September 6, 2012

Politico Catches Team Obama in Double-Talk Over Boss’s God-Jerusalem Platform Knowledge; AP Whitewashes

In a rare moment of reluctant semi-journalism which didn’t name names, the Politico’s Reid Epstein, in reporting about the God-Jerusalem debacle at the Democratic Convention Wednesday night, buried the lede, waiting until his third paragraph to tell readers (belated HT to Weasel Zippers) that “While the campaign at first said Obama had seen the language prior to the convention, it later said he did not learn of the issue until Wednesday morning, when he became aware of seeing news coverage of the issue.” (Sidebar: Does that mean Dear Leader watches the despised Fox News?)

Then Epstein just let the disclosure sit there with no additional follow-up. His story has what is in my view a deliberately “this is boring” headline (“Division over platform at DNC” … zzz). However, it would appear that the folks over at the Associated Press got to Epstein’s third paragraph, and went into full-keister-covering mode.

Last night, as seen at my related post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the AP’s Julie Pace and Josh Lederman unequivocally reported that President Obama had no idea that God and Jerusalem as Israel’s recognized capital were both absent from the party’s platform, and that he had heroically intervened to make sure they were:

Needled by Mitt Romney and other Republicans, Democrats hurriedly rewrote their convention platform Wednesday to add a mention of God and declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel after President Barack Obama intervened to order the changes.

Obama intervened directly to get the language changed both on Jerusalem and to reinstate God in the platform, according to campaign officials who insisted on anonymity to describe behind-the-scenes party negotiations. They said Obama’s reaction to the omission of God from the platform was to wonder why it was removed in the first place.

That is, Obama had noooooo idea that this had happened, and cleaned things up.

Scooped by Politico’s reluctantly reported detection of the administration’s double-talk, today’s AP report by designated fixer Jim Kuhnhenn, which is clearly intended to be the last word on the situation, is completely silent on who was responsible for orchestrating the re-insertion, as well as what Obama knew about the platform’s contents:

OBAMA, PARTY TRY TO PUT PLATFORM FLAP BEHIND THEM

A stirring speech by former President Bill Clinton and a surprise appearance by President Barack Obama seemed – for a moment at least – to take the sting out of back-to-back glitches that upset Obama’s carefully scripted convention.

In a matter of hours, Obama’s team dealt with a potentially severe weather forecast by moving his Thursday nomination speech to a smaller, inside venue. Under criticism from Republicans, Democrats hurriedly added references to God and Jerusalem to the party platform.

The goal when both unexpected issues arose was to move quickly to minimize risk, lest the president look disorganized and uncertain just a day before he takes the stage to make his case for a second term.

Lambasted by Republicans, Obama and party officials pushed through amendments that declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and added a call for a government that lets willing workers make the most of their “God-given potential.”

But a chaotic scene on the convention floor and three inconclusive voice votes only drew more attention.

Inserting God and Jerusalem in the platform, which had been approved the day before, required a two-thirds vote of the delegates.

When Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the convention chairman, called for a voice vote, the ayes and nays were equally loud. He called for a second. The result was louder but still uncertain. Villaraigosa appeared to look for help from the sidelines and then called for yet another vote. He then declared the amendments passed.

Zheesh, Jim. The result wasn’t uncertain at all. There is no way the “yes” shouts were twice as loud as those opposed. There is no way the changes passed on a voice vote. Villaraigosa was told by a handler how to deal with it (as seen in the video — “You’ve got to rule, and then you’ve got to let them do what they’re gonna do”; transcribed here) and told by his teleprompter (as seen here, telling him to say “In the opinion of the chair, two-thirds having voted in the affirmative …”) that the amendment was going to be deemed as passed by a two-thirds majority no matter what the “yes” and “no” sound levels were from the floor.

Kuhnhenn never said what Obama knew about the pre-Thursday platform or when he knew it.

What resulted is a textbook example of how the Administration’s Press whitewashes events.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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