Michelle Obama event “creeps out” veteran reporter

Meg Kissinger, a veteran reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, was assigned to cover Michelle Obama’s speech in Milwaukee on behalf of Mary Burke, the Democratic candidate for governor of Wisconsin. As she has done for the past 35 years, Kissinger tried to talk to people in the crowd.

She was not allowed to do so. Kissinger stated on her Facebook page:

Assigned to cover Michelle Obama’s speech today and was told by a Mary Burke aide and one for the White House that I could not speak to the people in the crowd.

To say that I was creeped out is an understatement. This is what reporters do in America: we speak to people. At least that’s how I’ve been doing things — at all kinds of political events — since 1979.

In her story for the newspaper, Kissinger reported that, initially, there weren’t enough chairs for everyone in attendance and that an elderly woman using two canes complained that she couldn’t find a place to sit.

Is this why the Burke and Obama staffs didn’t want reporters talking to the crowd?

It doesn’t matter. This isn’t Gaza. In America, as Kissinger says, the political class has never been able to tell reporters with whom they can talk.

It is creepy, indeed, that Team Obama’s efforts to “transform” America apparently extends to limiting press access to the American public.

Via The Blaze.

Mary’s Prayer

Louisiana’s black citizens represent Mary Landrieu’s best hope for reelection to the Senate seat Landrieu holds. They are Mary’s prayer.

“I made such a big mistake when I was Mary’s prayer,” go the words of the Danny Wilson song. Bayou State Republican state senator Elbert Guillory has some powerful words for Louisiana’s black citizens in the video below. Don’t make the same mistake again!

Via Glenn Reynolds/InstaPundit.

Ain’t got time to PDB

With President Obama blaming his intelligence functionaries for his failure to anticipate the swift advances of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the intelligence community has responded in stories such as the Peter Baker/Eric Schmitt round-up yesterday in the New York Times (discussed by Paul here).

I think the fault for the ongoing catastrophes in Syria and Iraq lie with Obama’s worldview and his related action (and inaction). Nevertheless, in the context of Obama’s buck-passing, the Government Accountability Institute’s tracking of Obama’s attendance at his Presidential Daily Briefs takes on a heightened interest. The GAI has provided a timely update of Obama’s attendance to date during his first and second terms (through September 29, 2014). First term: 42.43 percent attendance rate. Second term: 41.26 attendance rate.

Pathetic.

The administration’s line is that Obama takes the PDB in writing via iPad. The PDBs have reportedly warned of the rise of ISIS since 2012, when Obama was touting the “decimation” (sic) of al Qaeda during the presidential campaign. House Intelligence Committee member Michele Bachmann made this point in her presentation to the Minnesota chapter of the RJC a week before Obama’s 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft. Breitbart’s Wynton Hall cites an administration national security staffer quoted to the same effect in the Daily Mail on Monday:

The Obama security staffer said the president’s PDBs have contained detailed threat warnings about the Islamic State dating back to before the 2012 presidential election.

“Unless someone very senior has been shredding the president’s daily briefings and telling him that the dog ate them, highly accurate predictions about ISIL have been showing up in the Oval Office since before the 2012 election,” the Obama security staffer told the Daily Mail.

Hall also recalls previous iterations of this issue:

This is not the first time questions have been raised about Obama’s lack of engagement and interest in receiving in-person daily intelligence briefings. On September 10, 2012, the GAI released a similar report showing that Obama had attended less than half (43.8%) of his daily intelligence briefings up to that point. When Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen mentioned the GAI’s findings in his column, then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dubbed the findings “hilarious.” The very next day, U.S. Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens and three American staff members were murdered in Benghazi. As Breitbart News reported at the time, the White House’s very own presidential calendar revealed Obama had not received his daily intel briefing in the five consecutive days leading up to the Benghazi attacks.

As I say, I don’t think the problem is Obama’s inattentiveness. It’s not the demands of his golf game. It’s not his incessant fundraising. It’s his worldview. But his passing the buck to the intelligence community is galling in light of his treatment of the Presidential Daily Briefs documented by the GAI.

Jen Psaki explains

The president and his flacks are talking as fast as they can to explain that the visible deterioration of our interests around the world has nothing to do do with the actions of the administration itself. This past Sunday on 60 Minutes Obama passed the buck to his intelligence functionaries for failing to foresee the swift rise of ISIS over the past two year. Now his flacks have had to dial the exculpatory sound level up to 11. We took a look at State Department spokesman Marie Harf in action here on Monday.

Harf’s State Department colleague Jen Psaki took a turn with the spin on Tuesday. Reuters State Department reporter Arshad Mohammed asked Psaki: “Is the basic point you’re trying to make that you–that the administration fully grasped the threat posed by ISIL and took aggressive and effective action to confront that threat from the beginning of the year? Is that what you’re trying to argue?”

But of course!

Mohammed asked: “If that’s the case, if your actions were so effective and so aggressive, how is it that since the beginning of the year they’ve been able to seize very large swaths of territory, by some estimates a third of Iraq and Syria?”

The answer appears was conveniently located in Psaki’s briefing book. She was prepared! Psaki repeated the administration line that U.S. “overestimated” the Iraqi army’s ability to fight ISIS, the line also peddled yesterday by White House flack Josh Earnest.

Mohammed followed up with another pointed question: “I mean, the U.S. government trained the Iraqi forces for the better part of a decade. Was that not a failure to not understand that this armed force that the U.S. government had trained at enormous taxpayer cost was not in fact capable of defending its own territory? And wasn’t that something you missed then?”

That is indeed a good question.

At the Daily Caller, a pseudonymous Defense Department official responds to this line under the name “Joseph Miller.” Miller is described as a ranking Defense Department official with a background in special operations and combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. Miller writes in response to the same line peddled yesterday by Earnest:

In 2010, General Lloyd Austin, then-commander of United State Forces in Iraq, directly informed the president that over 20,000 U.S. troops would be required to maintain the gains made by U.S. forces against al-Qaida and its affiliates, and to mentor the fledgling Iraqi security forces– because he knew they were not ready to go out on their own.

But in order for Austin’s plan to work, the United States would have to negotiate and sign a security agreement with the government of Iraq to give the U.S. legal authority to keep U.S. military forces in that country beyond December 2010. The White House claims they were forced to withdraw because then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refused to grant U.S. force serving in Iraq post 2010 immunity from Iraqi prosecution– a prerequisite for the presence of U.S. forces anywhere else in the world.

But the administration made no attempt to seriously negotiate an agreement with the Iraqis, and cited our withdrawal from Iraq as a major achievement during the 2012 elections, giving the American intelligence community the distinct feeling that the move was politically motivated. (MILLER: Obama’s Current StrategyIs Doomed To Fail)

Instead of investing any time in negotiating the agreement, the Obama administration used the Maliki regime[']s refusal to grant immunity as a political out for withdrawing all U.S. combat forces from Iraq by the end of 2010. That saw the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces and the end of Operation New Dawn, the successor to Operation Iraqi Freedom. It also saw the rise of ISIS, and brings us to where we are today.

With ISIS on the outskirts of Baghdad today, this is not solely of historical interest. Obama is compounding the mistakes of past years with his half-hearted bombing campaign:

Today, Gen. Lloyd Austin is in command of U.S. Central Command– the U.S. combatant command in charge of fighting all wars in the Middle East, Central Asia and parts of North and East Africa. From that post, he once again recommended to the president that ground forces would be required in order to achieve the White House’s goals, this time against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Once again, the president overruled his commanding general and has chosen to use air strikes alone to “destroy” a terrorist army of 30,000.

The president clearly does not think the mission is worth the cost necessary to complete it; but by pursuing his ends without authorizing the necessary means, he is dooming that mission to failure.

Miller winds up his critique with this judgment of the commander-in-chief:

The United States military and intelligence community have learned a lot over the past decade of conflict. Our commander in chief, unfortunately, has not. Since the start of his administration, President Barack Obama has ignored his generals and the intelligence community. Over the past few weeks, he has half-heartedly pursued a strategy that destines us to fail in our mission, and over the past three days, he and his White House have lied to prove otherwise. To those who wear our nation’s uniform, or serve in her intelligence community, that’s insult — and injury.

Via Washington Free Beacon.

Please Give! Please! We’re Begging You!

Today is the last day of the quarter, the final FEC deadline before November’s election. So every candidate on both sides of the aisle is bombarding potential donors with emails. I have gotten several hundred today, from both Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats are following their invariable playbook: pessimism bordering on the suicidal, until–miracle of miracles!–it turns out that they have out-raised the Republicans by $40 or $50 million, again. Which, of course, they knew would happen all along.

Today I got emails from the Democratic Party with these subject lines, among many others:

Terrible News (JUST NOW) [from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee]

we.will.fail. [from Nancy Pelosi]

no time. just read.

BEGGING [from James Carville]

URGENT BEGGING [from the DCCC]

Final Notice [DCCC]

[TRIPLE-MATCH] **Do Not Delete*

just talked to the team (bad news) [from my close personal friend Nancy Pelosi]

ALERT: ALL GIFTS MATCHED!!!

John, we’ve tried everything

I’m sorry, John [Nancy again]

begging…BEGGING

FW: D-I-R-E [Pryor for Senate]

I’m pleading (again) [Nancy (again)]

Hey [from Barack Obama, reprising the most successful email subject line of the 2012 campaign]

There were many more, but that gives you the flavor. If you didn’t know better–and most Democrats don’t–you would think the Democrats were eking out small donations and the Republicans were rolling in cash.

Republican emails don’t beg. That’s one thing in their favor. Also, they occasionally mention an actual issue, as opposed to the Koch brothers. Mostly, though, they just ask for money. I got 100 or 200 emails from Republican candidates today, but my favorite came from the fetching Elise Stefanik, one of our Picks. The genius of the email is that it comes from elise (personal). Plus, it incorporates Obama’s trademark “Hey.” How personal can you get?

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 8.34.09 PM

Miss Stefanik is indeed a worthy candidate; we encourage you to go here to make a contribution. Beyond that, all I can say is: wake me when it’s over!

In Minnesota’s 7th, Torrey Westrom

While not one of our official Picks, Torrey Westrom, the Republican candidate for the House in Minnesota’s 7th District, is more than worthy of your support. Torrey is challenging Collin Peterson, one of the most senior Democrats in Congress. Peterson has long been entrenched, but this year, he can be had. The 7th is a GOP-leaning district that consistently votes for Republican presidential candidates. Peterson has survived by posing as a conservative, but every two years he votes for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, which tells you all you need to know.

The national Republican Party is impressed with Torrey and has named him one of the party’s Young Guns. Torrey already represents around one-third of the district in Minnesota’s Senate, so he is a known commodity. He is also a very solid conservative. I caught up with him not along ago and filmed this interview, directed specifically to Power Line readers:

Westrom is a worthy candidate, who may finally give the 7th District the representation it deserves in Congress. I encourage you to give him your support by going here to donate to his campaign.

This day in baseball history — Cards move into first place

On September 30, 1964, the St. Louis Cardinals completed a three-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies. By doing so, they moved into sole possession of first place, as the Cincinnati Reds lost 1-0 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 16 innings.

The Reds-Pirates game was a classic. Jim Maloney pitched 11 innings of three-hit, shutout ball for Cincinnati. Bob Veale held the Reds in check for twelve and a third. Alvin McBean pitched out of a bases loaded one-out jam he inherited from Veale in the 13th and shut out the Reds for three more innings.

The Pirates won the game in the 16th on a Donn Clendenon double and an RBI single by Jerry May. Having been blanked by Bob Friend the previous day, Cincinnati had now failed to score against Pittsburgh in 25 innings. Prior to this series, they had won nine straight games.

While Cincinnati stumbled, St. Louis continued to fly high. They came into the series against Philadelphia riding an eight game winning streak. The Phillies had lost their last seven.

To make matters worse for the Phils, St. Louis had its starting rotation perfectly aligned. Bob Gibson (17-11), Ray Sadecki (19-10), and former Phillie Curt Simmons (17-9) all were scheduled to pitch on normal rest.

Philadelphia countered with Chris Short (17-8), Dennis Bennett (12-13), and Jim Bunning (18-7). Short and Bunning would work on only two days rest, as they had on multiple occasions down the stretch.

Gibson easily bested Short, 5-1, in the first game. This was Short’s third start in seven days. Continuing a trend that plagued them throughout their September losing streak, the Phillies went 0-7 with runners in scoring position

In the second game, Bennett, who was fighting shoulder problems, failed to make it through the second inning. Excellent relief pitching from Ed Roebuck, Art Mahaffey, John Boozer, Bobby Shantz, and Jack Baldschun kept the game close. But once again Phillies hitters couldn’t deliver in the clutch, going 1-9 on this day. 38 year-old reliever Barney Schultz slammed the door on the Phillies, as the Cards prevailed 4-2.

In the third game, Mauch turned to the drastically overworked Bunning. Art Mahaffey, coming off of back-to-back strong starts, would have been a better choice, but for the fact that Mauch had used him for one inning of relief the day before. Mauch, though, must have intended to start Bunning over Mahaffey all along. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have wasted Mahaffey the previous day.

Bunning had nothing left to give. The Cards rocked him for two runs in the second inning, two in the third, and two more in the fourth. They added two in the fourth against reliever Bobby Locke.

The Philadelphia bats didn’t come alive until the seventh inning. By then it was too late. The final score: St. Louis 8, Philadelphia 5.

The Cardinals’ sweep didn’t mathematically eliminate the Phillies. If they could win their remaining two games with Cincinnati, they would edge past the Reds. But the best they could do was tie St. Louis, and that would require the last place New York Mets to sweep the Cards.

As a practical matter, then, the race was now between St. Louis and Cincinnati. Philadelphia, seemingly shoo-ins for the pennant only ten days earlier, were reduced to the role of potential spoiler.