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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Libya

Birthers will not give up on Obama's birth certificate and the White House does everything to help them out

UPDATE: The president finally released his official birth certificate. The document, his full statement and our commentary is now posted over here.)

Because the question of Barack Hussein Obama's birth certificate and true nationality is such a sensitive and completely embarrassing issue for the Democratic president that just won't go away, the White House Tuesday talked it up again.CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE Obamas Birth Certificate revealed

Our colleague quoted a White House spokesman as calling it a "settled issue."

Press Secretary Jay Carney, who claims to have been born in Washington on May 22, 1965, reportedly said:

I just think it's a distraction and it's an unfortunate distraction from the issues that I think most Americans care about.

Obama wishes the issue that makes proponents look goofy would go away so badly that he makes smiling references to it in speeches, in case anyone's forgotten.

In 2008, his campaign even gave The Ticket a copy of Obama's so-called birth certificate from Hawaii. We reproduce it here again today; click on the image to enlarge it for closer examination.

Readers will now flock in to eagerly point out that this is not actually....

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Sarah Palin tells Obama to stop gallivanting and start explaining U.S. role in Libya

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks at a tax day tea party rally Saturday, April 16, 2011, in Madison, Wisconsin Sarah Palin took to Facebook on Tuesday to ask President Obama to explain his plan in Libya.

Apologizing "if I can’t keep up with the timing and rationale of your murky foreign policy positions," the former governor demanded that Obama come clean on whether the mission is to oust longtime leader Moammar Kadafi or not.

"If Kadafi's’s got to go, then tell NATO our continued participation hinges on this: We strike hard and Kadafi will be gone," the hockey mom wrote.

"If, as you and your spokesmen suggest, we’re not to tell Libya what to do when it comes to that country’s leadership, and if you can’t explain to Americans why we’re willing to protect Libyan resources and civilians but not Syria’s, Yemen’s, Bahrain’s, Egypt’s, Israel’s, etc., then there is no justification for U.S. human and fiscal resources to be spent," Palin argued.

Perhaps peeved about yesterday's news that Levi Johnston, the father of her grandson Tripp, is scheduled to release a tell-all book about her family, Palin took it out on Obama and his recent fundraising around the nation.

"It’s unbelievable to me that you spent last week in campaign mode, gallivanting around the country to start raising the billion dollars for your reelection bid that is still 19 months away 'while Rome burns,'" the Fox News contributor said.

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That went well: With Mubarak gone, 52% of Egyptians dislike Obama's policies, barely 20% like the U.S.

North Africa, Egypt and the Nile River valley seen from space

A case study in klutz?

Yes, it took a while for him to figure out which side was going to win in Egypt's popular uprising earlier this year. But remember all of President Obama's warnings and unsolicited pieces of advice for the people currently inhabiting that land of ancient culture? 

Everyone should avoid violence. You can't repress ideas. Time to go. No going back. Everyone deserves universal human rights. Peaceful assembly and self-expression are very important.

The Real Good Talker and his rhetorical sidekick, Mideast power player Jay Carney, have been issuing an abundance of White House warnings in recent weeks to Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Syria. Forget about Iran. It's worked so well that demonstrators continue to....

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The increasingly odd political optics of Barack Obama

Easter Egg Roll Obama shows off his Basketball talents 4-25-11In politics, what you're really doing is often much less important than what it looks like you're really doing.

And with only 560 days left until the voters' next verdict, President Obama is rapidly painting himself into a public-relations corner with an ongoing series of possibly accidental gaffes that are accumulating in the public mind.

And the biting humor repertoire of late-night comics: "Donald Trump says he's President Obama's worst nightmare," Jay Leno said last night. "No. Having to make a decision is President Obama's worst nightmare."

The former state senator may, in fact, be slaving away on 18-hour policy days. But much of that is closed out of sight. So the public is left to focus on Obama's frequent vacations, golf outings, celebrity gatherings and proclivity to give a speech at the first whiff of trouble.

With no real opposition, Chicago's Democrat pols care little about how insensitive things look.

Any one of these apparent missteps is inconsequential. However, accumulated over his 118 weeks in office, they create the impression of carelessness at best or, worse, arrogance.

What the White House issues are photos of a tieless, laughing Obama, feet up on the historic Oval Office desk, chatting on the phone system that he complains is so decrepit.

What the public sees, while it frets over stubborn unemployment and soaring gas prices, is a diffident Democrat who takes a 17-vehicle motorcade of SUVs and limos to be seen looking at clean-energy cars.

A pontificating president who suggests that one worried commuter buy a new car instead of complaining.

A guy who spent 745 million donated dollars to get into the White House complaining to visiting editors about losing his anonymity and being locked in the presidential bubble that provideEaster Egg Roll Obama and one youngster 4-25-11s service, luxury, power and security unimaginable to most.

To be sure, other presidents have played golf. Maybe not during three simultaneous wars with the awful accompanying human tolls.

Not likely working the putter the day after a colossal combined earthquake/tsunami natural disaster hit as close an ally as Japan. Or canceling a trip to the funeral of Poland's president and hitting the links.  

It's one thing to urge Americans to vacation on the troubled Gulf coast last summer, while your wife flies off to Spain with a planeload of pals.

It's another to spend much of Earth Day in a 747 jumbo jet flying 2,300 miles cross-country back from a slew of multimillion-dollar West Coast fundraisers, as Obama did last week.

It's one thing to launch a war against Libya while packing up your wife, daughters, mother-in-law and her friend to tour South America.

It's another to wait nine whole days to bother explaining the unexpected combat to a puzzled nation. Or nearly two months to arrange an Oval Office address on the country's worst environmental disaster ever.Obama relaxes in his Oval Office

It's one thing to laugh off the uninformed belief of millions of countrymen that Obama is a Muslim.

It's another to issue meticulous presidential messages and proclamations on what strike many Americans as the most obscure holidays of various religions around the world, then skip official notice of Easter in the predominantly Christian country they elected you to lead.

It's one thing to attend church with your family on that Easter holiday and nod in agreement during the sermon. It's another to leave that service a half-hour early, purportedly to avoid disrupting the service by waiting until the end.

Every president stages grand White House events like state dinners and the traditional Easter Egg Roll. Some 30,000 enjoyed themselves on the South Lawn Monday, even if few ever know precisely why they're rolling chicken eggs through the grass with spoons.

When George W. Bush staged his annual Tee-Ball tournament on that same grass, his staff ensured ample opportunity for the first father to be photographed, not demonstrating his own prowess at the plate, but teeing up the plastic ball for a little person to take a wild but earnest swing that drew applause all around.

On Monday President Obama held his monthly secret strategy meeting on the Afghanistan/Pakistan fighting. But what did we get about hObama awaits his entrance cue for a White House eventis day?

A photo of Obama appearing to laugh at one egg-rolling youngster. Photos of what could be a showoff Obama dribbling a basketball by himself while the crowd watches. And a shot of him shooting by himself.

Today, Obama will do four TV interviews on debt reduction to targeted markets in Ohio, Georgia, Virginia and Michigan. He'll then have meetings with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates. All are closed.

But here's a selection of other Obama activities scheduled this week: Wednesday he and wife Michelle fly to Chicago on Air Force One. They will be there for three hours. The sole purpose: to tape an Oprah show. Obama will then fly to New York City. The sole purpose: a fundraiser, three, in fact.

Air Force One costs the government $181,000 an hour to operate.

Confident politicians enduring the ubiquitous criticism of American politics often remind themselves that much of what they do goes unseen and therefore unappreciated by the often inattentive people who employ them.

But in the end at the next election these elected officials assume that, even without deigning to carefully choreograph events, their work will speak for itself to voters passing judgment.

That may be true.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press; Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images;  Pete Souza / White House (Obama feet on Oval Office desk and awaiting his entrance cue at a White House event).

Afghan war takes record toll on Obama's rating too

Afghanistan war Chopper downblast envelops US troops in in Dust

With Americans' attention not surprisingly focused on a costly and volatile domestic issue such as the price of gasoline, now comes word that President Obama's handling of one of the nation's three wars is seriously hurting his approval rating.

ABC News reports Monday afternoon that new polling reveals nearly half of all Americans (49%) now disapprove of his handling of his war in Afghanistan, the one that he argued for so long was the proper war against terrorism.

That 49% is the worst disapproval the Democrat has experienced on the conflict, now almost....

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Again, Obama sternly warns Syria


Syrian TV Screengrab protests in Daraa see 3 more killed 4-8-11

President Obama's statement on Syria, as provided by the White House

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of force by the Syrian government against demonstrators.

The outrageous use of violence to quell protests must come to an end now.

We regret the loss of life and our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the victims, and with the Syrian people in this challenging time.

The Syrian government's moves yesterday to repeal Syria's decades-old Emergency Law and allow for peaceful  demonstrations were not serious given the continued violent oppression against protesters today.

Over the course of two months since protests in Syria began, the United States has repeatedly encouraged President Assad and the Syrian government to implement meaningful reforms, but they refuse to respect the rights of the Syrian people or be responsive to their aspirations.

The Syrian people have called for the freedoms that all individuals around the world should enjoy: freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly  and the ability to freely choose their leaders. 

President Assad and the Syrian government have repeatedly rejected their calls and chosen the path of repression.

They have placed their personal interests ahead of the Syrian people, resorting to the use of force and outrageous human rights abuses to compound the already oppressive security measures in place before these demonstrations erupted.

Instead of listening to their people, President Assad is blaming outsiders while seeking Iranian assistance in repressing Syrian citizens through the same brutal tactics that have been used by his Iranian allies.

We call on President Assad to change course now and heed the calls of his own people.

We strongly oppose ther Syrian government's treatment of its citizens and we continue to oppose its destabilizing behavior more generally, including support for terrorism and terrorist groups.

The United States will continue to stand up for democracy and the universal rights that all human beings deserve in Syria and around the world.    ####

Related Obama administration warnings:

Now, Obama warns Syria about violence

Yemen president gets stern warning from Obama press secretary

Obama changes mind on causing regime change in Middle East

New Obama warning to Libya: Stop right now

Obama warns Libya and Bahrain

Obama re-warns Libya: 'The violence must stop'

Enough with warnings, Obama finally sanctions Libya

Obama takes a day off from warnings to praise Algeria, Motown

Next, Obama warns Libya: 'This violence must stop'

Now, Obama warns Bahrain, Yemen and Libya

Obama warns Egypt's Mubarak: 'No going back'

Obama warns Mubarak: 'Suppressing ideas never makes them go away'

Photos: AFP / Getty Images (Syrian TV screen grab of protests in Dara).

Mitt Romney, John Bolton bash Obama for 'mission creep' in Libya

A Libyan rebel fighter gestures as he and others make their way to the frontline on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, Libya, Wednesday, April 20, 2011

This post has been corrected, please see note below.

Mitt Romney, the former Massachussets governor who trails billionaire Donald Trump in visibility among would-be GOP presidential candidates, stepped out in the limelight Thursday to criticize President Obama about what he calls "mission muddle."

"It is apparent that our military is engaged in much more than enforcing a no-fly zone, Romney wrote in the National Review. "What we are watching in real time is another example of mission creep and mission muddle."

Romney, who has yet to officially announce his plans to run for the GOP nomination, quoted former United States U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, who earlier wrote in the Boston Herald that Obama could be headed into a Libyan quagmire.

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Why Obama was forced to give today's deficit speech

Obama campaigns in Philadelphia 4-6-11

If President Obama is in political trouble, just wait a minute. He'll give a speech. He thinks speech-making is his best skill and clearly prefers campaigning over presidenting at a desk.

Oh, look! Obama's giving another speech this afternoon.

It's at George Washington University, the administration's new favorite homefield speech-giving place where Obama had Hillary Clinton talk about foreign policy a few weeks ago.

Obama has looked distracted in recent weeks. He launched a war in Libya while taking his family around South America. For more than a week Obama had Clinton do the public explaining and take the "Say What, a Third War?" heat for the guy who beat her in the 2008 Democratic primaries by arguing against such irrelevant foreign conflicts.

Nine days after the first Tomahawks blew something up in Tripoli, a besieged....

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Jay Carney warns Syria a second time

Syria President Bashar al-Assad

Jay Carney's statement on Syria, as provided by Jay Carney

We are deeply concerned by reports that Syrians who have been wounded by their government are being denied accesJay Carney 4-11-11s to medical care.

The escalating repression by the Syrian government is outrageous, and the United States strongly condemns the continued efforts to suppress peaceful protesters.

President Assad and the Syrian government must respect the universal rights of the Syrian people, who are rightly demanding the basic freedoms that they have been denied.    ####

Related Obama administration warnings:

Obama warns new Ivory Coast leader on governing inclusively

Now, Obama is warning Syria on violence

Yemen president gets stern warning from Obama press secretary

Obama changes mind on causing regime change in Middle East

New Obama warning to Libya: Stop right now

Obama warns Libya and Bahrain

Obama re-warns Libya: 'The violence must stop'

Enough with warnings, Obama finally sanctions Libya

Obama takes a day off from warnings to praise Algeria, Motown

Next, Obama warns Libya: 'This violence must stop'

Now, Obama warns Bahrain, Yemen and Libya

Obama warns Egypt's Mubarak: 'No going back'

Obama warns Mubarak: 'Suppressing ideas never makes them go away'

Speaking of supporters, be sure 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: AFP / Getty Images (Bashar al-Assad); Mark Wilson / Getty Images (Carney).

Obama, who said he saw a civilian slaughter looming in Libya, marks the anniversary of Rwanda's massacre


President Obama on the anniversary of Rwanda genocide,* as provided by the White House

Seventeen years ago today, the world watched as an unimaginable slaughter began to unfold in Rwanda.  One hundred horrific days later, more than 800,000 innocent people—men, women, and children—lay dead in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. Rwanda Bodies

Today, we join the Rwandan people in honoring the memory of the loved ones they lost so senselessly, and we reaffirm the lessons of that tragic chapter in history. 

For just as the Rwandan genocide exposed man’s capacity for evil, it also revealed man’s capacity for good—courageous Rwandans who risked their lives to save friends and neighbors from the massacre. As an international community, we must summon the same courage to ensure that such mass atrocities and genocides never happen again.

Today we also reflect on Rwanda’s progress. Out of the ruins of genocide, Rwandans have welcomed home refugees and former combatants and worked to build a more peaceful, prosperous and democratic society for all it citizens. 

And as a leading contributor to peacekeeping missions around the world, Rwanda reminds us of our obligations to each other as fellow human beings, and our shared responsibility to prevent attacks on innocent civilians, as the international community is doing today in Libya.  

As they reflect on this painful day, Rwandans must know that the United States will be their partner in pursuit of the secure and peaceful future that they and their children deserve.     ####

*President Obama's statement is slightly off in that, at least at first, much of the world didn't even notice the mass killings in Rwanda, which went on for about 100 days. Rwanda has a long history of tribal tensions. The mass killings began after a plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down. Most of those killed were Tutsi tribe members. More details available here.

Photo: Associated Press


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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
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