The 7 Week Itch

- August 6, 2012

 7 Weeks Worth Of Obama Questions Never Asked


"Obama Has Not Taken A Serious Question From The White House Press Corps In Nearly Seven Weeks." "President Obama has not taken a serious question from the White House press corps in nearly seven weeks, a remarkable string that points to a campaign-style White House operation that is seeking to insulate the candidate from tough cross examination."(Keith Koffler, "WH Press Corps Goes Seven Weeks Without A Question," White House Dossier, 8/6/12)

  • Obama's Last Press Conference Was Held On June 20 During Which Obama Only Took 6 Questions. (Remarks By President Obama At Press Conference After G20 Summit, Los Cabos, Mexico, 6/20/12)
  • "Since Then, Obama Has Held No Press Conferences, Given No Interviews To White House Reporters, And Taken No Questions At The White House Events He Has Held Where Reporters Have Been Present." ("Remarks By President Obama At Press Conference After G20 Summit," Los Cabos, Mexico, 6/20/12)


How Does Obama Explain Unemployment At 8.3% And Slowing GDP Growth?

Since President Obama Took Office, The Nation Has Lost 316,000 Jobs And The Unemployment Rate Has Increased From 7.8 Percent To 8.3 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 8/4/12)

The New York Times : "U.S. Economy Slowed To A Tepid 1.5% Rate Of Growth." (Shaila Dewan, "U.S. Economy Slowed To A Tepid 1.5% Rate Of Growth," The New York Times , 7/27/12)

  • The Washington Post : "Growth At Or Below 2 Percent Isn't Enough To Lower The Unemployment Rate." (The Washington Post, Twitter Feed, 7/27/12)

Why Is Obama's Plate Too Full For His Own Jobs Council?

Obama Has Not Met With His Jobs Council Since January. (Meetings Of The President's Council On Jobs And Competitiveness, The White House, Accessed 8/3/12)

  • Obama Has Not Met With His Jobs Council In Six Months Because He Has "Got A Lot On His Plate." REPORTER: "So there's no reason they [the Jobs Council] haven't met publicly?" WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: "No, there's no specific reason except the President's obviously got a lot on his plate." ( White House Press Conference , Washington, D.C., 7/18/12)

Can Obama Clarify His "You Didn't Build That" Comment For Business Owners?

Obama: "If You've Got A Business -- You Didn't Build That. Somebody Else Made That Happen." (President Barack Obama, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Roanoke, VA, 7/13/12)

  • At A Fundraiser Following The Comment, Obama Said "There Are Some Things That We're Also Going To Do Together To Make Sure That Everyone Has Success." OBAMA: "The one thing I do have no patience for is this argument that somehow what I'm criticizing is success. …We're going to reward risk and entrepreneurship. People are going to have to sweat and sacrifice for their success. But there are some things that we're also going to do together to make sure that everyone has success. Not everyone's going to succeed, but everyone's going to have a shot at success." (President Barack Obama, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Hunts Point, WA, 7/25/12)

Obama Said His Remarks Were Taken "Out Of Context." "Those ads taking my words about small business out of context; they're flat our wrong. Of course Americans build their own business. Everyday hard-working people sacrifice to meet a payroll, create jobs, and make our economy run. And What I said was that we need to stand behind them as America always has. By investing in education training, roads and bridges, research and technology." (Obama For America Ad, " Always," 7/24/12)

Why Has Obama Allowed America To Lose Hundreds Of Thousands Of Jobs By Failing To Confront China?

The Washington Post : "China's Policy Has Probably Cost Americans Hundreds Of Thousands Of Jobs And Contributed To China's Destabilizing Pile Of Trillions Of Dollars In Reserves." "China's undervalued renminbi is a long-standing, bipartisan concern, and it is not a phony one: In pursuit of growth led by exports, China has held the renminbi down in relation to the dollar, rendering its goods artificially cheap in the U.S. market. The renminbi would gain about 20 percent against the dollar if it were allowed to float freely like other currencies, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics. China's policy has probably cost Americans hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributed to China's destabilizing pile of trillions of dollars in reserves." (Editorial, "Breaking China? Last Thing Needed Is A Trade War," The Washington Post, 9/1/11)

  • Obama's Failure To Confront China Cost The United States 450,000 Jobs From 2008 To 2010. "American jobs have been shifting to low-wage countries for years, and the trend has continued during Obama's presidency. From 2008 to 2010, U.S. trade with China alone cost about 450,000 American jobs because of the growth of Chinese exports, said Robert E. Scott, a pro-labor advocate at the liberal Economic Policy Institute. That figure was less than in previous years, but the decrease was probably tied to the U.S. economic slowdown, which crimped demand for imports. 'I think he has walked away from the campaign commitments,' said Scott, the institute's director of trade and manufacturing policy research. 'He has done far too little to improve U.S. trade.'" (Tom Hamburger, Carol D. Leonnig and Zachary A. Goldfarb, "Obama's Record On Outsourcing Draws Criticism From The Left," The Washington Post , 7/9/12)
  • "Obama's Critics, Primarily On The Political Left, Say He Has Repeatedly Failed In Other Ways To Protect American Jobs From Being Moved Overseas" Including Confronting China. "While White House officials say they have been waiting on Congress to act, Obama's critics, primarily on the political left, say he has repeatedly failed in other ways to protect American jobs from being moved overseas. They point to a range of actions they say he should have taken: confronting China, reining in unfettered trade and reworking a U.S. visa program that critics say ends up sending high-tech jobs abroad." (Tom Hamburger, Carol D. Leonnig and Zachary A. Goldfarb, "Obama's Record On Outsourcing Draws Criticism From The Left," The Washington Post , 7/9/12)

Why Didn't Obama Know His FY2013 Budget Closes The Mansfield-Lahm National Guard Base?

Obama Landed At The Mansfield-Lahm National Guard Base On A Campaign Trip To Ohio - The Very Base Threatened By His FY2013 Defense Budget Cuts. "The 179th Airlift Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard base where Air Force One will land Wednesday morning remains threatened by President Barack Obama's proposed cuts to the military budget." (Lou Whitmire, "Air Force One To Land At Threatened Mansfield Base," Mansfield News Journal, 7/31/12)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Was Not Aware That Air Force One Landed At An Ohio Air Base That Obama Wants To Eliminate. REPORTER: "Can you talk a little bit about why the president is going back to the same area of Akron, Ohio tomorrow that he has visited before? And in Mansfield the local paper is reporting if President Obama has his way his Air Force One arrival would be one of the final flights into the Mansfield airport, because the president wants to do away with the mission for the 800 guardsmen at the Mansfield." WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: "I'll have to take the question, I'm not aware of that particular issue. In terms of why is he going to Ohio and Akron -" REPORTER: "But that area of Ohio, Mansfield and Akron, I mean he was just there on the bus tour." CARNEY: "There is not an inch of Ohio that the president does not love to visit. It's a great state, my wife's home state." REPORTER: "In terms of Mansfield, can we get you to take that question?" CARNEY: "Sure. I'm not aware of even the policy implications or what issue this is." (White House Press Briefing, 7/31/12)

Does Obama Acknowledge And Condone White House Staff Using Personal Email Accounts To Conduct Government Business?

As Obama's Deputy Chief Of Staff, Jim Messina Used His Personal Email Address Instead Of His White House Address To Conduct Government Business. "The interactions between the Finance Committee and PhRMA were detailed in an earlier report from the Energy and Commerce Committee, but Messina's use of his private email address - at issue because he was conducting government business on a non-government, undisclosed account - is a new revelation." (Jennifer Epstein, "GOP: W.H., Messina 'Failed' On Transparency," Politico, 7/31/12)

  • Messina To PhRMA, From His Personal Account Days Before ObamaCare Passed: "I Will Roll [P]elosi To Get The 4 Billion." "'I will roll [P]elosi to get the 4 billion,' Messina wrote Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) lobbyist Jeffrey Forbes from his personal account just days before the Affordable Care Act cleared Congress in March 2010. 'As you may have heard I am literally rolling over the house. But there just isn't 8-10 billion.'" (Jennifer Epstein, "GOP: W.H., Messina 'Failed' On Transparency," Politico, 7/31/12)

"The Committee Report Says The White House 'Has Refused To Verify' Whether Emails From White House Staffers' Personal Accounts Were Preserved." (Jennifer Epstein, "GOP: W.H., Messina 'Failed' On Transparency," Politico, 7/31/12)

  • Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter Says Messina Used His Personal E-Mail Because He Was E-Mailing His Friends. CNN's CANDY CROWLEY: "That's what I was trying to get at was, is it a fairly common practice to end up doing business on personal e-mail accounts?" OBAMA DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER STEPHANIE CUTTER: "It's not a common practice to do business on personal e-mail accounts, but if you have a friend on the outside who is used to corresponding with you on your personal e-mail address, every now and then it does happen." (CNN's " The Situation Room," 8/1/12)
  • CNN's Brianna Keilar: "I've Asked The White House Repeatedly On This, They Won't Say If Messina Looped In His White House Account." CNN's BRIANNA KEILAR: "Yeah Candy, the Romney campaign and the RNC are seizing on this report that's been put out by a House Committee -- a Republican House Committee important to note. It shows personal emails were used and that meetings were scheduled offsite to avoid there being a record in the White House visitors log. Five days before health care reform passed the House, Jim Messina, who was then the President's Deputy Chief of Staff, now the head of the Obama campaign, emailed a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry and he said in part, 'I will roll Pelosi to get the $4 billion,' talking about the funding for the deal that got Pharma on board with the President's health care reform bill. Now here's the thing. It is okay for a White House official to use a personal email account for official business, but only if they cc or forward that email from their personal account and they loop it into their official White House account. This is a legal issue. White House officials receive briefings on how to comply with the law. But, Candy, on this particular email, and I've asked the White House repeatedly on this, they won't say if Messina looped in his White House account. A spokesman for the White House, Eric Schultz saying, 'Mr. Messina occasionally received and sent email on a long standing personal account. When some of those emails contained information relating to official communications, he took steps to preserve such e-mails by forwarding them to his White House email account or copying his White House email account as a recipient.'" (CNN's " Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer," 8/1/12)
  • White House Press Secretary Jay Carney In June 2011: "All Of Our Work Is Conducted On Work Email Accounts." WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: "Well, the U.S. government policy -- certainly, the administration policy that is effective here is that we -- all of our work is conducted on work email accounts; that's part of the Presidential Records Act. So the issue in terms of, as I mentioned, our work accounts, we have no evidence to suggest that any of those accounts were accessed or compromised." (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, Washington, D.C., 6/2/11)

What Did Obama Know About The Solyndra Loan Restructuring?

In January 2011, OMB Analyst Kelly Colyar Concluded That Restructuring The Loan Would Double The Taxpayers' Loss. "Documents show that in January 2011, when Solyndra was in technical default on its loan, OMB analyst Kelly Colyar concluded that if the company were immediately liquidated, taxpayers would lose $141 million. If the loan were restructured and more money were released to Solyndra, she estimated, a subsequent default would cost taxpayers $385 million. The loss was attributable in part to allowing private investors to recover some of their money first." (Joe Stephens and Carol Leonnig, "White House Analyst Warned Saving Solyndra Could Cost More Than Letting It Fail," The Washington Post , 8/1/12)

  • Colyar Warned Taxpayers Would Lose $385 Million If Solyndra Defaulted On The Restructured Loan Versus $141 Million If They Were Allowed To Liquidate. (Kelly T. Colyar, Email To Fouad Saad et. al., f. 631, 1/4/11)

Current White House Chief Of Staff And Then-OMB Director Jack Lew Allowed The Refinancing To Continue Despite Warnings From OMB Analysts That The Plan "Might Violate The Law." "The House energy committee is expected to release the results of its 18-month investigation into Solyndra this week. Its report, parts of which were obtained by The Washington Post, suggests that then-OMB Director Jack Lew let the refinancing move forward without intervening, even though some OMB analysts thought a refinancing plan that favored private investors might violate the law. Lew is now White House chief of staff." (Joe Stephens and Carol D. Leonnig, "White House Analyst Warned Saving Solyndra Could Cost More Than Letting It Fail," The Washington Post , 8/1/12)

  • According To Kelly Colyar Of The OMB, Then-White House Chief Of Staff Bill Daley Had Been Briefed About OMB's "Reservations About The Prospects Of The Company And DOE's Proposal" To Restructure The Solyndra Loan. "You may recall that DOE announced in March that they had restructured the Solyndra loan. Prior to this restructuring, OMB staff expressed reservations about the prospects of the company and DOE's proposal. The issue was discussed with the NEC and the Chief of Staff." (Kelly T. Colyar, E-mail To Richard A. Mertens Et. Al , f. 732, 8/11/11)

Why Did Obama Invoke Executive Privilege On Fast And Furious?

Obama Invoked Executive Privilege Wednesday To Withhold Documents A House Committee Is Seeking In An Investigation Of A Flawed Gun-Smuggling Probe In Arizona." "President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege Wednesday to withhold documents a House committee is seeking in an investigation of a flawed gun-smuggling probe in Arizona. In a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., a Justice Department official said the privilege applies to documents that explain how the department learned that there were problems with the investigation called Operation Fast and Furious." (Pete Yost, "Justice Dept Says President Has Exerted Executive Privilege Over Fast And Furious Documents," The Associated Press, 6/20/12)

  • "The Obama Administration Is Asserting Executive Privilege" To Avoid Turning Over The Requested Documents. "Hours prior to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's 23-17 vote, Deputy Attorney General James Cole informed the committee's chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista (San Diego County), that the Obama administration is asserting executive privilege in declining to turn over documents…The administration's invocation of executive privilege covers documents produced after the Feb. 4, 2011, Justice Department letter denying use of gun-walking tactics in Fast and Furious." (Dan Freedman, "Attorney General Eric Holder Cited By Committee," San Francisco Chronicle, 6/23/12)
  • In 2007, Obama Was Critical Of Invoking Executive Privilege. CNN'S LARRY KING: "Do you favor executive privilege or should Karl Rove and others in that like position be forced to testify before the House or Senate? OBAMA: "Well, you know, I think we'll -- we'll determine over the next several weeks how this administration responds to the very appropriate call by Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to have these individuals come in and testify. You know, there's been a tendency on the part of this administration to -- to try to hide behind executive privilege every time there's something a little shaky that's taking place. And I think, you know, the administration would be best served by coming clean on this. There doesn't seem to be any national security issues involved with the U.S. attorney question. There doesn't seem to be any justification for not offering up some clear, plausible rationale for why these -- these U.S. attorneys were targeted when, by all assessments, they were doing an outstanding job. I think the American people deserve to know what was going on there." (CNN's "Larry King Tonight," 3/20/07)
  • In 2007, Then-Candidate Obama Said Executive Privilege "Is One That Is Subject To Abuse" And Said His Presidency Would Show "A Sufficient Respect For Law And Coequal Branches Of Government." OBAMA: "I think that the issue of executive power and executive privilege is one that is subject to abuse and in an Obama presidency what you will see will be a sufficient respect for law and coequal branches of government that I hope we don't find ourselves in a situation in which we would be having aides being subpoenaed for what I think everybody acknowledges is some troublesome information." (CNN's "The Situation Room," 3/28/07)

Can Obama Reconcile The Conflicting Responses To National Security Leaks?

One Month After Obama Detailed The Osama Bin Laden Raid With NBC's Brian Williams In The Situation Room, He Said It Was "Offensive" To Accuse His Administration Of Leaking National Security Leaks For Political Gain. "In a town that revels in hypocrisy, the White House has had its share as well. At his press conference last week, Obama said it is 'offensive' to suggest that his administration would leak national security secrets for political reasons. But just a month ago, he was doing an extraordinarily rare TV interview in the Situation Room, giving NBC's Brian Williams the lowdown on how the Osama bin Laden operation was planned and monitored from the White House." (Josh Gerstein, Leak Fever Hits D.C.," Politico, 6/13/12)

  • Obama: "The Notion That My White House Would Purposely Release Classified National Security Information Is Offensive." OBAMA: "The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. It's wrong. And people I think need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office." (President Barack Obama, Press Conference, Washington, DC, 6/8/12)

Obama Campaign Adviser David Axelrod Said "This Administration Has No Interest In Leaking Classified Information," But Did Not Deny "That The Stories That Have Been Written Have Been Helpful To The President." OBAMA ADVISER DAVID AXELROD: "I say that's nonsense. This administration has no interest in leaking classified information. We don't want to see it leaked from Capitol Hill and we don't want to see it leaked from the administration. It's not helpful. The fact is there are leaks and sometimes we're confronted with those leaks and we're asked about those leaks. That's a different situation, but I wholly discount that." CNN'S WOLF BLITZER: "You totally reject this notion that there have been these authorized leaks of classified information in order to help bolster the president's chances to make him look strong?" AXELROD: "The intimation is that the story is helpful to the president." BLITZER: "Which story is that?" AXELROD: "That the stories that have been written have been helpful to the president. I'll let other people judge that, but we're not the source of those stories." (CNN's "Situation Room," 6/7/12)

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): "I Think The White House Has To Understand That Some Of This Is Coming From Its Ranks. I Don't Know Specifically Where, But I Think They Have To Begin To Understand That And Do Something About It." SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN: "I am aware of that, I think that's a correct analysis. I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from its ranks. I don't know specifically where, but I think they have to begin to understand that and do something about it. I mean, there's one book they can read and they'll see it very clearly. And I think that should be the case. I think you know what the president actually knows about this is difficult because with respect to intelligence he is in a bubble. He has his daily brief, called the PDB, the President's Daily Brief, early every morning. And so he gets briefing from intelligence I don't believe for a moment that he goes out and talks about it, I don't believe the briefers go out and talk about it, but who knows who else. And I think that the importance of this has to be really set by the president himself. And hopefully he will do it, and I think he'll most likely read the book and see it himself." (World Affairs Council, Washington, DC, 7/23/12)

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