Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Obama beats the pirates (and the right)
Sorry Redstate (which still hasn't gotten the basic facts of the rescue straight -- no, dears, the captain didn't jump off the boat a second time...) "No Drama" Obama's handling of the pirates of the Horn of Africa is getting kudos, even from the increasingly wingery Associated Press:

Obama's handling of the crisis showed a president who was comfortable in relying on the U.S. military, much as his predecessor, George W. Bush, did.

But it also showed a new commander in chief who was willing to use all the tools at his disposal, bringing in federal law enforcement officials to handle the judicial elements of the crisis.

The rescue appeared to vindicate Obama's muted but determined handling of the incident. What won't be known for some time is whether Obama will benefit politically.

And the pillars of Obama's success should be remembered by the wingers:

1. No exploitation for political gain:

When Obama campaigns for re-election, he may take Bush's approach of turning any such incident into evidence of his leadership acumen. On the other hand, Obama didn't go before the cameras Sunday to trumpet the success, instead releasing a written statement that saluted the bravery of the military and Phillips but claimed no credit for himself.

2. No empty, Bush-style "tough talk":

He didn't call in his Cabinet for a high-profile command meeting. He let military and top administration officials do the talking, but even they kept saber rattling out of the equation.

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said Obama's silence should not be interpreted to mean that he wasn't deeply involved. The president's public posture was calculated to not raise the temperature on the situation or give the hostage-takers anything to exploit.

3. Actual work instead of Rovian marketing:

So what Obama did was receive regular briefings, sometimes as often as half a dozen times a day. He weighed in with two critical decisions allowing the military to take action to save Phillips' life. And he laid the groundwork for a federal criminal law enforcement response.

4. No "war on terror" B.S.:
Obama doesn't like labels for himself or catch phrases for policy. So it's notable that in an administration that has virtually banned the phrase "war on terror," no one called the pirates "terrorists."
Oh, and it worked.

Meanwhile, ABC News has the story of the dramatic rescue of the captain by U.S. Navy SEALs, who are the big heroes of the day. And Somali pirates are vowing to take revenge on the U.S.

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posted by JReid @ 9:42 AM  
Sunday, April 12, 2009
You were saying, Newt?
Reason #244 not to listen to Newt Gingrich: he spends a lot of time braying about things he knows nothing about.

This morning on "This Week," the former disgraced House Speaker took his Twitter bitching about President Obama's handling of the Somali pirate capture of an American seaman to the big leagues. I suppose Newt, who gets exactly zero national security briefings or hell, briefings of any kind, wanted Obama to go out Dubya style: start blustering on television about nuking Somalia, and order the U.S.S. Bainbridge to blow the pirate dinghy out of the water with the Maersk captain still inside, or have Navy SEALs storm the ship, risking the captain's life. Just hours later, news reports said the captain had been rescued, after three dead-on (no pun intended) simultaneous shots by SEAL snipers who had parachuted in secret aboard the Bainbridge, and CNN reported that the president had on Friday given the Seals the go-ahead to use deadly force if necessary to save the captain's life.

Oops. Maybe Newt would do better commenting about Bo, the First Puppy?

Meanwhile, how much money do you reckon Capt. Richard Philips is going to rake in between the book, the movie and the "Law and Order" episode, and will Clooney get the lead in the feature?

CNN's coverage below:

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posted by JReid @ 7:22 PM  
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Pirate update
The captain of the commandeered ship is still a hostage, and the lifeboat he's on is out of fuel and apparently floating to Kenya with the FBI and U.S. military in tow. From the Beeb:

The US Navy has called in FBI hostage negotiators to help secure the release of a US captain held by Somali pirates in a lifeboat in the Indian Ocean.

Capt Richard Phillips was taken from the Maersk Alabama cargo ship after it was briefly seized by pirates.

Officials said a US warship had arrived in the area and was remaining in sight of the lifeboat during the tense talks.

Relatives of the Maersk Alabama crew told US media the ship was now sailing to Mombasa in Kenya under armed guard.

'Dead in the water'

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said the navy had called his hostage experts "to assist with negotiations".

He said the FBI was now "fully engaged in this matter".




More on the situation, and the dramatic self-rescue by the ship's crew, from the AP:

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posted by JReid @ 12:37 PM  
ReidBlog: The Obama Interview
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