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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Behind The Scenes Of 'The Obama Show'

Dana Milbank's, via Wapo, gets snarky in calling the press conference where Barack Obama prearranged questioning with a Huffington Post writer and evidently got a little "testy" with reporters that asked legitimate questions that were not prearranged, "The Obama Show."

In his first daytime news conference yesterday, President Obama preempted "All My Children," "Days of Our Lives" and "The Young and the Restless." But the soap viewers shouldn't have been disappointed: The president had arranged some prepackaged entertainment for them.

After the obligatory first question from the Associated Press, Obama treated the overflowing White House briefing room to a surprise. "I know Nico Pitney is here from the Huffington Post," he announced.

Obama knew this because White House aides had called Pitney the day before to invite him, and they had escorted him into the room. They told him the president was likely to call on him, with the understanding that he would ask a question about Iran that had been submitted online by an Iranian. "I know that there may actually be questions from people in Iran who are communicating through the Internet," Obama went on. "Do you have a question?"

Pitney recognized his prompt. "That's right," he said, standing in the aisle and wearing a temporary White House press pass. "I wanted to use this opportunity to ask you a question directly from an Iranian."

Pitney asked his arranged question. Reporters looked at one another in amazement at the stagecraft they were witnessing. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel grinned at the surprised TV correspondents in the first row.

Liberals used to speculate, with outrage, about Bush planting prearranged questions at pressers, but Obama takes the speculation away by just doing it blatantly.

While the Suntimes and CBS as well as others, make sure to mention this little tidbit, TPM compiles some of Obama's answers to the questions that were not prearranged.... I don't see he was overly testy and TPM neglected to add the answer to the smoking question to which others are saying was a snotty answer, but here is the video anyway.

Weekly Standard though, keeps their eye on the ball and takes a deeper look into behind the scenes of the Obama Show:

Less than 24 hours after Barack Obama's strongest statement on Iran, three new stories underscore his administration's fundamentally weak approach to the terrorist regime and offer hints as to why he has been so eager to engage the mullahs. First, a Washington Times article by former USA Today reporter Barbara Slavin reveals that the Obama administration sent a letter directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in early May. According to the report, the letter laid out the administration's desire for "cooperation and bilateral relations."


Now comes a blockbuster story from National Review's Andy McCarthy. He writes:

Even as the mullahs are terrorizing the Iranian people, the Obama administration is negotiating with an Iranian-backed terrorist organization and abandoning the American proscription against exchanging terrorist prisoners for hostages kidnapped by terrorists. Worse still, Obama has already released a terrorist responsible for the brutal murders of five American soldiers in exchange for the remains of two deceased British hostages.

Here's what happened:

About two weeks ago, the Obama administration released Laith Qazali after extensive negotiations with the Asaib al-Haq terror network. That network has long been in negotiations with the fledgling Iraqi government, dangling the possibility of laying down its arms, renouncing violence, and integrating into Iraqi society, provided that its top members — particularly Qais and Laith Qazali, as well as Ali Mussa Daqduq — be released. Realizing, however, that these terrorists were responsible for kidnapping and killing American soldiers in gross violation of the laws of war, the Bush administration had declined to release them.

The Obama administration has not only released Laith Qazali, it has been in negotiations to release his brother, Qais Qazali, as well. The negotiations and release were carried out in flagrant disregard of the longstanding policy against exchanging prisoners for the release of hostages. Undermining that policy endangers all American troops and civilian personnel — as well as the troops and civilian personnel of our allies — by encouraging terrorists to kidnap them to use as bargaining chips.

Surely the most transparent administration in history will release the letter sent to Khamenei, no? And surely they will explain the release of terrorists responsible for killing American soldiers, right?

Read the whole thing and make sure you follow the links.

On the streets of Iran, Iranian Mullahs, the clerics, have joined in with the protesters on the street.

In a blatant act of defiance, a group of Mullahs took to the streets of Tehran, to protest election results that returned incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.

While Obama is finally using stronger language to condemn the violence against the protesters in Iran, it seems to be too little, too late as the Iranian regime step up their actions against protesters on Weds.

Security forces wielding clubs and firing weapons beat back demonstrators who flocked to a Tehran square Wednesday to continue protests, with one witness saying security forces beat people like "animals."

At least two sources described wild and violent conditions at a part of Tehran where protesters had planned to demonstrate.

"They were waiting for us," the source said. "They all have guns and riot uniforms. It was like a mouse trap."

"I see many people with broken arms, legs, heads -- blood everywhere -- pepper gas like war," the source said.

About "500 thugs" with clubs came out of a mosque and attacked people in the square, another source said.

The security forces were "beating women madly" and "killing people like hell," the source said.

"They beat up a woman so bad, she was all bloody," the source said in a description that underscores the growing and central role of women in the uprising.

That same CNN article brings news that Iran has also arrested some British foreign nationals.

Iranian authorities said they have arrested several foreign nationals, some with British passports, in connection with the country's post-election unrest.

Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ezhei said some with links to the West and Israel had planned a series of bombings in Iran ahead of the June 12 election, the government-funded Press TV reported Wednesday.

"England is among the countries that fan the flames with their heavy propaganda, which is against all diplomatic norms," Mohseni-Ezhei was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency. "And the BBC Farsi has also played a major role. Also, a number of people carrying British passports have played a role in the recent disturbances."

The British Foreign Office said it was looking into the claims.

"We have seen reports of the arrest of British nationals in Iran," the foreign office said. "Consular colleagues and the embassy in Tehran are making inquiries."

To top of the "audacity" of the Iranian regime, they are claiming the cold blooded murder of Neda, which was caught on video and been show across the globe... was a "mistake."

Keep your eye on Twitter feed #Iranelection, where Iranians, mostly using proxies are risking their lives to post news, pictures and videos, so the world can see their struggle for freedom.