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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Birthers

Why did Obama's Osama bin Laden poll boost get buried at sea so quickly too?


Well, the SEALs' Pakistan raid may have gone as planned.

But the anticipated boost for President Obama in the nation's job approval polls crashed like that lost helicopter on the Osama bin Laden compound wall.

History shows that presidents usually receive positive bounces in approval polls after major national security events, even bad ones like Pearl Harbor.

Obama's predecessor, President George W. Bush, experienced a 15-point bounce for seven weeks for capturing but not even killing Saddam Hussein. That dictator decision was left to the courts. After 9/11, Bush got a 35-point bounce that lasted two years.

Based on those historical patterns Public Opinion Strategies predicted that Obama would enjoy a 13-point bounce that would likely last into early October.


According to a new Gallup tracking poll just out, Obama's poll bounce was six points. It lasted two weeks.

And the Democrat is already back down to the ...

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Why do one-in-five American voters now believe Osama bin Laden is still alive?

Osama bin laden supporters in Pakistan protest his reported death 5-6-11

Here we go again.

It's been only two weeks since President Obama reported on national television that an American commando team in four military helicopters had killed Osama bin Laden in his Pakistan bedroom. Within literally minutes, word of the terrorist's death by gunshot prompted seemingly spontaneous street celebrations outside the White House and elsewhere.

Now comes word from noted pollster John Zogby that while an overwhelming majority buys the administration's account, a surprising almost one-in-five likely American voters believes the Al Qaeda founder is not dead at all, nor buried at sea, as Obama officials have stated.

How could this possibly be?

That's more than twice the accepted estimate of silly folks who think Elvis is 76 now, watching his old movies and collecting Social Security in a secret somewhere.

How could so many presumably normal citizens (19%, according to Zogby) be so ignorant as to....

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Finally, some good news for Obama: Donald Trump will not be announcing his presidential bid Sunday

Donald Trump talking as usual 5-5-11What a relief for President Obama and his staggering political fortunes!

Donald Trump, the shy, retiring developer who forced the 44th president to finally release his long-form Hawaii birth certificate after nearly four years of stonewalling other less wealthy birthers, will not be announcing his political candidacy on the season finale of "The Celebrity Apprentice."

Does this mean the finale of Trump's trumped-up presidential candidacy?.

Who knows?

Who cares?

A while back, the Queens native who would be commander-in-chief let it slip that: "I am thinking of saying on the live finale of The Apprentice on May 22 that in a few days I will be making an announcement about my decision.”

Millions of frustrated Americans, who regularly talk back at their television screens in a plaintive attempt to be heard among the special interests, got very excited.

That's because with the current crowd of pols reciting their stale lines on Washington's national political stage, Elmer Fudd would look fresh and intriguing as a candidate.

Blah-blah-blah delighted to be here. Blah-blah-blah spending. Blah-blah-blah middle ....

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Half of Republicans polled still don't believe Obama was born in USA

President Barack Obama laughs in the White House briefing room in Washington, Wednesday, April 27, 2011, as he speaks to reporters about the controversy over his birth certificate and true nationality.

More than a week after the White House unearthed President Obama's original, long-form, Hawaii birth certificate, only 48% of Republicans polled said they believe he was born in the United States.

In a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling from May 5-8 of 610 Americans who usually support Republicans in primaries, 34% said they did not believe Obama was born in the U.S. while 18% said they still aren't sure.

Of those surveyed, 77% considered themselves either somewhat or very conservative while only 7% identified themselves as either somewhat or very liberal.

Despite the majority of those polled agreeing with other birthers, Donald Trump, who most loudly demanded that the president release his birth certificate, fell significantly in the PPP poll.

The billionaire last month led other would-be GOP presidential hopefuls with 26% support from those surveyed, but this month Trump slid below former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (19%), former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (18%), former Speaker Newt Gingrich (13%), and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (12%), and is now tied with Texas Congressman Ron Paul with 8%.

"As Trump got more and more exposure over the last month, Republicans didn't just decide they weren't interested in having him as their nominee, they also decided they flat don't like him," PPP wrote in their blog post titled "Trump collapses."

"Only 34% of GOP voters now have a favorable opinion of Trump, to 53% who view him in a negative light," the North Carolina pollsters blogged.


Obama birth certificate: Donald Trump takes credit

Obama on his birth certificate: 'We do not have time for this kind of silliness'

Obama birth certificate released by the president: What's really behind his inevitable decision

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: President Barack Obama laughs in the White House briefing room on Wednesday as he speaks to reporters about his birth certificate. Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Donald Trump says he isn't a racist because a black man won 'The Apprentice' once

Donald Trump saying hello to rapper Snoop Dogg at a Comedy Central Roast

Donald Trump, who for a while deftly dazzled the press while demanding to see President Obama's birth certificate, is struggling to deny the unfortunate and impossible question: "Are you a racist?"

On Monday morning, the boisterous billionaire defended himself on "Fox & Friends" by saying that he couldn't be a racist because six years ago Randal Pinkett, an African American, won the honor of being Trump's apprentice on the NBC show.

"I am the least racist person there is," Trump said. "And I think most people who know me would tell you that. I am the least racist; I’ve had great relationships."

The real estate mogul continued: "In fact, Randal Pinkett won, as you know, on 'The Apprentice' a little while ago, a couple of years ago," he said. "And Randal’s been outstanding in every way. So I am the least racist person."

Pinkett has indeed been outstanding. His five degrees from Oxford, MIT and Rutgers, along with his victory on Trump's show, helped his success with BCT Partners, a multimillion-dollar New Jersey corporation that he helped found 15 years ago and continues to run today as its chairman and CEO.

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Late-night's best: Living like that, why didn't Osama bin Laden just shoot himself?

new yorkers celebrate the demise of Osama bin laden 5-1-11

As The Ticket's 63,000-plus Twitter followers here and 6,700 Facebook fans here know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each night. Feel free to pass them on to friends using the Share buttons above. Normally, we publish these on Monday mornings. We didn't make it this week.

Letterman: Well, did you enjoy the Osama bin Laden season finale?

Conan: Osama bin Laden's death interrupted Sunday night's "Celebrity Apprentice" with Donald Trump. Which begs the question: How do we kill Bin Laden again next Sunday?Donald Trump and wife Melania 5-2-11

Letterman: In the Osama bin Laden raid, the SEALs sent his image to a satellite facial-recognition system that said there was a 99.9% chance it was Bin Laden. Still, there's that .01% chance it was a ZZ Top guy.

Leno: President Obama says he won't release the Bin Laden death photos. So I guess we'll just have to wait for Donald Trump to force him to do that too.

Conan: The Obama White House has changed its mind and decided to release those Osama photos -- on a set of commemorative plates.

Conan: A bomb-sniffing German shepherd went with those SEALs to Bin Laden's. The dog says the mission was OK, but he was really hoping Bin Laden had a cat.

Conan: Osama bin Laden had $740 sewn into his clothes. Experts say his next plan was either to launch a major attack or rent a one-bedroom apartment in Chicago.

Leno: Reports say Bin Laden lived in that compound with nine women and 23 children. I'm surprised that wasn't a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Fallon: Microsoft is bringing back Clippy, the cartoon paperclip that popped up in Word documents. He's been hiding in an upscale Pakistan suburb.Clippy the annoying know it all paper clip from Microsoft

Leno: Steve Jobs is furious over people saying his iPhone and iPads have secret tracking devices. Jobs says he knows who those people are and where they live.

Fallon: New York state passes a new law that allows same-sex conjugal visits for prisoners. I'm no expert, but isn't that pretty much what prison is?

Leno: Did you see the wind damage at the St. Louis airport? Wow! And the air traffic controllers slept through the whole thing.

Leno: The U.S. announces it's sending its most powerful drones to Libya. But that seems like a long trip for Joe Biden.

Fallon: Libya's Col. Kadafi is reported still in high spirits, although his compound was completely destroyed. Most people would be devastated. But here's the thing -- he's insane.

Fallon: Kate Middleton did her own makeup for the wedding. So except for the castle, the jewels, the limos, the mansions, the servants and the butlers, she's just like us.

locked Detroit Lions Gate 4-11Fallon: Did you see the royal newlyweds kissing on the balcony? I was like, hey, guys, get a castle.

Letterman: At least Bin Laden lived to see the Royal Wedding.

Letterman: CBS has downgraded Katie Couric from perky to peppy. She's stepping down as news anchor. Insiders tell me she was involved in dog fighting.

Fallon: Donald Trump hasn't voted in primaries for 20-plus years. Or in simpler terms, Trump hasn't voted in primary elections in over three wives.

Leno: For a while there a federal judge ended the NFL lockout, possibly clearing the way for the 2011 football season. Detroit Lions fans say they will appeal the decision.

Conan: Toyota officials have announced the company will start integrating Microsoft technology into its vehicles. It's perfect for the person who wants a car that crashes every 10 minutes.


Late-night's best: Air Traffic controllers, NFL replacements and Donald Trump

Late-night's best: Obama, Osama, Oprah, Oh Biden!

Late-night's best: Obama's campaign, Yogi Bear, Glenn Beck and Kelly Ripa's waxing

Late-night's best: Hillary Clinton, Harry Houdini and Kenya on Obama's birth

Late-night's best: Libya, Libya, Zuckerberg and Libya

Late-night's best: Obama's NCAA picks, life expectancy and Al Qaeda fashion

-- Andrew Malcolm

Obama walks into a bar with a parrot on his shoulder. The bartender asks, "Does he talk?" The parrot says, "Not without a Teleprompter." Monday mornings, the best of late-night. And no need to go out; just click here to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle now. Use the ReTweet buttons below to share this item with family and friends.

Photos: Mario Tama / Getty Images (New Yorkers celebrate Bin Laden's demise); Larry Busacca /Getty Images (Donald and Melania Trump); Paul Sancya / Associated Press.

The political effect of Obama's decision to withhold Bin Laden death photos over fear of foreign reaction

Osama bin laden housing Compound in Pakistan 5-3-11

President Obama, who recently expressed uncomprehending bemusement that a desire by some in the public to see his sealed birth certificate would endure and distract debate for four years, has decided to seal the post-mortem photos of the world's most wanted murderer, Osama bin Laden.

The president, who has seen the graphic photos, likened their once-promised release to spiking the football after a touchdown. In a taped interview with CBS News, which itself will not be released until network broadcast in four days, Obama reportedly said, "That's not who we are."an unidentified 9-11 victim falls to his death from the World Trade Center

The Democrat suggested the world should take his word that it really was Bin Laden who was fatally shot in an early morning SEAL raid on his comfortable living compound in Pakistan after a 10-year manhunt.

Bin Laden was the mastermind of numerous deadly terrorism assaults on Americans and others, including the bombing of the destroyer Cole and the 9/11 attacks that produced so many graphic images of the deaths of nearly 3,000 people.

Obama, who once bragged that his administration would be the most transparent in American history, said he had all the proof necessary to convince him it was the real Bin Laden who was shot in the chest and forehead after maybe or maybe not being given an opportunity to surrender in his bedroom early Monday morning Pakistan time.

"We don't think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference," the chief executive is reported to say.

The presumed reason is fear of inflaming Islamic jihadists over their leader's violent demise and the hope that maybe perhaps they might relent in their so far relentless war on nonbelievers.

Obama, however, reveals an unusual priority in the interview: He says there is no doubt of Bin Laden's death among the Saudi's followers.

Who was concerned about that?

In the leaked interview portion, Obama does not mention the concerns of his own countrymen, who saw countless gruesome photographs of deaths on 9/11. Obama's profound primary concern seems to be to ameliorate reactions among a foreign audience of terror extremists. To minimize public criticism at home, Obama's team has shown the allegedly secret photos to members of Congress, presumably grownups.

Start the timers on how long until an alleged death photo appears somewhere.

The decision to withhold photographic proof was only the latest flipflop by the Democrat's administration in what has become a constantly changing story of the precise SEAL raid, and Bin Laden's demise and the disposal of his body, as detailed here earlier Wedne Leon Panetta, left, and Robert Gates 4-28-11 sday morning.

Late Tuesday Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA and future secretary of Defense, said he was sure the photos would ultimately be released.

However, in a less-than-shocking claim Wednesday, Obama said that now all of his subordinates agree with his decision to keep the photos secret.

Although he made no reference to consulting other governments, such as friendly but nervous Muslim regimes in the Middle East, Obama may also have sought and received advice from them to withhold the photos as inflammatory. But Obama does not wish to appear back home to be abiding by the secrecy suggestions of governments he's been so publicly and constantly lecturing about democracy and openness.

Obama also says that Bin Laden received the justice he deserved.

This Obama decision, like so many others, including his vow to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is, of course, subject to impatient reversal over time.

Politically, it will certainly prove difficult for Obama to sustain at home, where critics have long suggested he's too often an apologist abroad for his own nation. Whatever Obama's real motives, his publicly expressed ones appear to put fears of adverse foreign reactions ahead of his countrymen's reactions over a thwarted desire for closure by seeing the ultimate modern villain dead after losing so many American lives to Bin Laden and his hench-persons.

If there was any doubt about the pent-up nature of these emotions, they were killed Sunday night when so many spontaneous jubilant public celebrations broke out in this country over Obama's announcement of Bin Laden's death.

These street demonstrations involving flag waving, cheering and group sings of the "Star-Spangled Banner" occurred, among other places, in front of the White House, in New York's Times Square and, most symbolically, at ground zero in Lower Manhattan.

As it happens, Obama will travel there Thursday as part of his Bin Laden victory lap, which will now most likely include the first of many explanations over a silly photograph he's decided to keep secret.

On the other hand, 552 days before the presidential election, if political critics are discussing a secret photo, they're not talking of unemployment or amazingly high gas prices.

Which can't be sealed by this president.


Osama bin Laden's death: Clarifying the Obama administration's cnoufison and missteaks

Yes, the SEALs were in the raid, but aides hail Obama's office bravery

Rush Limbaugh on Osama Bin Laden's death: "Thank God for President Obama"

Donald Trump praises Obama on Osama bin Laden's death

The death of Osama bin Laden: Statements by two presidents who hunted him

-- Andrew Malcolm

Your mission is to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photos: The Bin Laden compound in Pakistan (credit: AFP / Getty Images); a 9/11 victim falling from the burning World Trade Center (credit: Associated Press); CIA Director Leon Panetta, left, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. (credit: Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

Osama bin Laden's death: Clarifying the Obama administration's cnofsuoin and missteaks

Obama and Staff Watch the deadly osama bin laden raid live on a SEALcam 5-1-11 A secret document was obscured by the White House before release

It's taken a couple of days to sort out the confusions and conflicting versions of Osama bin Laden's welcome demise early Monday at the hands of a gutsy president crouching on the floor and a couple dozen unidentified helpers with rapid-fire weapons, night-vision goggles and nerves of steel a half-world away; you know how it is in the chaos of battle and Chicago campaign politics.

Back in 2005, when rookie Sen. Barack Obama was just beginning to plan his $745-million 2007-08 presidential campaign, U.S. intelligence became aware of a $1-million housing compound under construction in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a city of 1 million about 60 miles outside the capital.

Using certain interrogation techniques on involuntary wartime guests, the CIA acquired the name of a high-level al Qaeda courier, who was eventually tracked toing and froing from said elaborate compound, which his invisible income would seem to put beyond his financial reach.

Last August, as Obama vainly campaigned to preserve his Democratic Party's....

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With Osama bin Laden dead, Obama's job approval will jump this much (for this long)

Obama and Staff Watch the deadly osama bin laden raid live on a SEALcam 5-1-11 A secret document was obscured by white house before release

Americans do not like losing. They also don't like not winning, those seemingly stalemated situations that look and feel murky.

Above most everything else, Americans like winning. 

President Obama's community helpfulness in places like Libya, now enroute to awkward quagmire status because Kadafi hasn't lasted 42 years by accident, was dragging Obama down in the polls to near Jimmy Carter numbers just as today's Democrat launched his 2012 fundraising. Obama's tardy explanation for the Libya war produced no polling bounce for him.

The lame job situation. And weak recovery. And the deficit. And sagging consumer confidence. And his own stumbles. And the endless Afghan war weren't helping either.

So, not that any such thing would ever cross a president's mind, but how better to improve the political situation at home than enjoy a national security success abroad?

Kill a bad guy overseas and watch the deadly real reality show on live video via SEALcam in the White House (see photo above) Sunday afternoon. Then call a dramatic presidential address late on a Sunday evening with the side benefit of disrupting the NBC show of that annoying Donald Trump. Osama bin Laden now deceased on FBI 10 most wanted list 5-2-11

The intentional death of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden early Monday morning Pakistan time at the hands of Navy SEALs who don't shoot to wound touched a national nerve of retribution and celebration.

Yes, a helicopter went down, as it did during Carter's unsuccessful attempt to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran. But this president's orders succeeded.

President Obama actually could have whacked Osama back in March without risking American lives simply by ordering a bombing run or two over the Osama compound in Abbotabad.

But that would have vaporized anybody inside or nearby and not produced an identifiable body to snuff future Elvis is alive stories.

Thirty hours later Osama's body is reportedly sleeping with the fishes somewhere. But still no photo or positive ID proof released, already giving rise to online 'deather' conspiracies. However, it's official if the FBI changes Osama's status on its Top Ten list from "Wanted" to "Deceased."

Here's another certainty: President Obama is about to experience a substantial jump in his job approval, at least on national security.

The very smart folks over at Public Opinion Strategies have been studying presidential popularity bumps for a very long time. Their research goes back to President Roosevelt's counterintuitive bump in approval after the humiliating Pearl Harbor disaster.

And they can now predict that Obama is likely to experience a 13-point bounce in approval. That would get the guy up from the low 40s to back above the symbolic 50% approval level.

And Stephen Kinney and his crew can also predict that Obama's bump in approval will last about 22 weeks.

That's roughly until the first week of October when, the Chicago crowd desperately hopes, the sagged economy will be unsagging sufficiently to deny feuding Republicans a palpable issue for their primary/caucus contests that will dominate political news come next winter.

In terms of duration Obama's bump would be on the lower end of POTUS approval jumps, about the same as John F. Kennedy's 12 point jump after the Cuban missile crisis but not as good as George W. Bush's 15 point jump after capturing the also departed Saddam Hussein.

Kennedy's bump lasted a good long 40 weeks. Bush's Saddam bounce endured only seven weeks, but the 43rd president's bounce after his handling of the 9/11 attacks lasted two years.


Yes, SEALs were in on the raid, but aides hail Obama's office bravery

What if the dead guy wasn't really Osama bin Laden?

Rush Limbaugh on Osama bin Laden's death: 'Thank God for President Obama'

Donald Trump praises Obama on Osama bin Laden's death

The death of Osama bin Laden: Statements by 2 presidents who hunted him

-- Andrew Malcolm

Your mission is to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Pete Souza / White House (Obama and staff watch live video of the deadly Osama bin Laden raid Sunday afternoon in the White House. Editor's Note: Before release the White House digitally obscured a secret document in front of Clinton);

Donald Trump in Vegas: 'Our leaders are stupid, they are stupid people'

Donald Trump in Las Vegas Donald Trump dealt a series of F-bombs during a speech Thursday night in Las Vegas where he condemned the president specifically and policymakers as a whole.

"Our leaders are stupid, they are stupid people," the billionaire told an audience of approximately 1,000 people at the Treasure Island hotel and casino on the Las Vegas strip hosted by several Republican women's groups.

The real estate mogul and television producer continued his battle cry of taking oil from countries after we have defeated them in battle.

"In the old days, when you won the war, it was yours," Trump said, earning applause from the crowd. "When we win a war … we leave with nothing."

Regarding Asia, Trump said they should be honoring the United States with tributes as well.

"I'd say to South Korea, 'All those televisions you sell us, all the billions you make — we're going to protect you and make sure you're in good shape, but you're going to pay for it,'" he proclaimed. "You know something, they would do it in two minutes."

And China? Trump says there's no benefit trying to be a good neighbor environmentally if halfway around the world the most-favored nation is mucking up the air.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



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