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Friday, March 30, 2007

Glenn Thrush Reports False Non-Story about Obama

On March 15, Glenn Thrush wrote a article titled, "Like Clinton, Obama avoids a query." The piece began with an alarmist tone:
If gays and lesbians were looking for a champion to dispute Gen. Peter Pace's claim that homosexuality is immoral, they might have expected Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama to leap forward.

Not quite. While both Clinton and Obama are courting gays and lesbians, and would allow them to serve openly in the military, the Democratic front-runners have been curiously reticent about challenging the statements of the chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff.
Last night, Obama responded to the story on Wolf Blitzer:
"I'm not sure that the story got out there properly. I mean, what happened was I was leaving a firefighters' union meeting and trying to get in my car and did not respond to a reporter's query at that point. I wasn't responding to reporters period because I was trying to make a vote. Subsequently I made it very clear. I don't think that gays and lesbians are any more moral or immoral than heterosexuals and that I think it is very important for us to reexamine the don't ask, don't tell policy because it's costing us millions of dollars in replacing troops that by all accounts are actually doing a good job but are simply being kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation."
Glenn Thrush responds:
It was a hectic scene and perhaps he misremembered. We asked him versions of the "immorality" question three times as he was leaving the convention, twice during a long ride on an escalator, and once at the door of his car. He responded twice, then jumped in his car. Contrary to the assertion that he wasn't answering reporters' questions, Obama did also respond to a Brazilian reporter quizzing him on ethanol.

This exchange was later reported by Christi Parsons of the Chicago Tribune in an article titled, "Reporter challenges Obama's account of Q&A."

So was Obama telling the truth? Yes.

Luckily, Lynn Sweet of Sun Times reported the entire exchange.

Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama was running a little behind schedule. He had just delivered a speech to the International Association of Fire Fighters at the Hyatt Hotel on Capitol Hill...

As Obama was rushing to leave the hotel, a reporter for a Brazil broadcast outlet tossed Obama a question about a pending U.S.-Brazil biofuels agreement and whether he supports lower tariffs on ethanol. Support for ethanol is a major issue in Iowa -- the state with the first presidential vote next January, so Obama was cautious with the potential Iowa landmine. "We need to take a look at the agreement before I comment on that," he said.

Then a Newsday reporter, Glenn Thrush, said to Obama, "What do you think about Gen. [Peter] Pace's comments that homosexuality is immoral?"

The question was a follow-up to the statement the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff made to the Chicago Tribune editorial board, that homosexual acts were immoral.

"I think traditionally the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman has restricted his public comments to military matters,'' said Obama. ''That's probably a good tradition to follow. ''

Obama was asked again. "What do you think of the characterization of homosexuality as being immoral? Sen. Clinton was asked that this morning on 'Good Morning America.' Do you think homosexuality is immoral as Gen. Pace has asserted?''

At that, Obama reframed the question to refer to the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy and he said, "I think the question here is whether somebody is willing to sacrifice for their country, should they be able to? If they are doing all the things that are needed to be done." He ignored a third try.

The statement of Obama in question is "At that point, I wasn't responding to reporters."

1. The Brazilian reporter's question was before the homosexual immorality questions, so Obama could be referring to the point after the Brazilian reporter's question.

2. He didn't answer the Brazilian reporter's question anymore than he answered the homosexuality question. His answer to the Brazilian reporter's question was: "We need to take a look at the agreement before I comment on that," He gave a quick answer to the Brazilian and two quick answers to Glenn Thrush. This can't be considered a situation where Obama was "responding to reporters." In what Glenn Thrush described as "hectic scene," Obama was hurrying to his car, and none of his answers were longer than a couple sentences.

Another manufactured Obama story.

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