Archive for the ‘embarrassment’ Category

Obama takes blame in Daschle, Killefer controversy

February 4, 2009

Barack Obama on Tuesday abruptly abandoned his nomination fight for Tom Daschle and a second major appointee who failed to pay all their taxes, fearing a lingering ethics dispute would undercut his claims to moral high ground and cripple his presidency in just its second week. “I screwed up,” Obama declared.

“It’s important for this administration to send a message that there aren’t two sets of rules — you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes,” Obama said near the end of a day of jarring developments, little more than 24 hours after he had said he was “absolutely” committed to Daschle’s confirmation.

“I’m frustrated with myself, with our team. … I’m here on television saying I screwed up,” Obama said on NBC’s “Nightly News with Brian Williams.” He repeated virtually the same words in interviews with other TV anchors.

By JENNIFER LOVEN, AP White House Correspondent

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Daschle Badly Hurt Obama, Universal Health Care — No Matter the Reason, There’s No Excuse


Daschle Badly Hurt Obama, Universal Health Care — No Matter the Reason, There’s No Excuse

February 3, 2009

We’ve heard it all.  Daschle was greedy and wanted to be rich.  Daschle was too busy to get into his tax details.  Daschle had no idea.

It doesn’t matter.

Daschle wounded his president and friend.  That matters.

And he will end up causing a delay in the administration’s plan to gain for Americans universal health care.

That really matters.

Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) called the Daschle caper “awkward, embarrassing and troublesome.”

But we still have 3 years and 350 some days left in this Obama term for health care, right?

Time is not important, right?

Bill and Hillary Clinton thought that after Hillary’s closed-door health care reform try years ago.  They could never get a second shot at the piñata.

Barack Obama said the stimulus was an economic necessity — a burning emergency.

By rushing, Obama has settled for a Nancy Pelosi rush job in the House of Representative: a badly bloated and pork-filled monster few can embrace.

After all the “withdrawals” (read resignations under fire) and the stimulus debacle, universal health care may be just too hard to swallow, given that it now has no administration point man and probably won’t for a month or so.

Ed Rollins has an essay on CNN under the headline, “Daschle Did The Honorable Thing.”

That’s Ed’s opinion — and it doesn’t matter.

What matters is the harm Daschle has caused for whatever the reason.  That matters — and Daschle will forever be diminished.

So blindfold Barack, spin him around, and have him designate a new HHS chief.

He’ll do better than he did on his first try with Daschle.


 Democratic Senator Calls Resignations from Obama Team “Awkward, Embarrassing, Troublesome”

In The White House, Protocol Not Just For Computers

January 25, 2009

When Vice President-elect Joe Biden returned from a trip to Pakistan and other points just before the inauguration, a press conference was hurridly planned to allow the President-elect to thank his number two before the media and America.  After Barack Obama’s gushing praise, the number two closed the event with words of his own.  He got the last word.

When President Obama asked Vice President Joe Biden to administer the oath of office to  members of the White House staff, the VEEP said, “Am I doing this again? Oh! For the senior staff. My memory’s not as good as Justice Roberts’ … Chief Justice Roberts.”

It was a joke or a senior moment or the combination of the two.

But the president was not amused.

Protocol and dacorum are the opposite of awkward and foolish rolled into disrespectful and inappropriate.

US Vice President Joe Biden gestures while US President Barack ... 
US Vice President Joe Biden gestures while US President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 21 in Washington, DC.(AFP/Getty Images/Brendan Smialowski)

There have been awkward moments before at the White House and in presidential administrations and sometimes they cause pain and embarrassment to visiting dignitaries.  Sometimes they detract from years of great diplomacy.

Just ask Hu Jintao, President of China, after he was introduced at the White House during a Bush hosted ceremony as the President of the “Republic of China,” which most of us know as Taiwan.  President Bush added to the lack of protocol and decorum that day by manhandling President Hu toward the exit to the stage, a “touching” just not allowed  — except maybe for children.

So there are a lot of opportunities for success when one stands in the ever present spotlight.  And there are plenty of opportunities for embarrassment….

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior ... 
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior to the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 20, 2009.(Jim Young – UNITED STATES/Reuters)
From The New York Times

By Mark Leibovich

Early this month, Barack Obama was meeting with the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and other lawmakers when Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, began nervously cracking a knuckle.

At which point, Mr. Emanuel held the offending knuckle up to Mr. Obama’s left ear and, like an annoying little brother, snapped off a few special cracks.

The episode, confirmed by Mr. Emanuel’s office, underscores some essential truths about Mr. Emanuel: He is brash, has a deep comfort level with his new boss, and has been ever-present at Mr. Obama’s side of late, in meetings, on podiums and in photographs.

There he was, standing at President Obama’s desk in one of the first Oval Office pictures; and again, playfully thumbing his nose at his former House colleagues during the inauguration; there he was, accompanying the president to a meeting with Congressional leaders on Friday.

Mr. Emanuel is arguably the second most powerful man in the country and….

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On Biden:

China Crackdown: Read my lips… No Lip-Synching!

December 4, 2008

China has told artists on its annual top-rating TV gala show on Chinese New Year’s Eve not to lip-synch their songs, local media reported on Thursday, a controversy that overshadowed the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

A mainstay of state-run programming since the 1980s, “CCTV Spring Festival Gala” attracts hundreds of millions of viewers to watch hours of comedy sketches and kitsch song-and-dance acts often heavily imbued with patriotism and themes emphasising national harmony.

But the show has also come under heavy criticism in recent years for being overcommercial and not keeping up with the times, and for trotting out presenters who fluff their lines and celebrities who do a poor show of miming their way through songs.

Officials from China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) had demanded producers pick “real” singers, along with other directives about arranging songs with “healthy” lyrics, a report posted on web portal said.

“Firstly, make real singing as the benchmark, and choose talented performers who can truly sing. Firmly put an end to ‘miming’,” Zhao Huayong, a SARFT official, said in a notice posted on the watchdog’s website ( ).

Zhang Ziyi, one of the few Chinese actresses to break into Hollywood, came under fire from Internet users and local media for doing a shabby job of miming on the last show in February.

The SARFT notice follows a move by China’s Culture Ministry to formally ban lip-synching and to revoke the performance licences of repeat offenders, local media reported earlier this month.

Chinese Olympic organisers were also lambasted after they admitted a nine-year-old girl lip-synched during the opening ceremony of August’s Beijing Olympics in place of the real singer who was rejected because of her appearance.

Lin Miaoke who lip-synched at the opening ceremony over the voice of Yang Peiyi [right], who was considered unsuited to the lead role because of her buck teeth

Lin Miaoke who lip-synched at the opening ceremony over the voice of Yang Peiyi [right] who was considered unsuited to the lead role because of her buck teeth Photo: GETTY/AFP

An official revealed that nine-year-old Lin Miaoke lip-synched her performance at the Beijing opening ceremony.
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(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Nick Macfie, Reuters)