose some motions in Court and be embarrassed.


If Obama's people think they are oging to lose a motion, its "Get Out of Gitmo Free" Cards for the Terrorists.

Obama is INSISTING ON THIS POLICY.


Please note Obama STOPPED HIS NEWS CONFERENCE ON GETTING TOUGH ON TERRORISM - to re-state that he was going to close Gitmo (and by implication maybe release some more terrorists in the process.)

The Detroit bomber interrupted more than Obama's vacation - which Obama arrogantly decided to not let him do - the Detroit bomber disrupted Obama's "Get Soft on Terrorists" policy.


You see Obama has this idea in his head that if he releases a bunch of terrorists, maybe al Queda will realize what a great guy he is and just stop fighting.

You decide if that is a good idea.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 6, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"What makes her a shadow President is not just Facebook. It's the fact that she is the most recent GOP nominee for Vice President, former Governor of the largest State in the Union, author of the best-selling political memoir (beating Bill Clinton's "My Life" with 2.8 million copies), and BEST SHOT at taking Obama down."

LOL Jake, it's not too late for you to go into a career as a gagwriter for Letterman or Leno. This is great stuff.

First of all, no one cares what a defeated veep nominee thinks, other than her slavering mob of half-witted drooling fans.

Second of all, she was not the governor of one of the largest states. Tundra doesn't vote, my friend.

Third, her book is a joke. The latest revelation about her crediting a quote to John Wooden when it was actually made my John Wooden Legs is one of the funniest things I have ever read.

Fourth, she has the "best shot" at taking Obama down only in comparison to the other pathetic GOP hopefuls. She has no actual shot at taking Obama down. She does her best work behind the safety of her facebook page; you'll never see her on Meet the Press.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | January 6, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

The point is the Thompson Terrorist Facility (TTF) may lend itself to escape attempts, or attempts to break the terrorists out, more easily than Guantanamo Bay, which is virtually impossible to get at.

Terrorist cells could stage in Chicago, virtually unnoticed, and conduct surveillance on Thompson.

Thompson is a few hours' drive from Chicago, and from there, the escaped terrorists could wreck havoc on the heartland of America.

It may be far-fetched, but it is a risk that is not there at Gitmo.

Yea, the prior posting was simply a literary reference to the Mississippi River and a literary escape. Thompson is very close to the Mississippi River.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 6, 2010 3:45 PM

Not sure how much of a threat a jailbreak really is. You have a cell in the United States. You use them to:

A. Blow up things killing lots of people.

B. Try and break people out of a SuperMax type jail.

Seems to me A is the better choice.

A more likely senario would be some sort of hostage situation where they take a school hostage and they will start killing kids unless their fellow terrorists are released.

Posted by: ModerateVoter | January 6, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Ramesh Ponnuru is walking away from Palin, he of National Review. He's an educated man; others have to notice that she's unstable and erratic.

Chris Cilliza will probably continue to nurture hope.

Posted by: Noacoler | January 6, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

leapin:

LOL!!!

Posted by: JakeD | January 6, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The point is the Thompson Terrorist Facility (TTF) may lend itself to escape attempts, or attempts to break the terrorists out, more easily than Guantanamo Bay, which is virtually impossible to get at.


Terrorist cells could stage in Chicago, virtually unnoticed, and conduct surveillance on Thompson.

Thompson is a few hours' drive from Chicago, and from there, the escaped terrorists could wreck havoc on the heartland of America.

It may be far-fetched, but it is a risk that is not there at Gitmo.


Yea, the prior posting was simply a literary reference to the Mississippi River and a literary escape. Thompson is very close to the Mississippi River.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 6, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I missed the tough talk on terror. Is BO going to do something about Pelosi and Reid?

Posted by: leapin | January 6, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Palin will never seriously run for office again. She is having too much fun and making way too much money to interrupt her "career" as it is now.
And why should she? She has no responsibility whatsoever. She doesn't even have to be right or accurate, better to be wrong and controversial.
Now she may enter a race if she sees her Q rating go down but she would have no interest in winning, she would have to take too large a cut in pay and most likely tend to responsibilities

Posted by: dont_remember | January 6, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Yes, "TEAM OBAMA" when oh when will you stop the inhumane torture?!!

Posted by: JakeD | January 6, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Wow so Dan Brown and JK Rowling must be contenders too?

Palin bases her qualifications on her mavericky lack of qualifications, a notion that could only make sense to a wingnut.

She also pissed off a lot Republicans whose assistance she would need in a campaign, assuming she has the executive skills to run one, which she doesn't. She would probably drop out to be more effective.

Again, logic only a winger could follow. Why does anyone pay attention to Barbie AirHead?

Posted by: Noacoler | January 6, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

TEAM OBAMA: When Will You Stop DOMESTIC TERRORISM -- like this:

U.S. SILENTLY TORTURES, IMPAIRS AMERICANS WITH CELL TOWER MICROWAVES, SATELLITES, SAYS VETERAN MAINSTREAM MEDIA JOURNALIST

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan: What Do You Know About THIS?

• Secret Bush legacy multi-agency federal program uses cell tower/GPS satellite microwave/laser electromagnetic radiation attack system to torture, impair, subjugate "targeted" citizens -- and oversees local "community watch" vigilante terrorism and financial sabotage campaigns.

See story at: Poynter.org ("Reporting" section)
OR http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-silently-tortures-americans-cell-tower-microwaves
http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america OR NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "U.S. SILENTLY..." / "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 6, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

No, JRM2, all he said was "sort of" shadow President (although she was, at least, born in the U.S.)

What makes her a shadow President is not just Facebook. It's the fact that she is the most recent GOP nominee for Vice President, former Governor of the largest State in the Union, author of the best-selling political memoir (beating Bill Clinton's "My Life" with 2.8 million copies), and BEST SHOT at taking Obama down.

Posted by: JakeD | January 6, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

ModerateVoter:

At least we can agree that the Undiebomber was a terrorist.

Posted by: JakeD | January 6, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Since the criteria laid out for SP to be operating as a "shadow President" is stated as her releasing her political views via facebook then that would make anybody with a facebook account and a political ideology a "shadow President", even JakeD.

Posted by: JRM2 | January 6, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is an "elitist" for using Facebook?! That's a new one : )

Posted by: JakeD | January 6, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

So, a failed Al Qaeda plot, embassies back open after a couple of days and three Al Qaeda operatives behind the plot captured in Yemen.

Posted by: JRM2 | January 6, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Palin's Facebook communiques show her to be an entitled elitist who believers no one is as smart as she is. These postings are nothing more than silly efforts to build up her brand as a challenger to Obama in 2012. She obviously feels she has the sacred position of responding to every pubic appearance by the president in order to boost her limited policy experience.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | January 6, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"the Thompson Terrorist facility is near the Mississippi River."


Good thing Guantanamo Bay is nowhere near a large body of water.

Oh.

Never mind.


.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 6, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

If Hasan is a terrorist then so was Seung Cho.

Posted by: Noacoler | January 6, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

ModerateVoter:

You would agree that the "easy calls" would be someone mid-air lighting their underwear full of explosives on fire, right?

Posted by: JakeD | January 6, 2010 2:55 PM

Depends? Was he a lone crazy (like the tech shooter) or had he been to Yemen? To use real world examples: yes the undiebomber is a terrorist in my book.

Posted by: ModerateVoter | January 6, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

A good read that clearly describes the incompetence of the military/civilian thinking when it comes to the war on terror... what's terrifying is that it's not changing....

The Mission, The Men, and Me
by Pete Blaber
http://tinyurl.com/yc6afa4

The most effective weapon on any battlefield, whether it be in combat, business or life, is your mind's ability to recognize patterns.

(COLLECT THE DOTS BEFORE CONNECTING THE DOTS!)

Posted by: kkrimmer | January 6, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Moderate Voter


The Enemy Combatants are terrorists - come on - let's see - if you have a bomb on you from Yemen, you are a terrorist.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 6, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

more like "a shadow of a Governor"

Posted by: JRM2 | January 6, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

ModerateVoter:

You would agree that the "easy calls" would be someone mid-air lighting their underwear full of explosives on fire, right?

Posted by: JakeD | January 6, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

IN Huckaberry Finn, the slave Jim was escaping down the Mississippi River - the Thompson Terrorist facility is near the Mississippi River.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 6, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

37thand0street

You bring up an interesting point. Should a different legal standard apply or even exist for terrorists?

I tend to agree. My concern is in how do you identify someone as a terrorist?

Posted by: ModerateVoter | January 6, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

No, JRM2 (unless you have also been elected to Governor or actual Vice President as well).

Posted by: JakeD | January 6, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I guess I'm a "shadow President" too then.

Posted by: JRM2 | January 6, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"Wasn't one of Tom Sawyer's friends on a prison break - escaping down the Mississippi River ???

Posted by: 37thand0street"
---------
Just so you know, Tom Sawyer et al are FICTIONAL characters. But you do better with fiction than with fact so it doesn't surprise me.
Maybe Jack Bauer can come to save the day!

Posted by: JRM2 | January 6, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Seattle Top / GoldAndTanzanite / Chris Fox. Just can't stay away, huh?

Posted by: JakeD | January 6, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I cannot beLIEVE I just read that Palin's FACEBOOK page (!) makes her some potent political force... shadow President? What nonsense. What us this blog, GOP Talking Points redux? Palin is a bimbo who quit her post for the whackiest excuse to ever come from anyone older than eight.

Cillizza gets paid to write this crap? Fire him and bring back Froomkin.

Posted by: Noacoler | January 6, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is no shadow president. More like a pretender for the GOP throne. If she shows up in 2012 like Hillary Clinton expecting a done deal, she might be disappointed.

Posted by: cdreimer | January 6, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin


That is completely untrue - putting him on trial gives the terrorist and incentive to "remain silent" and bargain for a plea.

Putting him on trial demands that the terrorist be assigned a lawyer immediately who will most certainly tell the terrorist not to say anything.


MEANWHILE, THE COUNTRY AND OTHER OTHER AIRPLANES COULD BE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER OF BEING ATTACKED.

Intelligence requires timing - timing could be critical.


You would rather sit around and watch Americans be killed. Sorry, your position is not good enough.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 6, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin:

In re SHP's statement: Perhaps you have been reading too much of Mike Allen's stenography at Politico?

Posted by: mnteng | January 6, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Street Corner, that is exactly the point - on a FISA warrant he can be interviewed for an extended period of time on his contacts in Yemen and AQ and there is no difference there whether he is in jail pending trial on the related crime or if he is in a dark hole.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 6, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin


You missed the point on interogations entirely.


The point is not to use his statements at trial, which is a useless media-driven exercise.


The point of interogations is to find out about POTENTIAL OTHER TERRORIST ATTACKS AND TO PROTECT THE LIVES OF US CITIZENS.


You are so caught up in the idea of trials, that you completely have lost sight of the security considerations.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 6, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I read SHP's comments. I am on the fence about treating undiebomber as a criminal, but I will accept the professional assessment that there is no intelligence loss there [that he has already talked].

I also want to point out that undiebomber will be convicted without use of his own statements - there are hundreds of witnesses - and hundreds of counts in the prospective indictment. Even if he were interrogated now and that interrogation could not be introduced into evidence he would be convicted, legally, on all counts. So do not be surprised if interrogation is ongoing, in this case.

Back to SHP - I had a sense of deja vu as I read her post. I believe I have heard those words, or seen them in print, elsewhere. Could be others quoting her, of course - but please read her statement and if you recall where else you have seen it, post here, to satisfy my curiousity.[smile]

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 6, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"Wasn't one of Tom Sawyer's friends on a prison break - escaping down the Mississippi River ???"


Not to my recollection. Huck lit out to escape his father's wrath. Jim lit out to escape being sold downriver. But the Widow Douglas died & freed Jim in her will, unbeknownst to Huck & Jim.

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 6, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I find it extremely troubling that it appears that Obama finally made a speech on terrorism because HE HAD TO, and not because Obama believed any of the words.


AND the problem is with Obama's soft foreign policy.


Obama is still insisting that closing Gitmo makes sense - like Thompson won't become an "al Queda recruiting tool" once the terrorists are put there.

The thing is there are many more Americans living in Thompson, IL and having the terrorists there increases the risk of an attempted prison break.


Wasn't one of Tom Sawyer's friends on a prison break - escaping down the Mississippi River ???

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 6, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Palin is a "shadow president"? That's pretty grandiose. Obama does something, then she complains about it. So do commentators on Fox News, bloggers all over the Internet, and whiny Republicans everywhere. None of them are shadow presidents, and neither is Sarah Palin.

Posted by: Blarg | January 6, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

37th & 0 writes
"This is troubling."

If you're looking for trouble, everything is troubling.

The intelligence community didn't connect the dots on Capt Underpants & the WH is trying to use that miss to get the fiefdoms to share information better. Maybe it will work, maybe not.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 6, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Re #2: "Shadow president"?! You have got to be kidding. Her facebook musings are nothing more than one more right-wing blog. She has no alternative policies or ideas. Like many in her party, she bring nothing to the table beyond "Obama (fill in your favorite perjorative term), conservatives good." They hope that the public has amnesia regarding the previous resident of the White House.

Posted by: trep1 | January 6, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

1. Again the WH is not letting a good crisis go to waste
2. Waste of bytes
3. What does Ms Ilitch bring to the table for experience? Surely the newest source of talent isn't going to be trust funders?
4. Gingrich talks a good game, but is there anyone who views him as a viable Presidential candidate? He's a bomb thrower, not an executive.
5. Maybe beltway insiders care.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 6, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

OK Obama had a speech on Tuesday - however by getting it "wrong" so many times over almost two weeks - is the analysis that Obama is simply speaking in terms because he has to or because of conviction?


It is almost as if Obama would have never talked tough if he didn't have any criticism.

Obama probably would have been perfectly happy leaving the storyline of an "isolated extremist" because it fit the FICTION OF OBAMA'S SOFT FOREIGN POLICY.

This is troubling.


.


Posted by: 37thand0street | January 6, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

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