The Washington Post buries the lede in their front-page report on their editorial conference with Barack Obama. They lead with the news that Obama wants to tackle entitlement reform, certainly an encouraging note, although made all but meaningless in the trillions pouring out of Washington at the moment to bail out politically-connected private enterprises. Not until the fourth paragraph does this amazing backpedal jump out at the reader — and at Ed Whelan, who noted it at The Corner (emphasis mine):
In a wide-ranging 70-minute interview with Washington Post reporters and editors, the president-elect pledged quick action on the Middle East once he takes office, promised to support voting rights for D.C. residents, and said he will consider it a failure if he has not closed the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by the end of his first term in office.
What? During the campaign, Obama often demanded the immediate closure of Gitmo and promised just that repeatedly. It didn’t make much of a splash during the general election, as John McCain made the same pledge. In fact, his transition team suggested that Obama would issue an executive order in the first days of his administration to get the ball rolling on that task.
And now? Now Obama has decided to set the expectation that it might take as long as four years to figure out how to fulfill his campaign promise. This stunning nugget that dropped into the Post’s lap was recognized as so newsworthy that the Post failed to even ask about the four-year shift in the timeline even once. Gitmo only gets one more mention in the 34-paragraph story — in paragraph 28. And in that paragraph, the Post tells readers that Obama is “confident” that he can make his new self-imposed deadline of whenever.
This tends to prove the notion that the throbbingly warm reception Obama received this week in the Post’s office was no fluke. If Bush promised to close Gitmo immediately and then shared the idea that “immediately” means sometime in the next four years, would the Post have buried that? Had John McCain won the election and pushed Gitmo’s closure to 2013, the Post would have headlined that and had 34 paragraphs about how McCain misled voters and betrayed his anti-torture principles.
But for Obama? We get to hear about his “confidence.” I’d call this a “confidence” game, all right.
By the way, for Gitmo haters, a question: Don’t you think that McCain would have found a way to close Gitmo a lot sooner than in 2013?