Archive for the ‘Leno’ Category

Obama’s public overexposure

March 27, 2009

Like the beat beat beat of the tom-tom, like the tick tick tock of the clock, like the drip drip drip of the raindrops, a voice within me keeps repeating Obama Obama Obama.

With all due apologies to the author, Cole Porter’s lyrics of “Night and Day” make a point lost on the president. No matter where he is, the Oval Office or Jay Leno‘s studio set, addressing Congress or holding up traffic in a motorcade on his way to a PTA meeting, the president is not an ordinary citizen. Like it or not, those days are behind him. The private man and the public man become one in a president. What he does, says, or doesn’t say or doesn’t do, he does before an audience.


The Washington Times

President Obama goes out of his way to seek a celebrity’s attention, and he’s still in his first 100 days. When he makes an offhand jest about his bowling score and the Special Olympics – the sort of tasteless attempt at dark humor that anyone might make within a tight circle of good friends – the whole world hears it and the pundits can’t wait to leap. We should all “lighten up,” but if a president can’t resist going on television to banter with a comedian, he ought to leave the comedy to the comedian, who gets paid for sarcasm and irony.

Lauren Bacall and Harry Truman

It’s a shame that the eye of the camera tempts presidents to try to be the entertainer-in-chief. First lady Michelle Obama might emulate Bess Truman after Harry couldn’t resist playing the piano with Lauren Bacall in fetching repose atop the upright. Mr. Truman, on a night out at the National Press Club, was only doing what any red-blooded man might, but Bess was not amused. She told him it simply wasn’t dignified, that he was definitely not to “play it again, Harry.”

Dignity, of course, isn’t what it used to be; indeed, the concept seems faintly quaint in an era when almost anything goes. As comfortable as the president may look on the CBS show “60 Minutes,” with Mr. Leno, or in a prime-time press conference, he is spending valuable emotional and intellectual capital with the relentless exposure in the modern media. Confident and cool, he is nevertheless beginning to look a lot like a man afflicted with the hubris of show biz.

Since the campaign ended, the stakes have changed. He has yet to learn the lesson learned by Steven Chu, his secretary of energy. Asked what he likes least about his new job, he replied: “The fact that I’m constantly being told that I have to be careful what I say to the press and in public. I can’t speculate out loud anymore. Everything I say is taken with total seriousness.”

Even laughter can be suspect. Steve Croft, the president’s interviewer on “60 Minutes,” suggested Mr. Obama might be “punch drunk” when he chuckled aloud in discussing the crash of the economy. “Gallows humor,” the president later called it. But that doesn’t work for a president, whether hot or cool. Most of us didn’t expect Bill Clinton to feel our pain, and we don’t expect Mr. Obama to laugh at it.

None of this will matter much if, as he suggested it would in his press conference this week, the economic crisis soon eases. He’ll get the credit, and that’s how it should be. But there should be a bright line between behaving as the commander in chief and entertaining as a celebrity in chief.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/ne
ws/2009/mar/27/obamas-public-
overexposure/

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Heard Obama Say “Bipartisan” Lately?

March 26, 2009

There was a time, a long long time ago, and in a land far away, that Barack Obama spoke about “bipartisanship.”

He never really gave it a chance and didn’t seem to get the hang of it though.  But that could be because he wasn’t a senator long enough to get the hang of it and his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, is about as bipartisan as Attila the Hun.

After the words “I won” and “never let a good crisis go to waste” were uttered, well, it has been “all Obama all the time.”

Just recently its been Obama on Leno, Obama on “60 Minutes,” Obama in a press conference of dubious value, and today, Obama on the Internet which looked like just an opportunity for the president to get away from real work and campaign — which he is very good at and has a tireless yen for….

So, with Democrats in control of the House and the Senate, who needs those other guys?

Well, lets hope there are no further crises in the future because the bipartisanship we have seen so far won’t buy much……

********************

In the 1970s when I came to Congress as a staffer, my elected boss used to say, “If I’m going to be one of the fathers of this legislation I’d like to be in the room at the time of conception and not just at the birth…”

That’s bipartisanship: in on the ground floor, opinions heard and incorporated, and sleeves rlled up for real work.

A book on how to achieve good legislation through bipartisanship would have to feature how NOT to to go about it the Obama, Pelosi, Reid way….and then use the New York Times, an appearance on Leno, “60 Minutes,” and the Internet to get the word out…. to spin a feeling that bipartisanship was tried and the Republicans rejected the offer….

The president’s “outrach” of bipartisanship is like purchased sex with a working girl; it is sleezy and meaningless.  Maybe he needs some chachki toys or aluminum key chains with little hand painted “Air Force One” or “White House” creations to hand out to Republicans…..  Or maybe a little yellow tractor from Caterpillar on a key chain….Or Abe Lincoln to remind one of two great presidents….

Early on the president hosted a cocktail party at the White House and a Super Bowl party in the name of bipartisanship: now I think the free peanuts for Republicans are off the table….

***********

It seems to us at Peace and Freedom that the president and TheNew York Times don’t know what “bipartisansip” means.

We went to a congressional staff in the early 1970s and learned back then that bipartisanship means:

(1)   At the start of every piece of legislation, both parties meet to discuss, share ideas and formulate, at least conceptually, new law.

(2) That both parties treat the other side with dignity and respect, sharing ideas in order to get the best for the American people.

(3)  Both sides tell the truth and neither tries to seize the high ground and gloat over the other before the media.

In the case of this stimulus, President Obama talked a good game of bipartisanship but he was clueless on how to achieve it.

His Williamsburg, Va., spa speech and his evening press conference in the White House were both partisan speeches….which included ugly distortions and lies.

Nancy Pelosi shut out Republican input at the start of the process to build the stimulus bill and minutes before voting on final passage there were still complaints that the bill had been “hidden” from lawmakers and the American people intentioanlly by the Democratic side.

Mr. Obama’s personal “bipartisan outreach” consisted of:

–“I won.”

–Efforts to give “goodies” to Republicans like a Super Bowl party, rides on Air Force One and a cocktail party at the White House as if they could be bought like children at Christams.

–“Cram this down throats” at the spa in Williamsburg.

–Campaign-style events at Peoria, Fort Myers, and Elkhart…

–Photo op sessions with Republicans in the House and then the Senate.

–Not one “roll up the sleeves” and negotiate session with both parties at the White House. The pseudo president in the movie “Dave” did a better job of this that Mr. Obama…..

–A big lie at Peoria: “Yesterday, Jim [Owens], the head of Caterpillar, said that if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off,” Obama said in Peoria.

But when asked if the stimulus could do that, Owens said, “I think, realistically, no. The honest reality is we’re probably going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again.”

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
3/26/he-asked-for-it-he-got-it/

President Obama failed to sell his budget plans to the American people

March 25, 2009

Now you know why President Obama went on Jay Leno. It’s a lot more fun for him, and a lot easier to get applause, when people are laughing and having fun.

There were no yuks Tuesday night, and by my count, his first big smile came 46 minutes into a very sober press conference. It’s no coincidence that he also suffered a setback to his aim of selling the public on the idea that the economy depends on his budget being passed intact.

By Michael Goodwin
New York daily News

“The budget is inseparable from this recovery,” he said, putting his chips on a radical spending, borrowing and tax plan.

It’s a bad bet, one he won’t win – and shouldn’t win.

Peppered with questions about the trillion-dollar deficits his proposal creates and the chorus of opposition from Democrats and Republicans, not to mention concern in Europe and China, Obama had no persuasive answers. His silver tongue seemed tied in knots when he was asked why, despite his promises to cutthe deficit, projections have itrising dramatically – trillionsbeyond what his own office estimates.

The true answer is that Obama wants to spend far more than the nation can afford, even with his huge tax hikes. And the more his plans become clear, the less convincing is his claim that they are all tied to the economic crisis.

Read the rest:
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/200
9/03/25/2009-03-25_president_obama_
failed_to_sell_his_budge.html

Related:
Obama: Press Conference Hints at Class Warfare

President, Congress, Media “Vacant” in Time of Crisis
Obama Throws In The Towel

 After Leno, Laughter on “60 Minutes,” Boredom From “No Drama” Obama

Obama Once Ruled the Media: Now He Wants To Reach You With Less Of Them

Teleprompter White House: Packaged People, Messages

March 23, 2009

Joe “Gimme a f&*^%$ing break” Biden isn’t packaged.  His off hand comments are legendary.

But the Obama gang of advisors wants him to learn, to grow and get with the f&^*%$#ing telepromter.

Without it, Biden is dangerous.  Even when talking about 7-11.

Even the president proved dangerous this last weekend.  Within about 48 hours he was not very inspiring in two interviews without the teleprompter, one with Jay Leno and one on “60 Minutes.”

But who would have had the forethought to tell this great communicator (1) Jokes about the Special Olympics can go south fast; and (2) Laughing about the economy and people losing their jobs, savings and lunch money isn’t funny.

Then there is Tiny Tim Geithner: a media nightmare.

Today Geithner pulled off a successful “media event.”  The White House did not allow live pictures!

This is the most managed and packaged administration yet….

Related:
 Obamagasm Media: Start Asking Questions; The Budget Is Full of Them

Geithner Makes Big Announcement With No Cameras Allowed

Biden: Give Obama a F*&^%$#ing Break
.
Obama Talks Too Much: Time to Fire Toxic Tim Geithner

Read Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
3/23/fun-with-totus-teleprompter-
of-the-united-states/

***********************
Teased about his over relieance on the teleprompter, President Obama decided last night to use a jumbotron in only his second White House press conference.

This is like listening to the sight impaired read aloud; but we wouldn’t want to offend the sight impaired.

Eventually, in Amerian politics, even the slickest, most packaged guy will get unwrapped.

This is it.

Too bad the media assited in the packaging of the messiah before the election: now we have a president losing the confidence of the American people in a time of crisis.

What is worse is this: he seems to be losing his own confidence: his own sense of self and reality.

Related:
President Obama failed to sell his budget plans to the American people

Obama: Press Conference Hints at Class Warfare

President, Congress, Media “Vacant” in Time of Crisis
Obama Throws In The Towel

 After Leno, Laughter on “60 Minutes,” Boredom From “No Drama” Obama

Obama Once Ruled the Media: Now He Wants To Reach You With Less Of Them

President Barack Obama's TelePrompTer is seen before a news ...
Obama’s jumbotron in the White House..(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) 

Vice President Joe Biden is seen on a TelePrompTer while delivering ... 
Vice President Joe Biden is seen on a TelePrompTer while delivering remarks at the International Association of Fire Fighters 2009 Legislative Conference in Washington, Monday, March 16, 2009.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

*************************

By Howard Kurtz
From CNN:

The venues could hardly be more different: Jay Leno’s couch and Steve Kroft’s hot seat.

The president, trying to get off the defensive during AIG Outrage Week, is on a certified media blitz. That’s why he played the Leno card, risking criticism that he shouldn’t be making jokes in Burbank while the economy is crumbling. That’s why he handicapped the NCAA playoff brackets on ESPN, risking criticism that he shouldn’t be worried about college hoops while the banking system remains in crisis.

That hot seat, figuratively speaking, was in the Oval Office, where the “60 Minutes” correspondent interviewed the president Friday evening.

“I think we asked him a lot of hard questions,” Kroft told me Sunday on “Reliable Sources.” “But I have to say that I found him probably more relaxed this week than at any other time that I had interviewed him.”

I asked whether he felt the need to be more polite with an incumbent president than a mere White House wannabe.

“I think that interviews with presidents are different than almost anything else,” Kroft said. “They’re sort of the last bastion of civility … particularly when you’re in the Oval Office. You’re not supposed to wag your finger at him, and you’re not supposed to get — it’s supposed to be civil. And so you always try and keep that in mind.”

Read the entire article:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITIC
S/03/22/kurtz.obama.interviews/in
dex.html

Obama Talks Too Much: Time to Fire Toxic Tim Geithner

March 22, 2009

Step up, Barack!

People are angry; protesting at the homes of AIG executives.  Congress is eager to act and acting: offering to tax bonuses at 90%.  That’s anger and action: maybe not the kind we need but action nonetheless.

 Did ACORN Organize Protests At Homes of AIG Execs?

But what do we have from the “Boy Wonder” Treasury Secretary?  Old ideas on how to handle toxic assets repackaged by the government and for sale.

But this will take another $1 trillion of taxpayers’ money.

Paul Krugman puts down the Geithner plan in stark terms: it’s not new or inventive and won’t work.

Obama, Geithner Toxic Asset Plan is Old Hash That Won’t Work

And Geithner knew about the AIG bonuses way back: he even worked to preserve them.

See: Wall Street Journal:
Geithner Aides Worked With AIG for Months on Bonuses

Yet President Barack Obama talks too much.  An appearance with Leno was no help to him and last night on “60 Minutes” he was asked if he was “punch drunk.”  And he has a speech scheduled on TV for Tuesday night.

(Some guys are just not gifted at the unscripted, Barack.  Ask Joe Biden.)

And we already know what the president has to say:

He’s outraged, he’s confident, Geithner is a good guy, and his budget spending on the environment, health care, energy, education and the rest will ultimately drag the economy out of this hole and balance the budget.

Bull.

Geithner: AIG must return bonus money

Presidents have been wrong before.  The good presidents admit it.

Forget that budget, at least for a week.  Everyone is focused on AIG and Wall Street and eager for action — not more spending.

Sen. Gregg says Obama budget will bankrupt US

Fix the banks, get lending going, and even if you take Geithner’s toxic assets plan don’t take back “Toxic Tim.”

What President Barack Obama needs to do is something foreign to a community organizer, teacher, and professional elected official: he has to take action; shut up and act.

He’s got to restore confidence: as he has said himself.

He’s got to fire Geithner who is in bed with the Wall Street types he cannot fire.

That means he may have to fire Larry Summers too: because he is also in bed with Wall Street and is Geithner’s mentor in chief.

Geithner is expendable: a guy that has helped Wall Street (according to the left) and a guy that wants to throw around even more money (according to the right).  Plus he is widely seen as weak and has a TV and public appearance persona of a worm.

Larger view
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Some have called all this an “incestuous relationship” …. the Geithner-Wall Street-Summers-politics stew.

Geithner and Summers have no clue what people are going through in the real world: and they have worked so far to protect the likes of Bernie Madoff, Wall Street and the AIG world.

By not realizing the public outrage with the AIG caper; Summers cost the president confidence in his inner economic circle.

The ensuing congressional outrage has probably lessened confidence in AIG forever: which will make it harder to sell off the bad parts and the good parts.  AIG made a lot of mistakes but now “we” the nation have destroyed their brand name forever in the bargain.  And the bonuses were protected in the stimulus and geithner made sure they were paid….

And other companies took money after causing economic ruin and will survive unharmed.

Seem fair?  Is this the new America?  No courts required: just hearings and a trial on TV…..

Saturday, protesters went to the rich AIG executives homes to raise awareness and express outrage  – a kind of witch hunt enters your neighborhood.  This is bad business, bad politics, and bad for law and order.

Meanwhile Vice President Joe Biden made fun of Toxic Tim Geithner even while the president is saying he loves the guy.

“Tim Geithner is always there when you need to borrow money. And no questions asked,” Biden said in what was supposed to be a joke.

Biden: Give Obama a F*&^%$#ing Break

Christina Romer, head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said on “Fox News Sunday,” “Geithner is doing an excellent job.”

Wanna bet?  Nobody believes that.  Geithner’s poll numbers are bad and if he continues in his job it will be Barack Obama’s poll numbers that suffer….even more.

I can predict the headline: Geithner Blow-back On Obama.

Obama “Strongly Approve” Number from 42% to 36% in Last 60 Days; Geithner 24% Or Less

This is like watching a freshman throw up out the window and it all winds up on the prom queen.

Christina Romer
Romer.  Clueless?

This is the Special Olympics White House.

It isn’t even certain anymore that Helicopter Ben Bernanke knows what he is doing.  By injecting even more money into the economy, he is risking inflation and gold is already up and the dollar already down.

People are angry and demanding action.  Obama should give them action.  Like a Roman emperor: now is the time for a very public thumbs down in the Colosseum of the national media.

File:Colosseum in Rome, Italy - April 2007.jpg

Forget the venue.  Forget the words.  Forget the host: I mean even Leno couldn’t save the president from himself, much as he tried.

“60 Minutes,” Leno, campaigning,  basketball, and a speech from the White House will no longer do.

Americans are no longer hungry to see their president talk, wise crack or fill out his brackets.

Act.

Throw Geithner to the lions.

Then develop a real plan of recovery.  Fix the toxic asset problem and get lending going.  It’s late but it’s never too late for this.

Recovery first, then budget.  It is “the economy stupid.”  The “recovery, stupid.”

We are in a culture war and an economic war at the same time.  Geithner offers good news to either side in either war.

He’s  toxic.  And not an asset.

*********************

Visit Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/23/
the-david-copperfield-school-of-econ
omic-recovery-pt-ii/

Geithner’s Toxic Asset, Bank Plan Offers Nothing New To A Bad Idea

 Shelby: Geithner Needs “180 Degree Change” To Stay At Treasury

Resistance grows to Obama’s bigger government

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Amid the continuing backlash over AIG bonuses, President Barack Obama is defending his embattled treasury secretary and touting his ambitious $3.6 trillion budget proposal as a boon for ordinary Americans.

And, as early as Monday, the administration is expected to roll out a plan to rid banks of their toxic assets and speed the flow of loans. Some industry officials familiar with the details said they expected the approach would try to remove as much as $1 trillion from banks’ books.

Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address to turn the focus back to his budget proposal, calling it “a firm foundation of investments in energy, education and health care that will lead to a real and lasting prosperity.” He plans a network television interview airing Sunday and a prime-time news conference Tuesday to continue bolstering his case.

The disclosure that American International Group Inc. paid out $165 million in bonuses to employees, including to traders in the financial unit that nearly collapsed the insurer, has dominated the news this week. It has left the Obama administration on the defensive and seeking to refocus attention.

In the interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Obama made clear he was standing behind beleaguered Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who was roundly criticized over the bonus flap and steps to revive the economy.

Obama said that if Geithner offered his resignation, the answer would be, “Sorry buddy, you’ve still got the job.” CBS released excerpts Saturday.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200
90322/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obama_economy

From CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/BUSI
NESS/03/21/global.economy/index.html

Related:
Obama Overexposed
(Talking too much…)

Threat of inflation sky high

Obama’s Katrina Moment Is Here Now

Obama Administration May Not Understand Economy

 Public Outrage Could Devour Obama Presidency

Financial Advice, Recovery, Trumped by Obama, Congress, Media, Polls
(Maybe Axelrod is giving better advice than Summers, Geithner…)

Protesters At Homes Of AIG Execs
.
Obama, Biden Chat Up Economy; Congress Talking “Stimulus II”

Rosy Talk From Obama and Gang is BS

 Biden Off Mic: “Gimme a f*&$#ing break”

From India, wondering why Obama is on Leno:
http://gvk2.wordpress.com/2009/03/
22/obama-at-jay-leno-show/

http://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2
009/03/20/aig-bonuses-who-knew-wha
t-when-geitnerobama-dishonesty/

.
http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/20
09/03/22/cbo-budget-adds-48-trill
ion-to-national-debt-china-worried/

Visit Hot Air:
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/03
/22/the-geithner-plan-still-a-contrad
ictory-bag-of-slogans/

In this photo provided by CBS News-60 Minutes, Steve Kroft of ...
Too little too late?  In this photo provided by CBS News-60 Minutes, Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes interviews U.S. President Obama at the Oval Office on Friday, March 20, 2009 in Washington. In an interview with CBS television’s ’60 Minutes,’ Obama said that if Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner offered his resignation, the answer would be, ‘Sorry buddy, you’ve still got the job.’ (AP Photo/CBS News-60 Minutes, Aaron Tomlinson)

Obama Overexposed

March 22, 2009

WHEN the White House announced last week that President Barack Obama will be returning to the nation’s television screens on Tuesday for a prime-time press conference that will postpone the latest episode of American Idol – the talent show watched by 25m viewers – fans of the programme were quick to respond.

By
The Times UK

“Stop, please stop, Mr O, we can’t take much more,” one angry viewer wrote on an Idol-related website. “Not again!” complained another. “It’s the same speech he’s been giving for the past year.”

There were dark mutterings that by commandeering evening programming only a few days after he appeared on Jay Leno’s popular late-night chat show, Obama was “just like Fidel Castro [of Cuba] and Hugo Chavez [of Venezuela] – always on camera, always giving speeches and lecturing”.

The barbed response to the prospect of yet another mass-media dose of Obama’s economic prescriptions underlined the dangers the president is facing as he struggles to sell his recovery efforts to a country seething with anger and anxiety over the costs, effectiveness and potential abuse of the government’s trillion-dollar bailout programme.
White House aides remain outwardly confident that Obama’s telegenic appeal will reassure Americans who were appalled by last week’s Wall Street bonus fiasco and who are becoming increasingly sceptical about the president’s so-called “Big Bang” approach to reviving a shattered economy.

Sceptics were scarcely encouraged on Friday when the main US budgetary watchdog reported that Obama’s proposals would generate far greater budget deficits than the administration had predicted. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) prompted consternation with an estimate that deficits over the next decade would total $9.3 trillion (£6.4 trillion).

The deficit revelations followed the administration’s much-criticised handling of multi-million-dollar bonuses handed out to employees of the crippled American International Group (AIG) – the insurance behemoth laid low by reckless investments and propped up by taxpayers. The growing fiscal and political doubts about Obama’s stimulus programme have exposed alarming cracks in Democratic ranks only two months after he took office.

It was not just that the White House misread popular outrage at the Wall Street hot-shots rewarded for running their company into the ground; there were rumblings of discontent from a wide range of disillusioned Obama supporters complaining about everything from his lack of support for gays to his plans for a new military “surge” in Afghanistan.

Among the prominent Democrats who took issue with the White House over its failure to head off the bonus crisis was Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who tried several weeks ago to block bonus payments by firms receiving bailout funds, but failed to persuade administration officials to take the potential problem seriously.

Despite strong words about bonuses from Obama himself, the president seemed to undermine their impact when he coughed during a White House event and joked that he was “choked up with anger”. Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, was quoted as saying the president regarded the AIG scandal as merely “a big distraction”.

The suggestion that the White House never took seriously an issue that infuriated millions of Americans was supported by Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who claimed that several weeks earlier he warned Timothy Geithner, the Treasury secretary, that AIG was planning to use taxpayer funds to pay out $165m in bonuses.

Geithner’s failure to block the payments has sparked speculation that Obama will have to replace him, despite the president’s insistence to Leno that he is doing “an outstanding job”. James Carville, the Democratic strategist, suggested Obama needed to “give a sense that there’s much more accountability coming than we see”.

Obama said he would not accept Geithner’s resignation if it was offered. In a CBS television interview to be broadcast today the president says he would tell him: “Sorry buddy – you’ve still got the job.”

Stung by popular anger over the AIG saga, several other Democratic senators have been quietly distancing themselves from the Obama team, suggesting it may have bitten off more than it can chew. Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, chairman of the appropriations committee, said: “To maintain a schedule like the one we’ve got at this moment, throughout the year, I don’t know if it will be healthy.” Even Peter Orszag, Obama’s budget director, was obliged to concede that the CBO-projected deficits, if accurate, were “ultimately not sustainable”.

Obama insisted yesterday that he would stick to the big-ticket items in his budget proposals, but analysts speculated that he would have little choice but to slash his spending plans and is likely to arrive close to empty-handed at the G20 economic summit in London next month, where Gordon Brown is hoping for coordinated action to stimulate economic growth.

While Obama is still greeted everywhere he goes by raucous crowds thrilled by his historic election, his poll numbers have begun to slide. A survey from the key battlefield state of Ohio last week showed his approval rating had slipped to 57%, down 10 points from February.

“Here we are six months after the Wall Street bailout began and it’s still the case that almost no loans are being made to [ordinary people on] main street,” said Robert Reich, a prominent liberal academic and former labour secretary under President Bill Clinton.

“The Wall Street bailout is beginning to look like the most expensive tax-supported fiasco in history,” Reich added. “The president cannot afford to lose the public’s confidence that his administration is a careful steward of the public’s money.”

For Howard Zinn, a popular historian, anti-war activist and early Obama supporter, an equal concern is the president’s failure to reverse George W Bush’s military policies. Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, said: “We should be informing Obama that we expect more from him than he has done so far. He shows no sign of departing from the traditional militarism of the Democratic and Republican parties. The idea of sending more troops to Afghanistan is disastrous, really absurd.”

Many of Obama’s critics recognise that the president has his hands full with an economic crisis that was not of his making and that some of his campaign promises – notably on healthcare and schools – may be receding dreams.

Yet the White House appears to be banking on Obama’s still-potent aura of promise and integrity to overcome doubts that he can pull off an economic miracle. “There are those who say these plans are too ambitious,” Obama said of his sweeping budget proposals during a visit to California last week. “They say, ‘Obama’s trying to do too much’, well, I say our challenges are too large to ignore.”

The dangers of his reliance on populist appeal were laid bare during his Leno appearance, where the easy questions lobbed up by his comedian host yielded few clues to future policy but caused a rare Obama stumble.

Deprived of the teleprompter that has become his regular travelling companion, Obama answered a question about his ten-pin bowling prowess by saying “it was like the Special Olympics” for disabled athletes. He apologised even before the recorded programme was broadcast and much of the cheerful benefit of his relaxed appearance was overshadowed by the ensuing fuss over his lapse into political incorrectness.

Read the rest:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news
/world/us_and_americas/article5950373.ece

Obama: Why Are We Saving Geithner and His Incestuous Relationship With Wall Street?

March 21, 2009

“Geithner has an incestuous relationship with Wall Street,” said Jim Bunning, the latest Republican lawmaker to call for his scalp.

“Geithner costs us a week of congressional work lost — all by himself,” a top Democrat told us.

“The whole congress should have their income taxed at 90% because of their incompetence,” said former Arkansas Governor Mike Huchabee today on Fox.

We might get back 90% of Geithner’s pay too, and Obama’s for not stopping the AIG witch hunt in congress — while he was campaigning and sitting with Jay Leno and saying stupid stuff.

I thought we were in a financial and economic crisis?
“What we need today is more optimism and more confidence,” Larry Summers said.

“Consumer confidence is slightly up. The market is slightly up,” Biden said.

“We need confidence to make this recovery work,” President Obama said.

Well, confidence is lost: especially in Geithner.

************************

By Krishna Guha and Edward Luce
FT

….every time Mr Geithner opens his mouth the Dow heads in the opposite direction. Worse, perhaps, Mr Obama has got into the habit of expressing his confidence in Mr Geithner, a sure sign in more normal times that a public figure’s days are numbered.

A former high-flying career civil servant, Mr Geithner’s credentials are widely recognised. He has had extensive international experience, having spent much of his childhood in Asia and Africa. He studied at Dartmouth and Johns Hopkins before joining Treasury in 1988, where he found a mentor in Lawrence Summers, a Treasury official who is now Mr Obama’s senior economic adviser. At Treasury and later as head of the New York Fed, Mr Geithner has dealt with nearly every financial crisis in the past 15 years, including witnessing the start of a decade of stagnation in Japan when he was based in Tokyo.

Timothy F. Geithner illustration

“He is a smart guy,” Mr Obama told Jay Leno, the talk show host, on Thursday in his third defence of Mr Geithner this week. “He is a calm and steady guy and I don’t think people fully appreciate the plate that was handed to him. This guy has not just a banking crisis; he’s got the worst recession since the Great Depression.”

No Treasury secretary has been faced with such a cacophony of crises. In addition to shaping what could turn into a multi-trillion-dollar plan for the financial sector, Mr Geithner is in charge of restructuring the US car industry, overseeing the $787bn economic stimulus, providing relief to millions of struggling homeowners and co-ordinating a global response to the crisis from 20 leading nations.

“Secretary Geithner has taken more concrete actions to repair the financial system in his less than two months in office than others have taken in the course of years,” a Treasury official said.

Moreover, Mr Geithner, who, until recently, looked a youthful 47, is being asked to fight all these fires with a shoestring staff – he remains the only Treasury official confirmed in the job. Given the high ethical bar Mr Obama and Congress have set for nominees, Mr Geithner has struggled to bring in the people he wants. Like Mr Paulson, Mr Geithner relies heavily on informal advisers. However, unlike his predecessor, Mr Geithner’s team are not hand-picked loyalists. “We don’t have time to do preparation for anything – public appearances, testimonies on Capitol Hill, or any of the niceties,” said a Treasury official. “Nobody gets any sleep.”

All the while, Mr Geithner is having to fend off a vituperative campaign for his removal. Some allege he slipped up when he failed to prevent AIG, the bleeding insurance giant, from paying out $165m in bonuses to executives from the more than $170bn it has received in taxpayer funds. Others say Mr Geithner has lost credibility with the markets.

Still others claim that Mr Geithner, whose previous job at the New York Fed put him on the frontline of last year’s Wall Street crises, is too sympathetic to those he is bailing out. “Geithner has an incestuous relationship with Wall Street,” said Jim Bunning, the latest Republican lawmaker to call for his scalp. “Where’s the [bail-out] plan? You know, we still haven’t seen the plan and he’s been in office for six to eight weeks.”

Asked by CNN how he copes with the stress, Mr Geithner said: “I exercise. I talk to my family as much as I can”, but he has far less time now for his hobbies of playing tennis and basketball. Mr Geithner’s defenders say that he is caught up in a maelstrom of public anger for sins he has not committed – with some noting that only Mr Obama has the authority to tame the virulent populist mood in Congress.

But he has also created problems of his own, notably the revelation that he cleared more than $40,000 in tax arrears only after he was nominated. Even friends blanch at this one. “This was not Tim’s best moment,” says a former colleague. “If you’re going to be in charge of the IRS it seems reasonable to expect you would have a clean tax record.”

Mr Geithner survived but only after 34 senators had voted against his confirmation. More serious is his widely derided public speaking manner. Although accomplished at making government bureaucracy work from behind the scenes, Mr Geithner has scant experience in the arts of public persuasion and seems ill at ease in the spotlight.

This is not helped by the fact that he is boyish-looking and lacks authority in his delivery. In his first attempt last month to set out a plan for the financial sector bail-out, Mr Geithner seemed almost shell-shocked. The Dow dropped 400 points while he was speaking. Next week he will try again. But many in the markets, where Mr Geithner is now nicknamed “Tiny Tim”, have written him off. “Tim writes fine words – his speeches look good on paper,” said another former colleague. “But his delivery is bad.”

Mr Geithner’s public touch may improve – and Mr Obama can ill-afford to lose a Treasury secretary within his first 100 days. Moreover, Mr Obama has not always helped his colleague. Last month’s botched bail-out announcement failed in part because Mr Obama had built up such high expectations. This week, Mr Obama left his Treasury secretary scrambling when he instructed him to find a way to claw back AIG bonuses after Mr Geithner had said the administration had no legal means to do so. The suspicion also lingers that Mr Geithner lacks the internal clout to get his way. And there are rumours of differences with Mr Summers, whose intellectual ebullience can overwhelm even the hardiest of colleagues. While Mr Paulson was given a free hand at the White House, Mr Geithner spends much of his time negotiating policy with White House officials.

Ultimately, Mr Geithner’s fate lies in the health of credit markets. He will make a second attempt to unveil the plan to take toxic assets off bank balance sheets. If it passes muster, all else will be forgotten. If it fails, there may be little Mr Obama can do to shield him from Congress, the media and the public.

Read the rest:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1a83695
6-1580-11de-b9a9-0000779fd
2ac.html?nclick_check=1

Related:
http://adamsmith.wordpress.com/2
009/03/21/ft-profiles-timothy-geithner/

 Did Obama White House Fuel AIG Bonus Mess To Enact Tougher Rules With Public Support, “Outrage”?

Obama said to me, “I bowl like a retard”

March 21, 2009

“If you say things like that on Leno, what do you say at home?”

That was the question posed by Hannah Jacobs, an advocate for those with special needs, on the Fox News channel during the 7-8 AM hour on March 21.

“What was he thinking?”

“He was saying, ‘I bowl like a retard,'” Jacobs said.

The reason we have so called “political corerctness” is because pwople want to point out that sometimes what you think and say is who you are: which may cause others some problems.

President Obama didn’t just make a funny joke or a gaffe on Obama the other night: he offended a lot of people who think he also revealed to us who he really is.

“He hurt a lot of American families and a lot of good people,” a reader emailed to us.

We are sure as hell that if Joe Biden said some racial slur, there would be a huge public outcry….

Just a thought…..
“This was a degrading remark about our world’s most precious and unique people, coming from the most powerful position in the world,” Sarah Palin said in a statement released Friday.
.
“These athletes overcome more challenges, discrimination and adversity than most of us ever will. By the way, these athletes can outperform many of us and we should be proud of them. I hope President Obama’s comments do not reflect how he truly feels about the special needs community.”

Palin’s son, Trig, has Down Syndrome.

Related:
American Democracy With Checks and Balances is Broken; Media, Congress Failing

 Psst: Obama; Biden Was Supposed To Be the Gaffe Prone Guy

Obama Fails During Tone-Deaf, Humorless Week: No Progress on Economy, Russia, Iran

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) laughs as he speaks to host ... 
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) laughs as he speaks to host Jay Leno on the NBC late night comedy show “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in Burbank, California March 19, 2009. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Related from CNN:
“R-Word” Can Be Hurtful
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/0
3/20/obama.special.olympics/index.html

Obama Fails During Tone-Deaf, Humorless Week: No Progress on Economy, Russia, Iran

March 20, 2009

The way things are going for Barack Obama we don’t see him again on “Jay Leno” in this lifetime.

In fact, we don’t expedt Obama to laugh much in the near term….

The Congressional Budget Office panned his budget predictions today, saying Obama’s budget would generate deficits averaging almost $1 trillion a year over the next decade, according to the latest congressional estimates, significantly worse than predicted by the White House just last month.

Obama Spending, Tax Plans Likely Out The Window As CBO Predicts Much More Debt

Less than one month ago, while President Barack Obama was still making his own budget with his own numbers (and everything was rosy) he assured reporters that he likes being president.

“And it turns out I’m very good at it,” he said.

One month later, nobody can be sure that the president is good at anything.

He can’t tell a joke and can’t use a telepromter.

He ever hurt a lot of good people with a nasty, ugly remark he threw off as an “off hand comment.”  That was on a nationally televised enetertainment show no other sitting president has seen fit to go on…

Obama said to me, “I bowl like a retard”

He apparently can’t manage congress, which included a green light for the bonuses AIG paid when they wrote the stimulus bill.  This caused the president “outrage.”  So the congress offered to tax AIG bonus recipients 90% — perhaps another outrage that may actually be unconstitutional.

Related:
The End of America As We Knew It?

Duke’s basketball coach told the president to forget about bracket picks and get to work on the economy.
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Besides his basketball picks, don’t forget Obama picked Geithner, Richardson, Biden, Daschle and a host of other failures for his team mates in his administration.

US President Barack Obama, seen here on January 29, 2009, sits ... 
US President Barack Obama, seen here on January 29, 2009, sits alongside Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Iran has blown off all of Obama’s overtures but Russia has agreed with Obama to press the “reset” button.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red button marked "reset" in English and "overload" in Russian.
Coffrini/Getty

Russia announced a militay re-arming project.

Turns out, besides campaigning, we don’t know what President Obama is good at.

“I’m good at it”
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Con
tent/Public/Articles/000/000/016
/215bpfvr.asp

Iran Blows Off Obama “Outreach Video” in White House Video Hell Week

President’s Economic Team in Trouble: Especially Geithner

Aides Attempt to Cover for Obama; White House Not Worthy of Special Olympics

Obama and Leno Discuss Congress, AIG: “It Kind of Scared Me” 

Obama On Geithner Sounds Like “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”

 Duke Coach Slam Dunks Obama: Go Fix the Economy

Gates readies big cuts in weapons

Russia Pressing “Reset,” Medvedev Orders Military To Re-Arm

See Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/
03/20/why-cant-obama-tell-a
-good-joke/

Obama’s Toughest Week From Fox:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/first10
0days/2009/03/19/obama-does-tonig
ht-strike-right-tone/

Iran Blows Off Obama “Outreach Video” in White House Video Hell Week

March 20, 2009

President Obama is in video hell today.  His top videos are being panned and laughed at.

Americans are giggling that the president made fun of the Special Olympics while a guest on Jay Leno.

He should leave the comedy to Leno.

The Duke basketball coach said Obama should go to work on the economy and stay off ESPN.

And in Iran the Obama video offering outreach may never even get to the screen….

**********************

From Fox News

 Iran’s supreme leader said Friday that world powers had been persuaded they could not block Iran’s nuclear progress — making no mention of a new-year’s message sent by President Obama to his country, Reuters reported.

Neither Ayatollah Ali Khamenei nor Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad noted Obama’s attempt to make a “new beginning” with their country in recorded messages they issued to mark the Iranian New Year.

Obama released the video Friday to coincide with the Iranian festival of Nowruz, which marks the arrival of spring. In the video, Obama says the U.S. is prepared to end the strained relations if Tehran tones down its combative rhetoric.

“This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect,” Obama said.

A press adviser to Iran’s president downplayed the video, saying “minor changes will not end the differences.”

Ali Akbar Javanfekr told the Iranian state-run English-language Press TV satellite station that Iran will never forget U.S. meddling in Tehran’s affairs. The two countries broke off relations after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

**********************

“Obama has talked of change but has taken no practical measures to address America’s past mistakes in Iran. If Mr. Obama takes concrete actions and makes fundamental changes in U.S. foreign policy toward other nations including Iran, the Iranian government and people will not turn their back on him,” Ali Akbar Javanfekr told the Iranian state-run English-language Press TV satellite station.

It wasn’t clear how many Iranians were able to see the video, which was not aired on state television in Iran on Friday. It was likely shown on Farsi-language TV stations beamed in from outside of the country, but many Iranians don’t watch television in the first days of long Nowruz holiday that is normally filled with family gatherings or vacations away from home.

Iranians could see the video on the White House Web site, but other popular video sharing sites like YouTube are blocked in Iran.

Read the rest from the Associated Press:
http://www.breitbart.com/article.
php?id=D971PVM81&show_article=1