A tale of two videos: Obama’s two-steps

posted at 5:09 pm on June 24, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

I’m getting peppered with e-mail about two videos regarding Barack Obama, one his new ad and another that contains some home-town criticism of Obama’s first term in the Senate.  Let’s start with the second, in which the local CBS affiliate reported that Obama traveled more than any other first-term Senator on the taxpayer dime — and to some exotic locales:

A new study claims Sen. Barack Obama travels too much at the expense of taxpayers. The findings show he spent more taxpayer money on trips than any other first-term senator.

As CBS 2 Political Editor Mike Flannery reports, the world traveler is defending his globe-trotting and says he has no intention of slowing down.

Obama traveled last weekend using a privately paid for charter plane dubbed “Obama One” to carry his campaign for president to Iowa.

Now that he is running for president an earlier round of travel is under scrutiny with critics questioning why he used more taxpayer dollars than any other freshman senator to travel overseas.

In fact, Obama spent almost $10,000 more than any other freshman Senator in the 109th Congress. He racked up over $28,000 in bills for his junkets, which included stops in Israel, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Kenya, and South Africa. Obama’s office pointed to his membership on the Foreign Relations Committee, claiming that Obama did substantive work on those occasions, and that bringing his family on the trips did not make them taxpayer-funded vacations.

Obviously, Obama wanted to build a foreign-policy resume for his presidential run, which tends to argue against his scoffing at presidential aspirations, a clip included in this video above. However, given all of the travel that he did on the taxpayer dime, one has to wonder why Obama only visited Iraq once (and only in January 2006), and not a single trip to Afghanistan. Was there any foreign-relations issues bigger than Iraq and Afghanistan during his three short years in the Senate? Maybe that’s why Obama has not held a single meeting of his subcommittee to discuss American policy in Afghanistan, which is in his purview.

Next is his first general-election campaign ad which, as e-mailers note, contains a few stretches of the truth:

It’s a pleasant ad, one that maintains the high road and sounds a lot of what we like to think are American themes and displaying American values. It’s in the second half where Obama runs off the rails a bit, as several media outlets have already noted:

PolitiFact: Obama’s “third claim on veterans health benefits is less clear… Obama was not a sponsor of the bill, and without more detail we can’t confirm whether he contributed to the law…” (06/23/08)

FactCheck.org: “[F]or Obama to say that he ‘passed a law’ casts him as a legislative Lone Ranger, hogging credit that properly belongs to other parties as well.” (06/20/08)

Washington Post: “Obama sponsored or co-sponsored – but did not ‘pass’ – the welfare and tax measures but does not mention that these were in the Illinois legislature in 1997 and 2000. He sponsored congressional measures that helped hospitalized veterans, but in a relatively minor way: extending beyond 90 days the period in which they can receive free meals and free phone calls to family members. Obama may have turned down Wall Street jobs after graduating from Columbia University in 1983, but he spent a year working for Business International Corp. in New York before becoming a community organizer in Chicago, and he later joined a law firm there.” (06/20/08)

New York Times: “Mr. Obama refers to three bills that passed during his time in the Illinois Senate and in the United States Senate, and he did have a hand in passing all three. But he did not actually vote on the third bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed overwhelmingly in January.” (06/20/08)

Chicago Tribune:  “Obama ad cites bill he did not vote onWhile the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee authored provisions that ultimately made it into the law, he did not vote for its passage on Jan. 22, when he was busy campaigning in advance of the South Carolina primary.” (06/20/08)

Will any or all of this matter to the voters?  Hard to say.  The ad’s pleasant themes in the first half sets the tone well enough that most people aren’t really paying attention to what Obama’s saying in the second half.  He moved people from welfare to work?  He helped veterans?  Sounds great!

On the other hand, if the McCain campaign and the RNC keeps hammering on Obama’s half-truths and the one flat-out lie regarding the NDAA, it could help define Obama as either careless with his facts or dishonest altogether.  He has more vulnerability on the travel issue, because the American people clearly didn’t gain any advantage from almost $30,000 of his junkets.  They didn’t even prompt Obama to hold meetings on policy under his direction, let alone result in any legislative efforts or strengthening of American security.

McCain has to get out in front on this, as well as on Obama’s rather stunning reversal on public financing.  He did the latter in his national TV spot that Allahpundit featured earlier.  He needs to keep up the pressure, because from what we have seen, Obama doesn’t respond well at all to it.


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a bum running against another bum – who cares?

bill30097 on June 24, 2008 at 5:17 PM

Ed, you ignored the most important question on the Air Obama scandal, namely: Did he get to ride on Nancy Pelosi’s big luxury plane?

(Not trying to be ironic by linking to the Captain’s Quarters archive — I swear it was the first result that came up on Google … 8^)

GoHskrs on June 24, 2008 at 5:17 PM

This is NOT the Barack Obama that I have come to know during this campaign, I’m disappointed in him.

Chakra Hammer on June 24, 2008 at 5:20 PM

I hope his political future will change back to sharpenning pencils and sweeping the cloak room, until he is run out of office.

Les in NC on June 24, 2008 at 5:22 PM

Wow…
I love it.
and whats more!
if hes supposedly so good lookin’ without a shirt on, then… I’m FRICKING HOT!

cuz even I’m not THAT doughy… yeah hes got about 8 years on me but feh I got more kids than he does.

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on June 24, 2008 at 5:24 PM

He dubbed his plane “Obama One”? Nah, no arrogance there.

AverageJoe on June 24, 2008 at 5:26 PM

He moved people to welfare?

This is great?

Entelechy on June 24, 2008 at 5:28 PM

He dubbed his plane “Obama One”? Nah, no arrogance there.

AverageJoe on June 24, 2008 at 5:26 PM

Should be “Messiah One and Only”

Entelechy on June 24, 2008 at 5:29 PM

Entelechy on June 24, 2008 at 5:28 PM

My bad; I’ve corrected it in the post.

Ed Morrissey on June 24, 2008 at 5:31 PM

He dubbed his plane “Obama One”? Nah, no arrogance there.

AverageJoe on June 24, 2008 at 5:26 PM

Damn……Beat me to it. :)

ThePrez on June 24, 2008 at 5:32 PM

Chakra, you’d better be a Man of Supreme Irony…….

otherwise you’re retarded

Obama has the corrupt and venal behavior of Nixon, the clueless airy leftism of McGovern, the mental clumsiness of Ford, and the reflexive, pathological dishonesty of Clinton & Clinton

and ‘bill30097′, people like you just might get him elected President of the United States of America

Janos Hunyadi on June 24, 2008 at 5:32 PM

His Ad is a complete joke, for a man Who started and worked in Chicago why are there only 2 African American Women hiden in the back in 1 picture. Why is there all pictures of him with his white mother, his white grandparents, and he’s helping only white people. Obama is showing how much he panders, he knows he needs the white vote so he makes an entire ad to say, hey I’m one of you, despite always talking about how he is an African American Candidate.

Obama, choosin the side thats good for the time.

Rbastid on June 24, 2008 at 5:39 PM

I’m glad Michelle wants me to give up more of my pie so that she can travel the world on my dime.

ctmom on June 24, 2008 at 5:41 PM

Meh…my travel expenses run around $40,000-$50,000 a year. Who am I to judge?

flipflop on June 24, 2008 at 5:44 PM

Dumbocrat + “black” = non-issue.

Republican + white = global warming enthusiast who wastes the tax dollars of hard working Americans for selfish, unnecessary reasons.

madmonkphotog on June 24, 2008 at 5:49 PM

Janos Hunyadi on June 24, 2008 at 5:32 PM

Janos, that’s an appropriated quote from Barack– Chakra is not defending Obama. Sheesh!

leftnomore on June 24, 2008 at 5:58 PM

Entelechy, hallo

Hogy vagy? Hogy van?

Janos Hunyadi on June 24, 2008 at 5:58 PM

Yes, leftnomore, as a Bohunk of Supreme Irony, I know this

You might have noticed the capitalization of Certain Nouns……..

Obviously, you’re a Racist for quoting Obama without permission.

Janos Hunyadi on June 24, 2008 at 6:02 PM

how does this post benefit michelle obama’s children?

lorien1973 on June 24, 2008 at 6:13 PM

McCain has to get out in front on this, as well as on Obama’s rather stunning reversal on public financing. He did the latter in his national TV spot that Allahpundit featured earlier. He needs to keep up the pressure, because from what we have seen, Obama doesn’t respond well at all to it.

Except McCain also flip flopped twice on public funding of his campaign. Or did we forget that?

Snake307 on June 24, 2008 at 6:15 PM

how does this post benefit michelle obama’s children?

It doesn’t, and you know what? I am so totally cool with it.

:)

Bob's Kid on June 24, 2008 at 6:28 PM

How does a slimy politician doing exactly the same things as past slimy politicians represent “change”?

drjohn on June 24, 2008 at 6:36 PM

dumbass Snake307 on June 24, 2008 at 6:15 PM

McCain went to great expense to meet Obama’s challenge to run on public funds only to find Obama had no intention other than to be the snake in the grass. Anguis in herba. Moral of the story: never trust BHO about anything!

maverick muse on June 24, 2008 at 6:39 PM

I hope his political future will change back to sharpenning pencils and sweeping the cloak room, until he is run out of office.

Les in NC on June 24, 2008 at 5:22 PM

Yea, but what experience!!! Let’s elect him president at this crucial time??!!

Irenaeus on June 24, 2008 at 6:45 PM

So it was Obama’s fault that McCain told everyone he would use Matching funds, and thus got on the Republican Ticket’s in states he didn’t yet have a campaign office, and then when he had the primary won, withdrew from the public funding. Then when he found he wasn’t getting the donations he expected, re-entered the public funding program.

Ah, I understand now. Instead of Bush Derangement Syndrome, we now have ODS.

It’s also Obama’s fault that McCain told everyone he heard the message on Immigration reform, and yet insists that it is going to be one of the things he’s going to do first, sign the bill he authored with only a showy nod to enforcement as he grants effective amnesty to every criminal in our nation. Good, it’s Obama’s fault.

Well, it’s my fault I won’t support a psudo Republican like McCain, and with any luck, his losing the election in November, will be my fault too.

Snake307 on June 24, 2008 at 6:47 PM

cuz even I’m not THAT doughy… yeah hes got about 8 years on me but feh I got more kids than he does.

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on June 24, 2008 at 5:24 PM

Yeah, I detected incipient man boobage.

baldilocks on June 24, 2008 at 6:48 PM

bohobama’s travel not only wasted taxpayer money, producing nothing for the country for all of his personal globe trotting to recontact international business associates to fund his campaign, but he proved his insincerity while imprinting mother earth with his huge carbon footprints. The only “green” that matters to bobama is what he takes from others to finance his political mania to rule the world. Ever notice his absolute disdain for our founding fathers?! When has this false prophet EVER referenced George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Madison or anyone? He hasn’t even the good manners to give credit to Wilson and the Progressives as Hillary had. To this buffoon, the world began when he was born. Speak of the devil, why is the documented proof without alteration of BHO’s birth still hidden from public view?! Don’t reference the stupid birth certificate online with the number missing.

maverick muse on June 24, 2008 at 6:51 PM

Janos Hunyadi on June 24, 2008 at 5:32 PM

Hey, don’t throw rocks at Chakra’s humor.

maverick muse on June 24, 2008 at 6:58 PM

WastelandMan on June 24, 2008 at 5:24 PM
Yeah, I detected incipient man boobage.
baldilocks on June 24, 2008 at 6:48 PM

airbrushed the 6-pack?

maverick muse on June 24, 2008 at 7:00 PM

His mom, Mrs. Obama?, taught him to “love his country” as a poor child. ( “we didn’t have much money”,{just more than average})
.
When did he lose that aspect of life, love of country?
.
I’m just guessing… but might it be about 20 years ago entering that church, or perhaps when he married?
.
just curious.

shooter on June 24, 2008 at 7:24 PM

Mark Levin talked about the third bill that Barry is taking credit for. It was the National Defense Authorization Act, which Barry did not write, did not sponsor, tried but failed to get amendments to the bill, and didn’t vote on. The bill passed something like 90-3 with 7 “didn’t vote”.

So Barry is trying to take credit for a bill that had nearly unanimous support and which he had almost nothing to do with.

Meet the “new politician;” same as the old politician.

Mallard T. Drake on June 24, 2008 at 8:30 PM

Hogy vagy? Hogy van?

Janos Hunyadi on June 24, 2008 at 5:58 PM

I’m fine and glad you’re back. Always happy to see you. We need more feistiness, or hot-bloodedness :)

The political scene depresses me, due to the idiocy in abundance. How did we get to here?

p.s. Hungarian food is still the best!

Entelechy on June 24, 2008 at 9:01 PM