“Brilliant” potential C-in-C blows Rockefeller’s record on the war Update: Lame spin attempt flops

posted at 7:26 am on March 3, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama effusively praised the record of Jay Rockefeller after receiving a glowing introduction from the West Virginia Senator yesterday. Rockefeller called Obama “brilliant” and talked about what a great commander-in-chief Obama would make despite having no military experience nor any time on committees than handle military affairs during Obama’s three years in the Senate. Obama then complimented Rockefeller on his vote against the war — which proves that Obama isn’t as brilliant nor as ready as Rockefeller imagined:

Obama criticized Clinton expressly for failing to read the classified National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq’s weapons capabilities, a report available at the time of her October 2002 vote authorizing the Iraq war. “She didn’t give diplomacy a chance. And to this day, she won’t even admit that her vote was a mistake – or even that it was a vote for war,” Obama said.

“When it came time to make the most important foreign policy decision of our generation the decision to invade Iraq Senator Clinton got it wrong,” Obama said.

He said that Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a fellow Democrat from neighboring West Virginia, had read the intelligence estimate as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and had voted against the war resolution.

Rockefeller, who is now chairman of that committee, endorsed Obama on Friday and campaigned with him on Saturday.

Rockefeller called Obama “brilliant” and “well grounded” and prepared to take the reins as commander in chief.

Forget being commander-in-chief — Obama couldn’t even be researcher in chief at the Senate web site. If we look at the 2002 vote on the authorization to use military force in Iraq, we see Jay Rockefeller’s name in the “yea” column, not among the nays. He cast the same exact vote as Hillary Clinton, which was to support the invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein.

In fact, Rockefeller didn’t just passively vote “yea” in the Senate. He gave a speech on October 10, 2002, prior to the vote, exhorting his colleagues to support the AUMF and the invasion of Iraq. In that speech, he made it clear that his vote would be in support of war, if it came to that:

Saddam Hussein represents a grave threat to the United States, and I have concluded we must use force to deal with him if all other means fail. That is the core issue, and whether we vote on it now, or in January, or in six months time, that is the issue we all have to confront.

War, if it comes to that, will cost money I dearly wish we could use for other domestic priorities, to address the very real needs that West Virginia and other states face in this tough economy. But ultimately, defending America’s citizens from danger is a responsibility whose costs we must bear.

How does a “brilliant” candidate make such a huge error? The very point that Obama wants to make is that his judgment is somehow superior to Hillary Clinton’s — and John McCain’s — despite having almost no experience in national office and none at all in any kind of executive leadership position. Yet here he is, trying to use Rockefeller as an example of better judgment, and it turns out that Obama couldn’t be bothered to do a minute’s worth of research first.

Is that the kind of judgment and brilliance that America can trust in a crisis? When the phone rings at 3 am in the White House, do we want the person answering it to make decisions without actually knowing what the facts are first?

Hillary Clinton’s team pointed out the error to local reporters, but don’t expect her to be able to use this. It only underscores her support for Saddam’s removal, which in a rational arena would be a point in her favor. It’s another brick for John McCain to use in the general election, if he chooses to use it as yet another example of the callowness of his likely opponent.

UPDATE: Obama’s team tried to explain that Obama meant Bob Graham, not Jay Rockefeller. However, Ben Smith has the full quote:

Now I have to say, when it came to making the most important foreign policy decision of our generation – the decision to invade Iraq – Senator Clinton got it wrong. She didn’t read the National Intelligence Estimate. Jay Rockefeller read it, but she didn’t read it. I don’t know what all that experience got her because I have enough experience to know that if you have a National Intelligence Estimate and the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee says, “You should read this, this is why I’m voting against the war,” you should read it. I don’t know how much experience you need for that.

Bob Graham, it should be noted, was the chair of the Intelligence Committee at the time.  However, it seems rather obvious that Obama meant to contrast Clinton’s and Rockefeller’s judgment, when in fact Rockefeller not only voted to authorize the war but said essentially, “You should read the NIE, and it’s why I’m voting for the war.”


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Didn’t you hear? Facts are optional when writing a piece for the AP!

…or virtually any other major print news source!

flyawaybird on March 3, 2008 at 7:34 AM

It doesn’t matter what the truth is! He gives us hope! /sarcoff

boomer on March 3, 2008 at 7:39 AM

Is this dolt really as inept as he appears? These moronic liberals would have tried to “negotiate” with Jack the Ripper right up to the second before their entrails were forcibly exposed to daylight.

That entire gaggle of Democrats (or whatever they’ve now morphed into) are frightening.

rplat on March 3, 2008 at 7:45 AM

But this is not just any hope.

This is hope for a change.

Shy Guy on March 3, 2008 at 7:46 AM

Hey, Sen Rockefeller…what ever happened to that Phase II report you were gonna put out that compared pre-war quotes about Saddam’s capabilities vs post-war finds? Remember, Sen Reid had a big political stunt where he closed the doors of the senate to complain that the Bush Admin was blocking the release? Been well over a year since Dems had the committee….
…and still no report?

I call BS to the Bush Lied mantra (ignoring of course the
“Rockefeller Memo”)

scottm on March 3, 2008 at 7:52 AM

Perhaps he hopes to change the record? Or at least the meaning of the word “yea”?

emailnuevo on March 3, 2008 at 7:54 AM

Maybe ‘history’ is another of the Changes that Obama will make sure of? Or accuracy?

localmalcontent on March 3, 2008 at 7:55 AM

Lets see,Obama likes Rockefeller.
Rockefeller likes Obama.

Obama praises Rockefeller for voting no,
but in reality voted yes,and uppes the ante,with a speech!

And Rockefeller thinks obama is “Brilliant” even tho,
Obama has no experience in the military,or cub scouts,
or for that matter played war as a kid!

UM,this is curious and perplexing at the same time!

canopfor on March 3, 2008 at 7:57 AM

So Sen. Rockefeller read the NIE and voted for the war? But, but, Obama said you could not do both, I must not lose hope.

Gwillie on March 3, 2008 at 7:58 AM

How does a “brilliant” candidate make such a huge error?

Because he’s BRILLIANT!!! Just BRILLIANT!!
Oh, and a socialist. But so is McCain. So aren’t we really ewedscray?

RWLA on March 3, 2008 at 8:01 AM

So what if B.O. can’t get his facts straight! He offers us hope! And hope is what we need right now, not hoping that facts he gives are accurate. But then again, we should hope that he gets his facts straight, though he offers hope that he hopes we hope he knows he needs to get his facts straight. So here is hoping on hoping that we hope that he hopes that we hope we know he will somehow hope to get his facts straight. Because we all need hope right now and we know he hopes that we hope that we hope he will offer us the hope we need.

Of course, he could also learn to keep his big fat flapping trap shut when he knows he doesn’t know what the heck he is taking about.

pilamaye on March 3, 2008 at 8:02 AM

Is this dolt really as inept as he appears?
rplat on March 3, 2008 at 7:45 AM

Yes, he is. But the AP isn’t. They left that out on purpose and, it appears that Rockefeller himself didn’t bother to correct Obama.

logis on March 3, 2008 at 8:02 AM

Sorta punches a hole in that “experience doesn’t matter as much as all the smart people a candidate/President surrounds themselves with” theory.

highhopes on March 3, 2008 at 8:08 AM

So here is hoping on hoping that we hope that he hopes that we hope we know he will somehow hope to get his facts straight.

Actually, he’s hoping that the entire electorate is as dumb as a rock and will believe the absurd nonsense that flows from his mouth.

rplat on March 3, 2008 at 8:09 AM

Empty suit anyone?

rightside on March 3, 2008 at 8:12 AM

Don’t worry. Outside of a few blogs, this will be reported no where.

Queasy on March 3, 2008 at 8:13 AM

Yes, he is. But the AP isn’t. They left that out on purpose and, it appears that Rockefeller himself didn’t bother to correct Obama.

logis on March 3, 2008 at 8:02 AM

Exactly! How the hell does the AP leave that out? That’s really unbelievable to me. Maybe I’m naive.

Dash on March 3, 2008 at 8:13 AM

We’re broken. That is the story here. Obama flubbed it up, sure, but the underlying story is about the electorate. We have had 5 years of facts and figures and the public still laps this garbage up.

Only one in a thousand of us go beyond the headline, and probably only one in ten thousand fact check anything the politicians, the MSM, or authors say. The public is happy to ‘Jay-walk’ through the 21st century.

Limerick on March 3, 2008 at 8:14 AM

Just as in left wing academia, it doesn’t matter if something is true or not, just as long as you want it to be “true in a larger sense.”

rbj on March 3, 2008 at 8:17 AM

History always begins this morning for liberals.
Ann Coulter

Buy Danish on March 3, 2008 at 8:20 AM

Here’s the words of another big Obama supporter:

“Those who doubted whether Iraq or the world would be
better off without Saddam Hussein, and those who believe
today that we are not safer with his capture, don’t have
the judgment to be President,or the credibility to be elected President.

No one can doubt or should doubt that we are safer- and
Iraq is better- because Saddam Hussein is now behind bars.”

Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts)
Speech at Drake University in Iowa
Dec. 16, 2003

Seems a lot of Obama’s supporters made this supposed
“worst foreign policy decision of our generation.”

If going to war in Iraq is so wrong, why does Obama stand
on stage holding their hands in the air singing their praises?

I wonder if Kerry still stands by these remarks or is it
another,”your not smart enough to understand what I was really trying to say.”,or,”I was for the war before I was
against it statement.”

These liberals are so full of it,they can’t even keep their hypocrisy straight.

Baxter Greene on March 3, 2008 at 8:20 AM

But this is not just any hope.

This is hope for a change.

Shy Guy on March 3, 2008 at 7:46 AM

‘Cause, weally and for twue, Obama is about CHANGE! of this nation to HOPE! and HOPE! of CHANGE!, and the HOPE! of a highly socialist-oriented government to reduce my salary to nothing but CHANGE! and the CHANGE! of despair in the World to HOPE! that AmeriKKKa will be reduced to a paper tiger, for a CHANGE! After all, Al-Quaeda certainly HOPE!s for us to CHANGE! in this manner, and MINISTER FARRAKHAN in a totally unsolicited way thinks that B. HUSSEIN Obama is the HOPE! of the World for CHANGE! BTW This is B. HUSSEIN Obama’s only accomplishment that I can think of…

I’m a “life-long” small-government Republican who is dying for a National Health Service, and I approved this MSM-approved message for HOPE! and CHANGE!’s sake…

/Sarc to “Off” position

Why do I get the feeling that this election may be easier than I first feared?

dmh0667 on March 3, 2008 at 8:25 AM

Limerick on March 3, 2008 at 8:14 AM

I don’t think so. I simply refuse to believe that Americans are dumb enough to elect Obama. Maybe I’m naive.

amkun on March 3, 2008 at 8:34 AM

As in all elections, we, hopefully, vote for the lesser of 2 evils.

marlin007 on March 3, 2008 at 8:36 AM

Actually, he’s hoping that the entire electorate is as dumb as a rock and will believe the absurd nonsense that flows from his mouth.

rplat on March 3, 2008 at 8:09 AM

And he’s right! See, he is brilliant!

OldEnglish on March 3, 2008 at 8:37 AM

Obama didn’t even mention all the “hope” and “change” STANDARD OIL brought to Americans in the past. hmmm

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 3, 2008 at 8:38 AM

I have hope too. I hope that this ignorant, over-hyped tool doesn’t get anywhere near the White House. This guy may turn out to be the most overrated politician in history.

Ready on Day One . . . ready to screw over this country like no other President before him has ever done.

AZCoyote on March 3, 2008 at 8:54 AM

Obama needs to reject and denounce warmonger Rockefeller.

ninjapirate on March 3, 2008 at 8:58 AM

There’s a nice campaign ad right there…

D2Boston on March 3, 2008 at 8:59 AM

Just another brilliant obamboozle.

dragondrop on March 3, 2008 at 9:01 AM

Gee, I wonder if Jay ROCKEFELLER worries if the little guy on the street has “hope”.

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 3, 2008 at 9:02 AM

I hate the word brilliant. It has replaced genius as the most over used adjective by lefties to describe themselves. Barf.

Blake on March 3, 2008 at 9:14 AM

The truth is situational in Obamaland.

benrand on March 3, 2008 at 9:21 AM

Actually, he’s hoping that the entire electorate is as dumb as a rock and will believe the absurd nonsense that flows from his mouth.

At least his base within the electorate. His audience is dumber than a box of rocks. But let us not dismiss this. By definition, one half of the population MUST be on the left hand side of the bell curve.

SunSword on March 3, 2008 at 9:22 AM

Good catch HA!

Excellent research. ;-)

Yakko77 on March 3, 2008 at 9:33 AM

… nor any time on committees than handle military affairs …

I’ve got an offer for HotAir that really deserves consideration. For a modest six-figure salary, I will make myself available for most of 15 hours a day to spell-check and edit your posts, prior to publication.

To sweeten the pot for you, the HotAir family, I will further agree to stop posting my own idiotic comments and stop hitting on Michelle, the equivalent of the full Ginsu Knives offer.

You have my number.

Jaibones on March 3, 2008 at 9:34 AM

It’s been well established in the Obama camp that what he actually says matters not at all. The MSM never calls him on anything, and his disciples and crowds of worshippers simply accept whatever he says as gospel. Facts be damned, the Messiah said it is so and therefore it is so. And it just sounds so purrrrty when he says it.
We’ll see if the non Kool Aid drinkers choose to care a little more in the general election.

Sugar Land on March 3, 2008 at 9:35 AM

Here’s an excerpt from an October 2002 Rockefeller speech on the Senate floor, not mentioned by Johnston: “There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. And that may happen sooner if he can obtain access to enriched uranium from foreign sources–something that is not that difficult in the current world. We should also remember that we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction….He is working to develop delivery systems like missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles that could bring these deadly weapons against U.S. forces and U.S. facilities in the Middle East.”

Thank you, Jay Rockefeller, who spoke those words on October 9, 2002, in explanation of his vote to “authorize the use of force if necessary.”

davidk on March 3, 2008 at 9:38 AM

O-BOOBOO.

Obama’s new name.

profitsbeard on March 3, 2008 at 9:41 AM

Exactly! How the hell does the AP leave that out? That’s really unbelievable to me. Maybe I’m naive.

Dash on March 3, 2008 at 8:13 AM

Me, too. With Obama, a professional liar, it’s a given. With the Associated (with terrorists) Press, it’s journalistic malfeasance.

Jaibones on March 3, 2008 at 9:44 AM

why would we want to confuse Obama with the facts now? He is on such a roll! I love his flop/flop on Iraq which he denies. At least when Romney flipped he admitted it.

jimbo2008 on March 3, 2008 at 10:00 AM

“Change”

Out with the old, stuffy facts, and in with “change”. Experience means failure, just look at Hilary. We need a candidate that is first generation from a savage, war-torn country. He needs no baggage, except association with the oppressed people of color based on his skin. Experience is self evident. Barack (censored) Obama is change!!!!!!!

“He is, What it is.”

Hening on March 3, 2008 at 10:07 AM

The words “Bob Graham” and “Jay Rockefeller” sound very much alike… LOL

D2Boston on March 3, 2008 at 10:07 AM

jimbo2008 on March 3, 2008 at 10:00 AM

Not only has the MSM studiously ignored Obama’s contradictory statements about the war, but they skewered Bill Clinton when he accurately characterized Obama’s allegedly “consistent” opposition to the war as a “fairy tale.”

AZCoyote on March 3, 2008 at 10:15 AM

It’s been well established in the Obama camp that what he actually says matters not at all.

Sugar Land on March 3, 2008 at 9:35 AM

This is a discovery that is actually making me depressed. For days I’ve been watching these ‘undecided’ focus groups, where 90% of these people are admitting on national television that they don’t care that BO is misquoting, twisting, misrepresenting, lying and showing, in some cases, his complete ignorance of so many things. They are admitting on national television that they are leaning toward him because he sounds and looks good!!!
I don’t know that I can continue to live happily knowing that so many of my fellow Americans are so incredibly stupid and SHALLOW. I think I’ll stick my head back in the sand, where it’s been for the last several years. Come out to vote. Then back in the sand.

shibumiglass on March 3, 2008 at 10:27 AM

Be nice. Obama can’t be responsible for everything anything he says.

TooTall on March 3, 2008 at 10:28 AM

Irony: At the time, Graham said that he voted against authorization because he thought that the resolution didn’t go far enough — that we should have also been going after Syria and Iran.

I don’t have a cite, but maybe someone with better Google skills can find it?

SWLiP on March 3, 2008 at 10:44 AM

OBAMA=totally empty suit!!

sharinlite on March 3, 2008 at 11:03 AM

So she “got it wrong” but he’s happy to accept the endorsement of another person who “got it wrong”?

Right.

drjohn on March 3, 2008 at 11:08 AM

“It’s another brick for John McCain to use in the general election, if he chooses to use it”…or, if he is allowed to use it. Both the DNC and RNC would call it mean-spirited to bring up the truth. Aye, there’s the rub…

Christine on March 3, 2008 at 11:15 AM

HA HA!

baldilocks on March 3, 2008 at 11:20 AM

Rockefeller was the only guy in Washington who said, without qualification or caveat, that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat. No one in the Bush administration said this, only Rockefeller. Way to find yourself a buddy there, Mohama.

Seixon on March 3, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Rockefeller: Saddam Barak Hussein Obama represents a grave threat to the United States, and I have concluded we must use force to deal with him if all other means fail. That is the core issue, and whether we vote on it now, or in January, or in six months time, that is the issue we all have to confront.

Fixed it

WoosterOh on March 3, 2008 at 12:19 PM

Hey BO. If Senator Rockefeller had opposed the war, there would have been no need for the Rockefeller Memo.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,102206,00.html

OUTRAGEOUS, to even allege that Democrats would politicize Iraq war intelligence?

Didn’t need no welfare state, everybody pulled his weight,

Those were the days . . . : ))

Angry Dumbo on March 3, 2008 at 2:04 PM

Obama’s lies are HOPEful lies; they are lies designed to CHANGE the way America does business. When he lies, it’s for a good and noble reason. You just don’t get the nuance. You owe him an Obamapology.

Rational Thought on March 3, 2008 at 6:48 PM