Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Cuts Out McCain’s Remarks About Economy, Then Quotes Barack Obama Saying McCain is Scared to Talk About the Economy

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:26 pm

Today John McCain finally began to tell the country about his own efforts to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Democrats’ incredible inaction. Yes, as many of us had urged, McCain finally talked about the economy, and the conservative blogs went nuts. Republican bloggers know that McCain has to talk about this, because the economy is the top issue concerning Americans, and McCain has a good story to tell — even if it’s one that the media has been ignoring.

Speaking of which:

How did the L.A. Times cover McCain’s stunning speech taking on this core economic concern?

By pretending McCain never said it, and by quoting Barack Obama talking about how McCain is scared to talk about the economy.

I’m not joking:

At a rally here, McCain also lumped Obama in with Chicago politics’ history of corruption, while Obama responded that the Republicans were fostering political shenanigans and scare tactics.

. . . .

“It’s as if somehow the usual rules don’t apply, and where other candidates have to explain themselves and their records, Sen. Obama seems to think he is above all that,” McCain told the cheering crowd. “Whatever the question, whatever the issue, there’s always a back story with Sen. Obama. All people want to know is, what has this man ever actually accomplished in government? What does he plan for America? In short, who is the real Barack Obama? But ask such questions and all you get in response is another barrage of angry insults.”

That’s precisely the point where McCain started to talk about Democratic responsibility for the economy. McCain’s very next words, which never appear in the L.A. Times, were these words:

Our current economic crisis is a good case in point. What was his actual record in the years before the great economic crisis of our lifetimes?

At which point McCain launched into the amazing speech quoted by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, during which he laid out the case, at great length, for the Democrats’ responsibility for the mortgage crisis.

Does the L.A. Times report one word of that? No. Instead, they cut the quote of McCain’s speech short there, right before he talks about the economy, and proceed to quote Obama as claiming that McCain is scared to talk about the economy:

Speaking with reporters in Asheville, N.C., where he is studying for Tuesday’s debate, which is to focus on the economy and domestic issues, Obama pointed to recent reports that the McCain camp wanted to get away from economic issues, a topic that polls show benefits the Democrats.

“I was a little surprised over the last couple of days to hear Sen. McCain say, or Sen. McCain’s campaign say, that we want to turn the page on the discussion of the economy and a member of Sen. McCain’s campaign saying today that if we keep talking about the economic crisis we lose,” Obama said.

“I cannot imagine anything more important to talk about than the economic crisis, and the notion that we’d want to brush that aside and engage in the usual political shenanigans and scare tactics that have come to characterize too many political campaigns, I think [that] is not what the American people are looking for,” he said.

Of course, the economic crisis, and who is responsible for it, is exactly what McCain talked about.

But you’d never know that by reading the L.A. Times. The paper does make sure, however, to include this Obama attack on a nearly 20-year-old scandal barely involving John McCain:

Democrats, mindful that unanswered allegations hurt Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s presidential bid in 2004, hit back by portraying McCain as a friend of the same kind of bankers whose subprime mortgage dealings are causing a crisis on Wall Street.

Right: they talked about McCain’s (non-)involvement in the ancient Keating Five scandal. That is worthy of mention. But when McCain talked at length about the responsibility for the current crisis, all we’re told is that he’s scared to talk about the economy.

Orwellian, isn’t it?

But it’s business as usual at this newspaper.

P.S. They are suffering new cutbacks at the paper. I feel bad for the individuals, but I’m too angry to feel bad about the institution. To hell with the institution. They’re busy distorting facts, day in and day out, to torpedo John McCain’s campaign, and I’m supposed to feel bad?

UPDATE: The story has now been substantially rewritten sent down the memory hole — but I have a screenshot to prove that I quoted the original version accurately:

The rewritten new version is no better. McCain’s specific points about responsibility for the mortgage crisis are still not mentioned. But the story does have this race-baiting bit:

Pointing to the financial crisis and other dangers facing America, McCain added a dig at his opponent that seemed designed to highlight Obama’s unusual background, including a childhood in Indonesia and Hawaii: “I didn’t just show up out of nowhere. After all, America knows me; you know my strengths and my faults; you know my story and my convictions.”

Sounds to me like a dig at Obama’s inexperience. But every argument against Obama is racist; why not this one too?

UPDATE x2: Upon closer inspection, the new story isn’t “rewritten” — it is a completely new story, by a different author, at the same URL. They sent the first one down the memory hole.

It never happened. Understand? It never happened.

UPDATE x3: More detail about the disappearance of the original version, here.

Time and Money to Burn

Filed under: General — JRM @ 8:57 pm

[Posted by JRM]

Something that’s gone mostly under the radar is Obama’s National Service Plan, a plan to increase volunteerism.

As long you don’t limit volunteerism to voluntary, unpaid work, it should do that, too.

The plan includes:

$10 per hour for some “volunteers” via college scholarships.

– Establishment of five new volunteer agencies under AmeriCorps: Classroom Corps, Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, Veterans Corps, and Homeland Security Corps.

– Expansion of the Senior Corps. Participating seniors will be paid.


Josh Marshall Is a Liar

Filed under: 2008 Election,General,Scum — Patterico @ 7:26 pm

Josh Marshall:

So we have McCain today getting his crowd riled up asking who Barack Obama is and then apparently giving a wink and a nod when one member of the crowd screams out “terrorist.”

And later we have Sarah Palin with the same mob racket, getting members of the crowd to yell out “kill him“, though it’s not clear whether the call for murder was for Bill Ayers or Barack Obama. It didn’t seem to matter.

These are dangerous and sick people, McCain and Palin. Whatever it takes. Stop at nothing.

Here’s the video of the alleged wink and nod. I’d call it a disapproving flinch, but then, I’m not a liar like Josh Marshall.

But Marshall’s lies get even clearer than that.

Click on the link to the words “kill him” and you’ll see that a) it’s one man and not “members” of the audience; b) Palin didn’t “get” that one man to yell that out; and c) it’s crystal clear that the call referred to Bill Ayers and not Barack Obama.

“And, according to the New York Times, he [referring to Ayers — P] was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, ‘launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'” [Palin] continued.

“Boooo!” the crowd repeated.

“Kill him!” proposed one man in the audience.

Let’s assume that we know the man was not a Democrat planted near the reporters. We don’t know that, but let’s assume he’s not.

In that case, it’s still crystal clear that the story refers to one man, and not “members” of the audience. Palin said nothing that a rational person would interpret as a call for members of the audience to yell for the man to be killed, unless criticizing terrorists is automatically an act trying to encourage calls for murder.

And it’s 100% clear that the “Kill him!” reference was to Ayers. Saying it might have referred to Obama, and that it didn’t seem to matter, is 100% bullshit, completely made up by Josh Marshall.

And that is why I say that Josh Marshall is a liar.

Reaction of Obama Campaign to Ayers Attacks Suggests Fear On Their Part That It Has Potential To Do Real Damage

Filed under: 2008 Election — WLS @ 3:10 pm

[Posted by WLS]

The fact that the Obama camp read the “tea leaves” and saw this attack coming, and then attempted to pre-empt it to some degree with a roll-out in the NYTimes of their talking points on the subject, suggests that they fear the damage it might do.

Now that the McCain campaign has launched its attack, the response today by Obama further establishes that they have genuine fear over how it might play out.

First, they drag out the Keating Five scandal.  Not only is it ancient, not only was McCain exonerated by an independent investigation, and not only did the Senate Ethics Committee find he had done nothing wrong, McCain has worn his error in judgment in acting on behalf of a constituent as a “Red Badge of Courage”, citing it as the foundation for his career-long effort to combat the influence of special interests in the legislative process.   Even Andrea Mitchell was voicing skepticism this morning when interviewing an Obama campaign official about whether this pushback had any real substance behind it.

Now, to add to Obama’s earlier misrepresentation “He’s just a guy from my neighborhood”, an Obama campaign aide is peddling the excuse that when Obama first met Ayers he was unaware of his background in violence.  Ben Smith at Politico and CNN both have David Axelrod personally coming out and saying Obama didn’t know of Ayers’s past when Ayers hosted the fund raiser for Obama’s fledgling campaign for State Senate in Illinois.

This is not a defense the campaign has ever made in the past, and Obama had never made this comment when previously asked about Ayers, thus it will prompt further scrutiny from all quarters.  The reason?  Because the next question is “when did you learn about it, and why didn’t you sever ties to him at that time?” 

This is in the bloodstream now.  It’ll be mentioned in the debate tomorrow.  Obama is going to have to hope that 51% of the electorate doesn’t care about it.  Their reaction today suggests that they don’t know that to be the case.


Obama and Ayers, Together Again

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 1:43 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee reports that in 1995, “Barack Obama had known Bill Ayers at least eight years since their shared involvement in the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools, if not longer.” He submits that Obama and Ayers have worked together on community and education issues on and off for the past 21 years.

Meanwhile, the Drudge Report confirms Ayers’s and Obama’s common interests with this link to a University of Chicago Chronicle article. The article reports on a 1997 University of Chicago juvenile justice forum in which William Ayers and Barack Obama appeared as speakers in support of the same goals:

Children who kill are called “super predators,” “people with no conscience,” “feral pre-social beings” — and “adults.”

William Ayers, author of A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court (Beacon Press, 1997), says “We should call a child a child. A 13-year-old who picks up a gun isn’t suddenly an adult. We have to ask other questions: How did he get the gun? Where did it come from?”

Ayers, who spent a year observing the Cook County Temporary Juvenile Detention Center in Chicago, is one of four [sic] panelists who will speak on juvenile justice at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, in the C-Shop. The panel, which marks the 100th anniversary of the juvenile justice system in the United States, is part of the Community Service Center’s monthly discussion series on issues affecting the city of Chicago. The event is free and open to the public.

Ayers will be joined by [Illinois State] Sen. Barack Obama, Senior Lecturer in the Law School, who is working to combat legislation that would put more juvenile offenders into the adult system; Randolph Stone, Director of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic; Alex Correa, a reformed juvenile offender who spent seven years in Cook County Temporary Detention Center; Frank Tobin, a former priest and teacher at the Detention Center who helped Correa; and Willy Baldwin, who grew up in public housing and is currently a teacher at the Detention Center.”

Michelle Obama was a proponent of the event and may have been the coordinator:

Michelle Obama, Associate Dean of Student Services and Director of the University Community Service Center, hopes bringing issues like this to campus will open a dialogue between members of the University community and the broader community.

“Students and faculty explore these issues in the classroom, but it is an internal conversation,” Obama said. “We know that issues like juvenile justice impact the city of Chicago, this nation and — directly or indirectly — this campus. This panel gives students a chance to hear about the juvenile justice system not only on a theoretical level, but from the people who have experienced it.”

Ayers and the Obamas, together again.


McCain Finally Hits Back on Fannie and Freddie (Updated)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:51 pm


This corruption was encouraged by Democrats in Congress, and abetted by Senator Obama.

Senator Obama has accused me of opposing regulation to avert this crisis. I guess he believes if a lie is big enough and repeated often enough it will be believed. But the truth is I was the one who called at the time for tighter restrictions on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that could have helped prevent this crisis from happening in the first place.

Senator Obama was silent on the regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and his Democratic allies in Congress opposed every effort to rein them in. As recently as September of last year he said that subprime loans had been, quote, a good idea. Well, Senator Obama, that good idea has now plunged this country into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

To hear him talk now, you’d think he’d always opposed the dangerous practices at these institutions. But there is absolutely nothing in his record to suggest he did. He was surely familiar with the people who were creating this problem. The executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have advised him, and he has taken their money for his campaign. He has received more money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac than any other senator in history, with the exception of the chairman of the committee overseeing them.

It’s a good start. Here’s what’s required for the follow-through:

  • It has to be mentioned in the debate. Three times. Preferably with a memorable zinger.
  • DO NOT misstate even the TINIEST fact in making this argument. If you do, the media will fixate on that and forget everything else.
  • Don’t let it drop. We need endless TV commercials with clips of Democrats saying there is no crisis. Find the footage of McCain’s speech (if it exists) and run that too.

This is a good start — but it’s just a start. More, please.

UPDATE: P.S.: Relevant to my second bullet point, McCain ought not say that “there is absolutely nothing in his record to suggest” that Obama opposed Fannie and Freddie’s dangerous practices. Obama took the extraordinarily courageous step of writing a letter to Bernanke et al. in March 2007, complaining that the barn door had been left open and the horse was gone.

If McCain doesn’t acknowledge that (and mock it as the inconsequential fluff it was), McCain will get buried by our leftist media.

P.P.S. Now we see that McCain’s quotation of Obama’s alleged approval of sub-prime loans is taken out of context.

Mother[String of profanities deleted]ing [Still more profanities deleted]!!!!! He doesn’t have to distort any facts to make this argument. He should just give full quotes from Democrats who opposed regulation, and full quotes from his speech seeking regulation, and leave it at that.

DO NOT misstate facts or distort them, Senator. The truth is on your side. Use it!

UPDATE: The letter from Obama was March 2007, not March 2008 as I originally said. The error has been fixed.

See: that’s an example of the kind of mistake McCain can’t make!

L.A. Times Distorts the Record on Responsibility for the Mortgage Crisis

Filed under: Blogging Matters,Dog Trainer,Economics — DRJ @ 11:03 am

[Posted by DRJ for Patterico; Written by Patterico.]

The Los Angeles Times has a typically ridiculous article about who is to blame for the mortgage crisis. Not surprisingly, it includes almost every liberal claim floating around out there, and eliminates virtually every fact that might indicate Democrat inaction and Republican action.

The headline reads: In D.C., few evade blame for financial crisis. The deck headline reads:

Congress had a big hand in oversight failures and deregulation, in part through a philosophy of reducing government’s role. Rep. Waxman begins hearings today.

And the first paragraphs read:

WASHINGTON — When Congress voted last week to bail out Wall Street banks and investment houses, members were also indirectly voting to repair damage lawmakers themselves had caused during a decades-long era of deregulation.

As the blame game moves into high gear in Washington, there seem to be few winners. Already under scrutiny are lawmakers from both political parties, Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and their predecessors, and record amounts of money funneled to Congress from Wall Street and the two government-backed mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Here is the sum total of the credit given to Republicans:

But others — including Clinton — insist that members of Congress from both parties should be held accountable. The two-term leader rapped Democrats last week for “resisting efforts by Republicans in Congress and by me when I was President” to tighten regulatory and accounting standards on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Republicans are now touting the role that their presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, played in advocating stricter regulation of the mortgage giants.

You’d think you might hear more about this, but you don’t. What efforts did Republicans and Clinton pursue to tighten standards on Fannie and Freddie? Did McCain actually play a role in advocating stricter regulation — despite Obama’s and Biden’s claims that he has always been for deregulation??

We are never told. Nowhere does the paper mention John McCain’s support for regulatory legislation:

For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac…and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market…I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie and Freddie pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

So what are the specific reasons given for the crisis? First, we’re told that “[t]he influence of money from special interests — which flowed into congressional campaign coffers in huge streams — is cited by some as a prime factor.” And “Exhibit A on the use of money to court decision-makers is the record of Fannie and Freddie.”

So this is the part where we hear about the fact that Barack Obama was the second biggest recipient of donations from Fannie and Freddie from 1989 to 2008? No, that doesn’t make its way into the article; nor does the fact that McCain doesn’t even show up on the list. No, what is important is that McCain’s top campaign advisor took money from Fannie and Freddie — even though this could not possibly have affected McCain’s vote during the relevant time periods.

Instead, we are told about a Republican (Christopher Shays) who the paper says has a mixed record on supporting regulation, and a Democrat (Byron Dorgan) who supported regulation. By selecting these individuals as examples, the article manages to suggest that Democrats were champions of regulation in this area, and Republicans sought deregulation.

Nowhere are we told that Democrats took money from Fannie and Freddie and then asserted that there was no problem:

Nowhere is there a quote from Barney Frank telling us: “These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis.”


The lesson here, John McCain, is that the media is not going to make this case for you.

You have to do it yourself.

McCain & Keating, Obama & Ayers

Filed under: 2008 Election,Politics — Karl @ 4:30 am

[Posted by Karl]

The Politico’s Mark Allen reports:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Monday will launch a multimedia campaign to draw attention to the involvement of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the “Keating Five” savings-and-loan scandal of 1989-91, which blemished McCain’s public image and set him on his course as a self-styled reformer.

This attack is ostensibly in retaliation for McCain’s “guilt-by-association” tactics, presumably Sarah Palin reminding voters of Obama’s longtime association with unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.

The McCain campaign ought to use Obama’s attack as an opportunity to educate. 

In the Keating Five case, Senate Ethics Committee Special Counsel Bill Bob Bennett, who did the preliminary investigation of the matter, recommended that no further action be taken against  McCain:

This was perhaps the first time the recommendation of a special counsel not to charge a senator was rejected. This was pure politics as the Democrats on the committee did not want to cut McCain loose so that only Democrats would remain in the proceedings.

Ultimately, the committee found that McCain’s actions were not improper.  Indeed, McCain took no action on Keating’s behalf after regulators said they intended to recommend a criminal investigation of Keating and his savings and loan.

In contrast, Obama has always known that Bill Ayers is an unrepentant domestic terrorist and chose to work with him anyway.  Other “progressives” have chosen to avoid the association.  Thus, while Obama’s website once openly defended Ayers and his equally radical wife Bernadine Dohrn, the site later underwent some creative rewriting.  Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod lied to the press about the Obama-Ayers relationship. Obama lied about it in an nationally-televised debate in Pennsylvania.  Even the New York Times whitewash of their relationship admits that Obama “has played down his contacts” with Ayers.  What Obama has not done is express any disagreement with the underlying hard Left agenda Ayers continues to pursue to this day.

Rather than an official representing a constituent (as was the case with McCain and Keating), Obama chose to chair a $150 million effort spearheaded by Ayers on the important issue of public education, which funded “awful” projects and “had little impact on student outcomes.”  Given that Obama’s work on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) was Obama’s biggest executive experience and biggest attempt at reform, the releationship — and the failure of the project — should be newsworthy even if Ayers had not been involved in bombing the Pentagon.  That Ayers would like to transform the public schools into revolutionary indoctrination centers and used the CAC to advance that agenda also seems newsworthy.  Indeed, Obama touted the effort as a qualification in running for Congress.

Nor was education the only issue on which Obama and Ayers were allies, as Stanley Kurtz notes in deconstructing the NYT’s apologia:

Obama was perfectly aware of Ayers’ radical views, since he read and publically endorsed, without qualification, Ayers’ book on juvenile crime. That book is quite radical, expressing doubts about whether we ought to have a prison system at all, comparing America to South Africa’s apartheid system, and contemptuously dismissing the idea of the United States as a kind or just country. Shane mentions the book endorsement, yet says nothing about the book’s actual content. Nor does Shane mention the panel about Ayers’ book, on which Obama spoke as part of a joint Ayers-Obama effort to sink the 1998 Illinois juvenile crime bill [or mention Michelle Obama’s involvement in setting up the panel. – K] . Again, we have unmistakable evidence of a substantial political working relationship.

Of course, this contemptuous view of the United States could also be heard regularly at the church to which Obama belonged for 20 years and left only when it threatened his presidential campaign.  It is the sort of viewpoint Obama has sought out his entire adult life.

Thus, on the one hand, we have McCain representing a constituent, stopping when he heard Keating might have engaged in wrongdoing, being found to have done nothing improper, yet devoting his career to the cause of reform because he believed he had been made to look less than honorable. 

On the other hand, we have Obama knowingly embracing unrepentant domestic terrorists like Ayers and Dohrn and working to advance their political agendas as part of a lifelong pattern of seeking to associate with the hard Left in the US.

The Politico reports what Obama hopes to achieve with the Keating attack:

The Obama campaign, including its surrogates appearing on radio and television, will argue that the deregulatory fervor that caused massive, cascading savings-and-loan collapses in the late ‘80s was pursued by McCain throughout his career, and helped cause the current credit crisis.

To push this argument, Obama has to ignore that: (1) banking deregulation was not a primary cause of the current problem, was supported by Democratic leadership, and lessened the current turmoil by permitting the takeovers of Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch; (2) McCain supported tighter regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (and that such was not the only instance where McCain supported tighter regulation of financial markets); and (3) Democrats in general and Obama in particular get much more money from Wall Street.

If the McCain campaign is unable to point out Obama’s dishonesty — not only about his lifetime of hard Left associates, but also about the current economic situation — he will deserve to lose the election.

Update: HotAir-lanche!


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