June 12, 2012

"Obama says he was too busy to campaign in Wisconsin recall election"... or did he?

Headline writers keep paraphrasing him like that, but let's look at the quote:

“Well, you know, the truth of the matter is that as President of the United States, I’ve got a lot of responsibilities. Uh, I was supportive of Tom and, uh, have been supportive of Tom. Uh, obviously, uh, you know,  I would have loved to have seen a different result."

He doesn't say that he didn't go because he's "got a lot of responsibilities." I'll accept that "I've got a lot of responsibilities" is pretty close to "I'm busy" (but not exactly the same, because you could have a lot of responsibilities and do them efficiently and quickly, and you could also be failing to meet your responsibilities).

What I'm not seeing is an assertion that being busy was the reason for staying out of Wisconsin. After the bland expression of support for Tom Barrett, the next line is not "I would have loved to have visited Wisconsin for the campaign." It's "I would have loved to have seen a different result." That subtly accommodates what we suspect was real reason for staying out of Wisconsin: He knew the result was going to be a Barrett loss and he was sorry about that and unable to change it.

Watch the clip. It does sound weak and pathetic, but I think it's incorrect to make it seem as though he didn't care enough or want to bother with Wisconsin.  I think you can tell that he's really sad about what happened, and he feels — and felt — powerless to affect it. This man is not projecting the energy and confidence he should have at this point in his campaign.


Roman said...

If bullshit was lightning, he would set the world on fire!

Holmes said...

If I stood to make Bill Clinton money doing the speaker circuit or being President again, I think I know the choice I would make.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Too many typos (even for me)!

He didn't explicity say "because," but the only reasonable interpretation is that he didn't go because of those other responsibilities (which turned out to be fundraising trips to Chicago and Minneapolis). Otherwise, the first sentence makes absolutely no sense.

Aunty Trump said...

How could Obama campaign against Walker? Walker is a piker when it comes to pension reforms, Obama just terminates the pension plan in question and gives the money to his political supporters!


But you lefties just keep supporting him. This is just bourgeois truth, the revolutionary truth is the Obama supports everyone's pensions!

Michael Haz said...

Barack Obama did not stop in Wisconsin to campaign with Tom Barrett because: (1) Internal polling showed that Barrett was going to lose big time; and (2) There was not sufficient opportunity for Obama to raise funds in Wisconsin.

Any other reason provided by the WH is bullshit.

Brian Brown said...


Obama flew over WI two times to attend fundraisers just days before.

At one point he was 15 miles from WI border.

I would also add, that no politician would use the phrase "I was too busy" as a response.

His answer is clear.

David said...

So actually it's not just weak and pathetic it's dishonest and evasive too? And bumbling?

The Obama bubble will really burst if we see his self confidence crack. Tiny fissures are starting to appear.

wyo sis said...

Obama just can't hide how little he cares about anything but himself. He isn't even trying anymore.

traditionalguy said...

"The truth of the matter"never comes from the smiling Kenyan's lips. And that is one thought that everyone agrees on now.

The folks I have talked to recently are very serious about getting Obama out of there in November. A vote today would be a Romney landslide bringing the Senate and House majorities along for the ride.

Hagar said...

His handlers told him to stay the hell away because the WI Dems were going down; there was not anything he could do about it, and they did not want him (and especially they) to catch any of the blame.
And that is hard for his ego to take.

Michael said...

Brave man. Principled man.

Anonymous said...

I suppose you could interpret Obama as saying "I have a lot of other responsibilities (i.e., working for my own reelection) and campaigning with Barret would have damaged my brand and my campaign."

Larry J said...

Obama has his priorities. They include holding more fundraisers than the 5 previous presidents combined and playing golf to relax aftewards.

Personally, I wish he'd play a lot more golf. He does far less damage to the country when he's playing golf than when he's playing president.

Humperdink said...

Holder stuck by his guns. Team Zero stuck to his campaign schedule.

Richard Dolan said...

"What I'm not seeing is an assertion that being busy was the reason for staying out of Wisconsin."

Ha. No one but no one is suggesting that "being busy" was the real reason -- they're saying it is just today's phony excuse for a decision plainly reached for other reason. (Ann details the most obvious candidate later in her post.)

Obama is speaking indirectly and treading carefully -- he doesn't mean what he said, even though it is obviously true that his day job is enough to keep anyone "busy." But everyone understands what's going on.

This reminded me of a piece by Steven Pinker, Words Don't Mean What They Mean, using as a prime example this: "In an episode of Seinfeld, George is asked by his date if he would like to come up for coffee. He declines, explaining that caffeine keeps him up at night. Later he slaps his forehead: "'Coffee' doesn't mean coffee! 'Coffee' means sex!'"

And Pinker was riffing on a famous collection of essays by Stanley Cavell, Must We Mean What We Say?, that was riffing on ... But you get the point.

Adjoran said...

t-man is quite correct: just because Obama didn't overtly say it doesn't mean he wasn't trying to give that impression - perhaps while keeping some "plausible deniability" too.

I blame Clinton for the incessant parsing of every word. The definition of "is," or Hillary responding to questions about corruption with "There's been no evidence of that."

Methadras said...

This was Urkel's Bill Buckner moment. Wisconsin went right through his legs.

Fen said...

Obama: as President of the United States, I’ve got a lot of responsibilities

Coward. You've spent the month sucking up to Hollywood celebs like a little bitch looking for a new Sugar Daddy:

Any American can attend an Obama event for a donation of a mere $35,800 – the cost of the fundraiser hosted by Dreamworks honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg, and the one hosted by Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, and the one hosted by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett, and the one hosted by Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, and the one hosted by Crosby, Stills and Nash. $35,800 is a curiously nonround figure. Perhaps the ticket cost is $36,000, but under Obamacare there's a $200 co-pay.

"I've got responsibilities" my ass. Did you at least get a shot of Penicillin?

lemondog said...

Who is Tom Uh?

Fen said...

SEIU: Obama was too busy to fight alongside us.

Too busy slopping caviar into his face while giggling with Streisand.

Alex said...

Maybe the top 1% are doing well and corporate profits are at an all time high, but medium to small businesses are suffering badly. How can Obama be so clueless?

Calypso Facto said...

Apparently the only union workers President Obama has time for are those in the Screen Actors Guild.

Dangerous Dreamer said...

He didn't say he was too busy because he can never take a stand on any issue. So he leaves it to individual interpretation. He voted present as usual.

PatCA said...

I think this is why he came out later and said we need to hire more public employees.

He must have gotten an earful from WI unionistas.

Joe said...

He did have too many responsibilities; all those fund raisers to attend, golf balls just begging to hit and basketball games to watch.

Original Mike said...

Next you'll be telling us "F&F" in the DOJ e-mails does not stand for Fast & Furious.

Rich B said...

I look forward to many more enjoyable BHO clips during this campaign. That one was priceless.

Aunty Trump said...

I think maybe Obama needs a job with fewer responsibilities.

Mr. D said...

Nah, President Obama was more interested in milking the DFL cows and tying up rush hour traffic here in the Twin Cities than in helping a loyal Democrat across the St. Croix.

The president wasn’t too busy. The president was/is too self-absorbed.

kcom said...

"but medium to small businesses are suffering badly. How can Obama be so clueless?"

I think he was that clueless from Day One. Go back and listen to his comments from around his election time. Implicit in his statements was the assumption that all businesses are big businesses. That's the scale he's used to thinking. Those are the enemies he picks and the fat cats he schmoozes. Those are the targets of his legislation.

I got the distinct impression that small business never even entered his conscious thoughts and he took no account of them whatsoever. Including what effect his legislation aimed at big businesses would have on small businesses (including the $600 1099 form requirement that was part of ObamaCare). He's learned to pay lip service to them in the meantime, but deep down, I don't believe he really takes small businesses and their needs very seriously. He's much more comfortable in the Big Government, Big Business, Big Academia triangle where he, and everyone he knows, live their lives.

furious_a said...

...but not too busy for fundraisers on either side of Wisconsin while working families there were fighting for their lives.

President Present didn't bother even phoning it in, he emailed it in.

edutcher said...

I supposed not visiting the Kiss of Death on another Lefty enterprise qualifies as a responsibility.

Anonymous said...

At this point he would love so much to quit and spend more time with his family, and let Hillary clean up his mess.

Toad Trend said...

The Excuse Generator-in-Chief is uh, apparently working overtime.

Has he been golfing lately?

No interest in telling republicans to sit in the back of the bus while he continues driving?

A man beyond his abilities, lacking self-awareness, is a truly tragic thing.

Toad Trend said...

"How can Obama be so clueless?"

Alex, have you seen shows like Entertainment Tonight lately?

He'd be right at uh, home there.

All he'd have to do is break into a fit of Bill Withers and all would be well.

james conrad said...

Ann wants to parse a statement thats akin to " it depends on what the definition of is, is"

Earth to Ann, Obama is a political coward and did not want to stand with his people in a losing effort. He threw the Wisc. Dems under the bus, end of story. Hello?

Tarzan said...


Rabel said...

"He doesn't say that he didn't go because he's 'got a lot of responsibilities.'"

"What I'm not seeing is an assertion that being busy was the reason for staying out of Wisconsin."

Oh, nonsense.

Its a lot more than "pretty close." Its a direct implication and a lie. But he has a pleasing voice, so it's not really so bad.

edutcher said...

Actually, I have a feeling a lot of his time is going into the Panic Room he's going to need soon.

According to a KosKidz poll (I know...), the Romster would get 20% of the black vote in NC. While I'd want to see it confirmed elsewhere, it must be making Axelrod's day that much more miserable.

Even worse may be the news that the "safe" states may not remain so.

2008: Obama 57-40
2012: Obama 51-40 (Strategies360)

2008: Obama 57-40
2012: Obama 47-43 (SUSA)

2008: Obama 61-37
2012: Obama 48-32 (FIELD)

2008: Obama 54-44
2012: Romney 47-46 (Rasmussen) (flip)

2008: Obama 57-41
2012: Romney 46-45 (EPICMRA) (flip)

2008: Obama 56-42
2012: Obama 48-43 (WAA)

2008: Obama 54-44
2012: Obama 46-40 (Quinnipiac)

2008: Obama 62-36
2012: Obama 58-35 (PPP)

New Jersey
2008: Obama 57-42
2012: Obama 49-39 (Quinnipiac)

Full list at the link.

Mark said...

The Monolithic Press is starting to turn on him. (See Dowd's recent slap upside Obama's head.) I think his campaign writers snuck in that "going down" joke into a speech at San Francisco just to do it.

The blood's in the water. The tingle will be gone, and the only respect Obama will get will be the "dis" kind. Simply a matter of time until Obama's talking to portraits of past Presidents in between swigs of expensive scotch and lines of coke.

Fen said...

DHOTUS: "Uh, obviously, uh, you know, its Bush's fault. "

Charlie Eklund said...

The President is far too busy losing his own election to devote any time helping other Democrats lose their elections.

Happy days are here again!