Add the fact that Obama is not displaying much transparency right now and it certainly appears possible he was fired for political reasons, at least from what's been reported to date.
But will this story get any legs? Senator Claire McCaskill says he's not following the law--HER bill (she means S-2324), which Obama co-sponsored (passed as HR-928). But the smoldering heap might actually be Walpin's very recent report on grants to the City University of New York, who's in the tank for 75 million, not a measly 400 thou. Maybe ABC News can set up their nightly news tomorrow night from the Oval Office and ask some tough questions.
As of this morning I had not found any questions posed to Robert Gibbs of the White House on this topic. Today was different. Jake Tapper (who else) got the ball rolling and Major Garrett picked it up:
Major.The letter was of course the smear job sent to Claire McCaskill last evening providing more info, essentially that Walpin was a confused, disoriented old coot. That seemed to soothe McCaskill (it must be tough going against the big guy, even for 24 hours).
Q Robert, just to follow up on Jake, was the White House unaware that it needed to inform Congress 30 days in advance about Mr. Walpin's intended firing?
MR. GIBBS: I need to look at what Ms. McCaskill said regarding that. I just don't have that with me.
Q But it's -- number one, it's the law of the land, and number two, Senator Obama voted for it. I'm just wondering if the White House was aware of that -- regardless of what Senator McCaskill said.
MR. GIBBS: Well, since the question came based on what Senator McCaskill said -- and I haven't seen that part of it -- let me, as I just stated twice, check on that.
Q Okay. The letter that was sent out last night was regarded by Mr. Walpin as "a total lie." And -- that's what he told us -- and he said it was unnecessarily personal and accusatory. And I wonder if you felt there was anything the White House wanted to say about that letter and the contents thereof in response to that?
MR. GIBBS: Well, again, I think this was -- let me read the first sentence of the second paragraph. "Mr. Walpin was removed after a review was unanimously requested by the bipartisan board of the Corporation." These were views that were held by many people as part of that board, and certainly the administration stands behind what's in the letter.
Q Following up on that, why not leave it at that and why did the White House feel it necessary to say he was disoriented and confused?
MR. GIBBS: Well, I have occasion to watch FOX every now and again, and I think there have been commentators that surmised that maybe we needed to be more specific about the reasons. I think members of Congress have asked for that, and I think it's detailed in the letter.
And surely the "Fox" commentator Gibbs referred to was Glenn Beck, who had Walpin on recently and had him back tonight to perform a standard govt senility test, which Walpin of course passed with flying colors. At the end Beck asked him if he thought he'd 'win' this fight with Obama, to which he replied 'probably not'--even more proof of his lucidity and his grip on sanity. Funny how speaking truth to power has gone out of fashion.