After two months of dodging serious reporters ??? a state of affairs the White House press corps was growing increasingly unhappy with ??? President Obama finally popped in for a very short, completely unannounced appearance at the White House press briefing on Monday. It remains to be seen whether the press pool will feel any resentment about getting ambushed this way, instead of being given a fair chance to ask the President questions at a scheduled event. The reporters at today???s presser didn???t seem too upset, since they were happy to lob him a softball question about embattled Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin right off the bat.
Things got a bit more interesting when Obama was asked about the negative tone and dishonorable behavior of his re-election team. Naturally, he denied the dark and divisive campaign he???s been running, feigning surprise that anyone would see it that way. He was even willing to graciously allow that ???I don???t think Governor Romney was somehow responsible for the death of that woman,??? in reference to the disgusting ad produced by the Priorities USA Super PAC, which implicated Romney in the cancer death of steelworker Joe Soptic???s wife.
But the President also saw fit to flat-out lie to the American people when he said, ???Nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon.??? In truth, Obama???s campaign staff ??? not an allied Super PAC ??? has made precisely this allegation, and they???re on tape doing it. Deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said in a July conference call, ???Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people, to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments.???
As noted by the Washington Examiner, Obama himself refused to answer a direct question about whether the Justice Department should launch a criminal investigation of Romney for these allegedly ???false??? SEC filings. It was a classic challenge for Obama to put his money where his mouth is, and of course he tried to have it both ways ??? he wouldn???t formally confirm that he suspected Romney of felony offenses, but he was also unwilling to retract the smear. His exact response was, ???I think that the issue here is simply for Mr. Romney to talk about his business background in a way that jives with the facts.???
This was all part of a now-obsolete distraction from the President???s horrific record, when they tried building off a musty Boston Globe article to suggest that Romney was secretly running Bain Capital long after his formal departure to manage the Salt Lake City Olympics in 1999. This point was important to the Obama team because they had based much of their re-election campaign on criticism of Romney???s decisions as a Bain executive??? only to discover that many of the decisions they were howling about were actually made by other executives ??? among them a top Obama donor ??? after Romney left Bain Capital. This would include the decision to close the steel company Joe Soptic used to work for.
So, in order to keep their silly ???War on Venture Capitalism??? attacks floating, the Obama team had to convince voters that Romney didn???t actually relinquish operational control at Bain when he departed for those 100-hour weeks he spent rescuing the Winter Olympics. The whole thing was absurd, and mercilessly shot down by ???fact checkers,??? including some who are generally quite willing to extend copious benefits of the doubt to Obama.
It???s weird to discuss the ???Romney lied to the SEC??? narrative as ancient history, since it???s only a couple of months old, but there have been a lot of Obama distractions since then. This is a campaign playing out in dog years, where one month can seem like an eternity. Obama???s all-amnesia, all-the-time campaign has reached absurd depths if the President really believes nobody in America remembers what he, and his top campaign officials, were saying just six weeks ago.