Obama: The Buck Stops Over There

What placard will sit on the Oval Office desk of President Obama? "The Buck Stops at the OEOB"?In June we took a look  at all the campaign activities that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., publicly blamed on his staff. Of his staff trying to link Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., to outsourcing with a crudely rendered bit of oppo, he said, "It was a screw-up on the part of our research team. It wasn't anything I had seen or my senior staff had seen."In February, after Obama contributor David Geffen slammed Bill and Hillary Clinton in Maureen Down's New York Times column, the Clinton campaign demanded that Obama return money Geffen had raised for them. Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said, "We aren’t going to get in the middle of a disagreement between the Clintons and someone who was once one of their biggest supporters. It is ironic that the Clintons had no problem with David Geffen when was raising them $18 million and sleeping at their invitation in the Lincoln bedroom."Obama later distanced himself from that comment, telling reporters he had been flying from Los Angeles to Iowa during the whole dustup and that, "I told my staff that I don't want us to be a party to these kinds of distractions because I want to make sure that we’re spending time talking about issues. My preference going forward is that we have to be careful not to slip into playing the game as it customarily is played." In May, Obama blamed staffers for his missing an event with firefighters in New Hampshire. "I have to tell you, I wish I was there," Obama said over a speakerphone. "My staff had already scheduled some things and they couldn't wiggle out if it. They heard from me a little bit because I wasn't happy I couldn't be there personally."The trend continues today.After the Politico raised questions about questionnaire Obama filled out in 1996, Obama supporter Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wa., took to Tucker Carlson's MSNBC Show to say, "He didn't fill it out and he did not support those positions then . . . That was a questionnaire filled out in his first state Senate campaign back in 1996 not by Senator Obama but by somebody on his staff that didn't get it cleared."And in October, after Obama was joined on a South Carolina swing by gospel singer Donnie McClurkin who has struggled with his sexuality, and called homosexuality a "curse" that runs against "the intention of God," the Illinois senator blamed McClurkin's inclusion on...yep, that's right, you guessed it -- bad staffing.McClurkin was "obviously, not vetted to the extent that people were aware of his attitudes with respect to gay and lesbians, LGBT issues -- at least not vetted as well as I would have liked to see," Obama told The Advocate. Thankfully for his staff, over the weekend, Obama took care to distinguish between staffers looking for issue-based oppo at the Clinton Library and those who might be looking for anything more tawdry."It's been reported that members that you sent, member of your staff went to the Little Rock library to look through documents there," a reporter noted."That I can't answer, because I don't know that for certain," Obama said. "But they would not be looking for personal items. They would be looking, again, keep in mind that, this is the argument that I made earlier, Senator Clinton argues that her experience as first lady is relevant, that means we should, and what I said publicly was, if you're saying that this is your relevant experience, we should know what decisions you were involved in the white house. That's part of her public function, and part of the argument she’s making publicly in terms of why she would be better president."I guess those staffers can breathe easier.For the record, I've always found Obama's staff friendly, professional and quite competent. Sorry the senator doesn't apparently share my views!-- jpt

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