« Burying the Lede | Main | Online Support Links for MilSpouses and Families »

October 12, 2010

Fact Checking the President

Over at Memeorandum, everyone seems to be fact checking the Prez. ABC's Jake Tapper finds "scant evidence" to support Obama's smears:

... while Obama is trying to tie Republicans and some of their backers to the specter of foreign interference in U.S. elections, an examination of the evidence provides little support for the claims.

"We have no idea if the Chamber or any 501(c) organization as defined by the IRS code, is taking foreign money for the purposes of playing politics," said Dave Levinthal of the Center for Responsive Politics. "Saying that that foreign money is actually going toward attack ads or any type of messaging in the political realm, you just don't know. It's speculation and nothing more."



FactCheck.org
piles on, noting that the President and his supporters are claiming that the Chamber is "guilty until proven innocent":

The chamber says it does receive money from foreign sources, but that it amounts to only a small fraction of the chamber’s $200 million budget. The chamber says none of the foreign money is used in its ads, and no evidence has been produced to show otherwise. Federal Election Commission opinions state that organizations taking in foreign money may make political donations legally, so long as they have "a reasonable accounting method" to keep foreign money separate and have enough money from U.S. sources to cover the donations.

...some Democrats are taking the position that the Chamber of Commerce is guilty of using foreign contributions until proven innocent. MoveOn.org is using this claim in a fundraising appeal, both in e-mail messages and on its website:

MoveOn.org website: Foreign corporations are funding some of the $75 million the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending to defeat Democrats this election cycle. Ask the Justice Department to investigate.

President Obama, in recent campaign appearances, has been a bit more circumspect, but not much. He has hedged his claim with words like "maybe" and "could."

Even the NY Times got in a few digs:

[T]here is little evidence that what the chamber does in collecting overseas dues is improper or even unusual, according to both liberal and conservative election-law lawyers and campaign finance documents.

In fact, the controversy over the Chamber of Commerce financing may say more about the Washington spin cycle — where an Internet blog posting can be quickly picked up by like-minded groups and become political fodder for the president himself — than it does about the vagaries of campaign finance.

What I find remarkable about this story is that the President of the United States believes he can use totally unsubstantiated smears against a group of American businesses without being called on it by the press. His arrogance is even more stunning when you consider his own history with regard to accepting untraceable donations. He seems to have forgotten that past performance is not always indicative of future behavior:

... I’d kind of forgotten this scandal until Obama brought this stuff up. It didn’t get much attention then, but it may get more this time around.

"Indeed"... :)

Update: Your Majesty...the peasants are revolting!

In a potential sign of Democratic unease with the White House midterm political strategy, some of President Obama's allies have begun to question his sustained attack on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has long claimed bipartisanship but is being increasingly identified as a GOP ally.

Some Democrats on Capitol Hill worry that the White House is going too far in charging that the politically powerful business lobby may be using foreign money to fuel its election efforts.

... "The White House may reap the whirlwind," said one top Democratic staffer. "What are we going to do next year if a Republican Congress is making baseless claims about President Obama? We'll want the media to hold them accountable to the facts and the evidence."

Posted by Cassandra at October 12, 2010 08:54 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.villainouscompany.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/3938

Comments

I made this argument when Pelosi accused the CIA of lying to Congress, which is a felony. What Obama is accusing the Chamber of Commerce of also is a felony. If Obama has evidence of this felony, he has an obligation, not lessened in the least by his status as the nation's top law enforcement officer, to deliver this evidence to the relevant Prosecutor's Office. Withholding evidence of a crime is itself a felony.

Pelosi has yet to withdraw her allegations of a felony, nor has she yet delivered the evidence. Nor has anyone, like the press, called her on this felonious behavior. Despite the current times, or perhaps because of them, we can look forward to continued silence on this a) felonious withholding of evidence of a crime, or b) slander (you pick 'em) vis-a-vis our illustrious president.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 12, 2010 10:21 AM

Off topic, Cass, but I would like to see a thread from you re the Republican RINO establishment "sore loser" trend this election cycle, a la Crist and Murkowski, maybe O'Donnell. I like your insights.

Posted by: a former european at October 12, 2010 11:35 AM

I would like to see a thread from you re the Republican RINO establishment "sore loser" trend this election cycle, a la Crist and Murkowski, maybe O'Donnell.

Yanno, I've kind of stayed away from so much of that because I'm aware how touchy a subject it is (and also because I suspect my unvarnished opinions would vex and annoy the villainry) ;p

But I will look into it!

Posted by: Cassandra at October 12, 2010 11:56 AM

I heard on talk radio today (so it must be true) that "American Divisions of Foreign Corporations" (which are permitted to collect money from American workers, form PACs and donate to American politicians) gave 6.5 million to Dems and 5.5 million to Reps this last year.

Seems to me that the Dems are the beneficiary of foreign money.

Posted by: Hummer at October 12, 2010 01:52 PM

How do you fact check a souless automaton?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 13, 2010 07:04 AM

Gotta love the "top staffer" concern trolling:

"The White House may reap the whirlwind,"

Yes, the same noise machine that routinely makes baseless claims such as saying the prez is a Kenyan/muslim/socialist/anti-colonial/gangsta rap lover could get worse!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Craig at October 13, 2010 08:38 AM

Sorry Craig... are you saying the President is pro-Colonial!?!? You racist $%&#!

Posted by: MikeD at October 13, 2010 09:21 AM

You racist $%&#!

And the baseless claims just keep on comin'...

Posted by: Craig at October 13, 2010 09:54 AM

Yes, the same noise machine that routinely makes baseless claims such as saying the prez is a...gangsta rap lover could get worse!!!!!!!!

So, you're saying that Obie's own statement that he has gangsta rap on his iPod is a baseless claim...

http://www.sohh.com/2010/10/president_barack_obama_inducts_another_r.html

Posted by: BillT at October 13, 2010 10:14 AM

Yes, the same noise machine that routinely makes baseless claims such as saying the prez is a Kenyan/muslim/socialist/anti-colonial/gangsta rap lover could get worse!!!!!!!!

So, you're suggesting that because the other side does this sort of thing, it's OK for the Obama gang to do it, too. How very droll.

This seems to me to be an all too typically disingenuous attempt by the liberals to change the subject and try obfuscate their own complicity in a patent wrong-doing. Oh wait--it's only wrong if the Evil Bush Gang does it. It's entirely appropriate if We do it, because We Know Better.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 13, 2010 11:00 AM

Craig,
I think you misunderstand Mike's jab.

If being anti-colonial is a baseless acusation that must mean that Obama in not anti-colonial but is in fact pro-colonial. Given that colonialism is almost universally considered as racist by those of a liberal bent, being anti-colonial would, in fact, be a good thing.

It would seem that he would wear the "baseless accusation" of anti-colonialism with pride.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 13, 2010 11:01 AM

Reminds me of the immediate aftermath of Gov Palin's "How's that hopey-changey thing working out for ya?" remark. The NLMSM got all up in arms--not over the accuracy of Gov Palin's remark, or over the issues she raised with it, but over the fact that Their President was being mocked. And by a conservative woman who belonged at home taking care of Todd and her illegitimate (grand)son, at that.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 13, 2010 11:04 AM

My point was that it is ludicrous to worry about some sort of massive baseless claim retaliation because Obama cannot satisfactorily prove his statements to the liking of wingers.

When have they ever stopped?

Posted by: Craig at October 13, 2010 12:03 PM

YAG,

I just assumed that Craig understood my jest and was responding in kind.

Posted by: MikeD at October 13, 2010 12:09 PM

I know what your point was, Mike was just making fun of you for your mistake.

I just don't see how Mike pointing out your mistake somehow proves your point.

That said, it really can get worse. Not by those already in "the noise machine" as you put it. You are correct that the Birthers will never be happy.

But when the NYTimes piles on, I think it's a pretty safe bet that the problem is not confined to the "Kenyan/muslim/socialist/gangsta rap lover" "noise machine".

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 13, 2010 12:35 PM

"Gotta love the "top staffer" concern trolling:

"The White House may reap the whirlwind,"

Nice cherry-picking - " "The White House may reap the whirlwind," said one top Democratic staffer." - to set up your strawman deflection so you can employ your favorite 'Oh-Crap-I-Have-Absolutely-No-Idea-What-I'm-Talking-About' tactic: name calling.

"My point was [blah blah blah blah]wingers."

Yeah, we *know* what your point was.

Posted by: DL Sly at October 13, 2010 12:37 PM

My point was that it is ludicrous to worry about some sort of massive baseless claim retaliation because Obama cannot satisfactorily prove his statements to the liking of wingers.

When have they ever stopped?

Hmm--your thesis, then, is that anyone who criticizes Obama is a, umm, "winger," was it? And further, that no one is allowed to criticize Obama's dishonesty unless they're perfect themselves? Funny, that....

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 13, 2010 01:27 PM

Typed too fast. In my last post, "When have they ever stopped?" should have been in italics with the rest of my quote of Craig.

I guess my error disqualifies me from criticizing Obama.

Fat chance.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 13, 2010 01:32 PM

How inconvenient for the SEIU to have as it's call to arms:

"SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION."

I suggest they move their front office to China and attempt to organize Chinese workers there with the same bully tactics used in the USA.

Is it safe to assume that the SEIU accepts money from other labor-oriented organizations in Europe?

Posted by: vet66 at October 13, 2010 02:13 PM

MikeD,

Yes, I knew you weren't serious.

Yu-Ain,

I wasn't certain that I was clear the first go around, since alot of replies were about challenging me on the terms I used in my first post.

DL Sly,

I'm a cherry-picking, name-caller who uses straw men. Got it.
And I'm glad you knew what my point was.

Eric,

I am happy you find my comments both droll and funny.

Posted by: Craig at October 13, 2010 02:28 PM

Thanks for the update, including this:

... "The White House may reap the whirlwind," said one top Democratic staffer. "What are we going to do next year if a Republican Congress is making baseless claims about President Obama? We'll want the media to hold them accountable to the facts and the evidence."

That statement, I suspect, is a trial balloon, useful to gauge whether the President can really get away with this nonsense, or not. If it sinks with barely a ripple, they'll know nobody is paying attention.

Posted by: valerie at October 13, 2010 04:42 PM

Obama should have released a heavily edited video of someone off-camera talking to US-Bahrain Business Council directors about giving the CoC money to help defeat democrats in the fall along with pics of himself dressed as a Bahraini sheikh and Michelle dressed as a concubine.

Congress would have already revoked the Chamber's 501(c)(6) status by now if he had gone that route.

Posted by: Craig at October 14, 2010 08:59 AM

Is it really possible that the Obama administration is so inept, so completely out of touch, that it would send the leader of the free world stumping before hand-picked audiences to accuse those who back political opponents of crimes for which it has not the slightest evidence? Is there left in Washington such little respect for the office of the executive that it would reduce its bully pulpit to that of level street-corner demagoguery? This is a disgrace, Mr. President. You should fire the lot.

Posted by: spd rdr at October 14, 2010 09:31 AM

Congress would have already revoked the Chamber's 501(c)(6) status by now if he had gone that route.

Hardly. If they tried it, *all* domestic campaign contributions to the Dems would dry up overnight.

Posted by: BillT at October 14, 2010 10:05 AM

Is there left in Washington such little respect for the office of the executive that it would reduce its bully pulpit to that of level street-corner demagoguery?

They're just being realistic. Campaigning's the only thing Obie knows how to do without totally embarrassing himself.

Posted by: BillT at October 14, 2010 10:08 AM

Sly, maybe Craig needs to first learn about baseball before talking about bases and what not, eh?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 14, 2010 01:23 PM

When things get desperate, monkeys start to fling poo. It's a real problem when a defective "poo grenade" blows up in their faces.

Posted by: Mike Myers at October 14, 2010 03:57 PM

Post a comment

To reduce comment spam, comments on older posts are put into moderation 5 days after the last activity. Comments with more than one link also go into moderation. If you don't see your comment after posting it, try refreshing the screen. If you still don't see it, your comment is probably in the moderation queue.




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)