Open thread: Semi-retired President to issue daily communique at 12:45 ET (pledged)

posted at 12:41 pm on August 20, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

After heading back to Martha’s Vineyard despite the butchering of American journalist James Foley, Barack Obama has scheduled a live statement from his vacation at 12:45 ET, presumably to discuss the brutal killing and the American response to ISIS. The announcement of the presser came after US intelligence verified the video released by ISIS as authentic:

U.S. intelligence analyzed the video and determined that it was authentic, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Wednesday.

Obama has been briefed about the video, and “he will continue to receive regular updates,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.

ISIS has carried out executions, including beheadings, as part of its effort to establish an Islamic caliphate that stretches from Syria into Iraq. In many cases, ISIS — which refers to itself as the Islamic State — has videotaped the executions and posted them online.

What will Obama have to say about the ghastly execution? John Nolte has a pretty good idea of what Obama won’t say:

It’s a pretty fair bet that President Obama won’t take Max Boot’s advice, either:

What is needed now is not strongly worded condemnation of Foley’s murder, much less a hashtag campaign. What is needed is a politico-military strategy to annihilate ISIS rather than simply chip around the edges of its burgeoning empire. In the Spectator of London I recently outlined what such a strategy should look like. In brief, it will require a commitment of some 10,000 U.S. advisors and Special Operators, along with enhanced air power, to work with moderate elements in both Iraq and Syria–meaning not only the peshmerga but also the Sunni tribes, elements of the Iraqi Security Forces, and the Free Syrian Army–to stage a major offensive to rout ISIS out of its newly conquered strongholds. The fact that Nouri al-Maliki is leaving power in Baghdad clears away a major obstacle to such a campaign.

Now it is simply a matter of resources and resolve on the part of the U.S. and its allies. That, of course, remains the big unknown–how far will President Obama go? He has been willing in the last few weeks to apply a liberal interpretation of his original mandate for U.S. forces in Iraq, which was to protect Americans in Erbil and Baghdad. But beyond protecting the Yazidis and retaking Mosul Dam we still need a strategy to annihilate ISIS. It can be done–and if done right it will be the best, indeed the only worthy, response to James Foley’s barbaric demise.

I suspect we’ll hear a lot about “no American military solution” and “helping the Iraqis unite” today, as we have heard all along. We may get a little more detail on the current status of air strikes, plus shout-outs to other nations who want to come on board with the American response, but don’t expect any course change today. That would come in an Oval Office address, if at all. Will Obama respond to Pope Francis’ remarks? Not if he’s not going to offer anything new, but perhaps Obama might use Francis’ statement to urge the United Nations to get its act together regarding ISIS.

So what’s the over/under on when Obama actually reaches the podium today? I’ll say 1:15 ET.

Update: The statement itself, castigating ISIS and lauding the memory of James Foley, was emotional and engaged. I agree with this statement:

We will be “vigilant and relentless,” Obama promised. Let’s hope that will be the case.

Update: Just noticed the subhed didn’t match this post, but one I’m working on for later. I’ve changed it.

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Cindy Munford on August 20, 2014 at 1:16 PM


Akzed on August 20, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Empty meaningless rhetoric from Obama. Remember, he’s the King of the Podium; he can fling a rousing, emotional, tear-jerker of a speech at a hapless, mesmerized, mindless audience without even pausing for breath.

But.He.Doesn’t.Mean.A. Word.Of.It.I’ll bet he doesn’t even remember what he’s said five minutes later. After all, he’s well-noted for his contradictions.

Obama is just words. It’s just ‘the oceans will cease to rise’ and ‘peace will reign’. It’s ‘you can keep your doctor and your insurance’.
It’s his ‘we’ll get them all who did this at Benghazi’…and nothing happens. It’s his: Cross the Red Line threat to the Syrians, and when they did cross that messy little red line, he fobbed that red line to the world with ‘It’s the world’s red line’, and ran for the cupboard (aka golf course) and handed the whole mess over to Russia and Putin, who used it to strenghen Russia’s power in the Middle East. It’s his endless changing sanctions against Iran and its very-soon-to-be achieved nuclear weapon. It’s his blustering about Russia and the Ukraine and Crimea.

And, it’s his blaming everything, anything, on someone else when it goes wrong. Words and more words. He’s the King of Empty Words.

ETAB on August 20, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Methinks the Lightbringer is weary from so much ‘prezidentin’ he’s had to do.

tanked59 on August 20, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Methinks the Lightbringer is weary from so much ‘prezidentin’ he’s had to do.

tanked59 on August 20, 2014 at 2:56 PM

It’s hard out there for a race pimp.

HumpBot Salvation on August 20, 2014 at 3:00 PM

“People like [ISIS] ultimately fail. Because the future is won by those who build and not destroy.”

“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

Somewhere between those statements lies the winner/owner of the future.

Akzed on August 20, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Jebus. The death of a black thug caused by his own stupidity is more important to these jerkwads than the beheading of an innocent journalist at the hand of Muslims would’ve called for the destruction of our way of live?

Syzygy on August 20, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Axe yourself, which incident is better for Dem turnout in November?

slickwillie2001 on August 20, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Wait a sec, dogboy, are you actually still arguing that 84 airstrikes in just a few days isn’t bombing the crap out of them?

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Methinks the Lightbringer is weary from so much ‘prezidentin’ he’s had to do.

tanked59 on August 20, 2014 at 2:56 PM

It’s hard out there for a race pimp.

HumpBot Salvation on August 20, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Agreed. Hmmm…”Lightbringer”, “prezidentin”, “race pimp”, all sound like possible themes for a brand new Hollyweird reality show, don’t they?…

Damnit, what’s wrong with me – it’s already been filming at The White House for over 5 1/2 years now!

tanked59 on August 20, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Cincinnati-area abortion clinic drops appeal of state health department’s order to shut down, will stop performing surgical abortions on Friday – @AP

davidk on August 20, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Everdisco thinks Obama is just dreamy…. Apparently….. So nobody better talk bad about his crush!

Caseoftheblues on August 20, 2014 at 3:25 PM

Throwback Wednesday?

I don’t want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don’t mind cleaning up after them, but don’t do a lot of talking. – Obama August 6, 2009

JugEars: the King of Irony

socalcon on August 20, 2014 at 3:32 PM

So we lose Robin Williams but we are stuck with this jerk of a president??

Sherman1864 on August 20, 2014 at 3:50 PM

coolrepublica on August 20, 2014 at 1:50 PM

I have not been beating the war drums for Obama to say something, and I realize reading vs listening are different things. I didn’t have a problem with his Ferguson speech (I have a pretty low bar for him because while his elocution is good his speech writers are just terrible) and based upon what I have read of this one no problem with it either.

Now – the optics of going golfing right after the press conference is just … horrible. And consistent with the narrative of an unattached, semi-retired president. Is Obama gonna take heat from all sides on this one? Welcome to the presidency, you ran for it twice so I have zero compassion for his concern about taking heat. But at least try – he’s not even trying. He is allowing the narrative to get locked in. With each month not only does he pretty much lock in a GOP Senate – which will end his EO charade – he also is increasingly locking in a GOP president in 2017 with clean majorities in both houses – yes, even including the Senate which is predicted to flip back. I think that is in doubt now.

And of course once there is a GOP president – Obamacare can be eliminated via the stroke of the president’s pen, per the precedents this president has already set.

Zomcon JEM on August 20, 2014 at 3:54 PM

ETAB on August 20, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Excellent post…

mnjg on August 20, 2014 at 3:59 PM

“People like [ISIS] ultimately fail. Because the future is won by those who build and not destroy.”

This sure does sound nice, and I’m sure it caused tingles to go up the legs and spines of his adoring, clueless fanclub, but wtf does this even mean?

Tell that to the Vandals, the Goths, the Arabs, the Mongols, the Turks.

Yeah, I guess we remember Rome for what the Romans built, not what the Vandals destroyed. Small consolation to those Romans put to the sword, though.

TarasBulbous on August 20, 2014 at 4:26 PM

While you guys complain about golf, optics, and neckties, Obama has been busy authorizing a dozen airstrikes and counting just since this video was released.

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 2:35 PM

So you are saying he looks sad because he has to kill some ISIS guys to keep his bills paid? Wouldn’t want the taxpayers to stop paying for Air Force one… that’s one sweet ride to attend the engagement party of a journalist friend!!! Which is why he came to DC this week!!!! I hate this man.

I say it’s about time he did some bombing!!!! What in the world possessed him to pull all of our troops out of there in the first place the idiot?!

Why can’t this man think like a grown up?

petunia on August 20, 2014 at 5:09 PM

*(CNN)* – In January President Obama told The New Yorker magazine that ISIS, the militant group which has taken control of parts of western and northern Iraq, was like a junior varsity basketball team.

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 5:25 PM

everdiso on August 20, 2014 at 3:05 PM

A. 84? Doubt it, but even if that is correct,
B. I said no. Do you need it in crayon? Go look at the links, numbnuts and see what bombing the crap out of someone looks like.

dogsoldier on August 20, 2014 at 6:49 PM

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