But three Democratic sources said Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina singled out the White House’s initial response to the incident for praise in the regular 8:30 a.m. staff meeting Tuesday morning. The sources differed on the substance of Messina’s praise, but concurred that he had praised the speed of White House communications in response to the flap, which was driven by a misleadingly-edited video posted to Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government website. … But two other senior officials present at the meeting, who responded to a call to the White House press office, said the gist of Messina’s words had been conveyed to POLITICO inaccurately, and that Messina — a top political operative and senior manager — was merely speaking in his capacity as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and “cheerleader” to boost staffers’ morale. – In meeting, Messina praised Sherrod handling
The White House press briefing today was surreal. Robert Gibbs stated that Sect. Vilsack is trying to reach Ms. Sherrod to apologize and he will discuss her job as well. He didn’t say what Pres. Obama knew when the whole situation blew up while Messina was giving high fives to staffers for their “speed.” Obama has not spoken to Sect. Vilsack about the Sherrod case. Gibbs did say Obama said “a disservice had been done.” Gibbs finally saying that “based on incomplete information the White House was supportive” of Sherrod being sacked. Gibbs finally mentioned “2.5 minutes really 43,” but rightly didn’t give Breitbart any oxygen; also noting that media were screaming for comment, with many not doing their jobs either, which is a fair point. Painful to watch and I don’t know about you, but I’m underwhelmed.
Hearing Shirley Sherrod talk about being “harassed” by administration officials, including USDA’s Cheryl Cook, who said Sherrod had to go because it was “going to be on Glenn Beck,” all while driving, until that third call that came with a demand for her to pull over, where her resignation was forced, makes your blood boil. When you hear that the Obama administration didn’t bother to get her side of the story, even after she informed the person at USDA she was talking to there was more to it, the whole thing reeks of amateur hour political and how fast can we kill this thing? panic. Instead, the Obama team has given this story not only legs, but stilts.
Now, there’s some discrepancy on exactly what Messina said in Ben Smith’s piece above, but what isn’t in question is Messina praising “the speed of White House communications in response to the flap.”
The speed is exactly what was wrong with the White House communication team’s response. Rush to judgment is such an overused phrase, but it’s the beginning of this story.
Frankly, the other distasteful aspect is the high school “cheerleader” role of Messina to “boost staffers’ morale” at a time when a woman’s reputation was being ruined and her life turned inside out.
Let’s also hope the latest information, however unclear in some respects, will shut up the Obamaphiles I’m hearing from who keep writing that the White House wasn’t involved at all. As Jason Linkins writes today on Huffington Post, last time I looked Sect. Vilsack was in the administration, to which I’ll add he takes marching orders from someone inside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, especially on a story this politically charged.
Ms. Sherrod’s sacking is just the latest under the bus tactic from the Obama team.
Any notion that Pres. Obama and his team are geniuses and they’re only interested in substance, while not being concerned about beating the cable news cycle, which includes when they don’t have the facts and their collective head is up their White House posterior, should be forever disabused.
It’s not often Glenn Beck gets to school Democrats on class and race relations, and you can bet he and Fox News are delighted.