Debunking the Republican claim that Obama skips a lot of his daily intelligence briefings
Republican right-wingers have long been devoted to spreading the notion that the shiftless black guy in the White House hardly ever works very hard. (Typical of his kind, right?)
They’ve peddled the falsehood that he takes more vacations than his GOP predecessors and that he’s too often involved in recreation rather than minding the store.
The latest variation on this theme is the bogus claim that he often ignores input from the government’s intelligence officials.
Dana Milbank said the other day that it’s all part of the Republican strategy of “throwing the kitchen sink” at Obama.
“But the problem with throwing the kitchen sink,” Milbank added, “is you might break a pipe — and then you’ve got a real mess.”
He cited the myth about intelligence reports as an EXAMPLE:
[T]he Republican National Committee and prominent Republicans such as Dick Cheney and John McCain threw another faulty bit of plumbing at Obama: that the president “does not attend his daily intelligence meeting” more than half the time, in contrast to George W. Bush, who “almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.” This claim was the work of former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen, who writes a weekly online column for The Washington Post.
In reality, Obama didn’t “attend” these meetings, because there were no meetings to attend: The oral briefings had been mostly replaced by daily exchanges in which Obama reads the materials and poses written questions and comments to intelligence officials. This is how it was done in the Clinton administration, before Bush decided he would prefer to read less. Bush’s results — Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and the failure to find Osama bin Laden — suggest this was not an obvious improvement.