Sunday, January 27, 2013

What He Really Said..

The AP has a strange summary story on the wires this morning about an interview the president gave to The New Republic. Here's the general premise:
President Barack Obama says gun-control advocates should be better listeners in the debate over firearms in America.
That's the overtone--Obama reaching out to his own zealots. And oh yeah, he's fired a gun before.  Most outlets are printing this summary, except Fox, who added more.

But what really happened?  Well, the entire interview is available on TNR website. It's title is "Barack Obama is not Pleased".  Sound strange?  Not when the article is read.  Here are a few excerpts...

On the GOP House victory:
That does not mean that you don't have some real big differences. The House Republican majority is made up mostly of members who are in sharply gerrymandered districts that are very safely Republican and may not feel compelled to pay attention to broad-based public opinion, because what they're really concerned about is the opinions of their specific Republican constituencies. There are going to be a whole bunch of initiatives where I can get more than fifty percent support of the country, but I can't get enough votes out of the House of Representatives to actually get something passed.
On Boehner and McConnell versus the Tea Party, versus Reid, Pelosi and the president:
I think John Boehner genuinely wanted to get a deal done, but it was hard to do in part because his caucus is more conservative probably than most Republican leaders are, and partly because he is vulnerable to attack for compromising Republican principles and working with Obama. The same dynamic happens on the Democratic side. I think the difference is just that the more left-leaning media outlets recognize that compromise is not a dirty word. And I think at least leaders like myself—and I include Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in this—are willing to buck the more absolutist-wing elements in our party to try to get stuff done.
Interestingly, Fox News was perhaps the only major news outlet to include the last quote (most outlets just printed the AP summary, which pretended the divisiveness wasn't in there), but Fox removed "leaders like myself" from their extended summary.

Here's a question about 'getting along with the other side' and apportioning blame:
And I want to be very clear here that Democrats, we've got a lot of warts, and some of the bad habits here in Washington when it comes to lobbyists and money and access really goes to the political system generally. It's not unique to one party. But when it comes to certain positions on issues, when it comes to trying to do what's best for the country, when it comes to really trying to make decisions based on fact as opposed to ideology, when it comes to being willing to compromise, the Democrats, not just here in this White House, but I would say in Congress also, have shown themselves consistently to be willing to do tough things even when it's not convenient, because it's the right thing to do. And we haven't seen that same kind of attitude on the other side.
Until Republicans feel that there's a real price to pay for them just saying no and being obstructionist, you'll probably see at least a number of them arguing that we should keep on doing it. It worked for them in the 2010 election cycle, and I think there are those who believe that it can work again. I disagree with them, and I think the cost to the country has been enormous.
Doesn't sound very bi-partisan. Finally, the bit about Obama and skeet-shooting, bringing to mind visions of Teddy Roosevelt. Here's how TNR actually reported it:
Have you ever fired a gun?
Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time.
The whole family?
Not the girls, but oftentimes guests of mine go up there. And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake.
Carefully notice he really didn't say "he" fires guns, he said "we". That's why TNR asked about the kids, to which he replied "guests". Vague enough to do the trick.  Perhaps that was the only headline in the interview, though.  Most of it was garden variety Obama. 

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