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Sun Sep 15, 2013, 10:09 AM

President Obama Rejects Criticism of Shifting Syria Policy: ‘I’m Less Concerned About Style Points’

Last edited Sun Sep 15, 2013, 11:12 AM - Edit history (1)

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/09/obama-defends-shifting-syria-policy-im-less-concerned-about-style-points/

(snip)
“I’m less concerned about style points. I’m much more concerned with getting the policy right,” Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview on “This Week.”

Obama said his surprise announcement on Aug. 31 that he would seek congressional authorization for U.S. military strikes against Syria, then the abrupt cancellation of a vote this week and pursuit of a diplomatic plan led by the Russians, has put the country “definitely in a better position.”

“My entire goal throughout this exercise is to make sure what happened on Aug. 21 does not happen again,” the president told Stephanopoulos of the large-scale chemical weapons attack outside Damascus that he said killed more than 1,400 civilians.

(snip)
The president said a “verifiable agreement” to disarm Assad of his chemical stockpiles will go further than any U.S. military strikes could have in eliminating the threat of their use.

“If that goal is achieved, then it sounds to me like we did something right,” Obama said.

Full Transcript: President Obama Speaks Exclusively to George Stephanopoulos on ‘This Week’
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/09/full-transcript-president-obamas-exclusive-interview-with-george-stephanopoulos/

61 replies, 2937 views

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Arrow 61 replies Author Time Post
Reply President Obama Rejects Criticism of Shifting Syria Policy: ‘I’m Less Concerned About Style Points’ (Original post)
cal04 Sep 2013 OP
Bluenorthwest Sep 2013 #1
GeorgeGist Sep 2013 #2
karynnj Sep 2013 #28
Bluenorthwest Sep 2013 #36
Hekate Sep 2013 #49
Kber Sep 2013 #3
treestar Sep 2013 #4
bowens43 Sep 2013 #5
ProSense Sep 2013 #6
Abukhatar Sep 2013 #8
Cryptoad Sep 2013 #20
VanillaRhapsody Sep 2013 #30
Cha Sep 2013 #45
Hekate Sep 2013 #51
SidDithers Sep 2013 #15
grahamhgreen Sep 2013 #7
leftstreet Sep 2013 #9
MH1 Sep 2013 #16
grahamhgreen Sep 2013 #39
MNBrewer Sep 2013 #10
Nye Bevan Sep 2013 #11
MNBrewer Sep 2013 #12
ConservativeDemocrat Sep 2013 #37
MNBrewer Sep 2013 #38
ConservativeDemocrat Sep 2013 #59
heaven05 Sep 2013 #14
MNBrewer Sep 2013 #19
VanillaRhapsody Sep 2013 #31
Oilwellian Sep 2013 #35
Skittles Sep 2013 #42
JDPriestly Sep 2013 #13
DCBob Sep 2013 #17
on point Sep 2013 #18
SunSeeker Sep 2013 #24
on point Sep 2013 #29
SunSeeker Sep 2013 #40
on point Sep 2013 #43
SunSeeker Sep 2013 #55
phleshdef Sep 2013 #61
Cha Sep 2013 #46
SunSeeker Sep 2013 #56
Cha Sep 2013 #57
VanillaRhapsody Sep 2013 #33
Cha Sep 2013 #47
VanillaRhapsody Sep 2013 #50
Celefin Sep 2013 #21
MNBrewer Sep 2013 #32
Cryptoad Sep 2013 #22
Spitfire of ATJ Sep 2013 #23
Cha Sep 2013 #48
Spitfire of ATJ Sep 2013 #53
Cha Sep 2013 #54
Spitfire of ATJ Sep 2013 #58
another_liberal Sep 2013 #25
JoePhilly Sep 2013 #26
ZombieHorde Sep 2013 #27
Aerows Sep 2013 #34
joshcryer Sep 2013 #41
Cha Sep 2013 #44
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2013 #52
Scurrilous Sep 2013 #60

Response to cal04 (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 10:32 AM

1. That is my favorite aspect of Obama. Like a few other wise people he knows

It's not what you look like, when you're doin' what you're doin'
It's what you're doin' when you're doin' what you look like you're doin'!

It is a wisdom greater than most can recognize.

It's not what you look like, when you're doin' what you're doin'
It's what you're doin' when you're doin' what you look like you're doin'!

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 10:45 AM

2. I had not a clue ...

that he was bluffing.

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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 01:21 PM

28. He may not have been - and if he were - he would NEVER say so

From the beginning, the top think he and Kerry said was that there had to be a response. Note - it was not - there has to be a military response.

I suspect that the answer Kerry gave was the same answer privately given to Russia from day 1 - because it is so obvious - and Russia, not the US - had the leverage to make that the solution.

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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 02:51 PM

36. I don't think he was bluffing. Nor was he running some perfect plan. Those are midgrade

concepts. Obama at his best is better than those concepts. He's in the moment as the moment happens and as he said, not overly concerned with the style points. No one can plan down complex global politics in advance, but most will take a position and hold it no matter what the next moment brings. It takes the chops to remain fluid and not give a fuck if you have to 'sound bad' one day or 'appear to be playing catch up'. Not caring about the style points, or about whose idea started it or how much credit goes to whom is powerful sauce when a person has the ability to follow such paths.

But it is not over and to toast an un-won victory is such incredibly bad luck hubris stuff that I really will not say 'we avoided war' until it is well avoided and those chemical weapons are gone..

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #36)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 02:01 AM

49. Very well put, BlueNW

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 10:45 AM

3. Express yourself!

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 10:46 AM

4. I actually believe that is his focus and intent

That it not happen again.

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 10:47 AM

5. ‘I’m Less Concerned About Style Points’ I'm just happy Putin pulled my ass out of the fire

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Response to bowens43 (Reply #5)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 10:51 AM

6. Yeah, Putin snitched on his ally to save Obama.

Fabius, who arrived in Beijing Sunday morning and was due to head back to Paris later the same day, called the pact "a significant step forward" and said "important decisions need to be taken on Syria".

"Only a few days ago, Syria was denying having chemical weapons and having used them. From now on we are in a new phase," he said.


China welcomes US-Russia deal on Syria weapons
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023671026

Anyone who believes the spin that Syria having to admit to and give up its chemical arsenal in order to avoid a strike is a "win" for Assad or Putin is gullible.

Putin and Assad are trying save Assad's ass. That is not having an upperhand
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023657282

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Response to bowens43 (Reply #5)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 11:11 AM

8. sad you are more

concerned about scoring points on Obama you refuse to see the greater potential benefit

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Response to Abukhatar (Reply #8)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 12:41 PM

20. So many have underestimated Obama........ LMAO!

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #20)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 01:41 PM

30. I warned them not to...

I actually said "at your own peril"....and they laughed....but he who laughs last...laughs hardest!

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Response to Abukhatar (Reply #8)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 01:26 AM

45. One of the Posters Kids on here for "Nobody on here hates Obama".. lololol

lolol rofl.

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Response to Cha (Reply #45)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 02:05 AM

51. That was an Outstanding thread

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Response to bowens43 (Reply #5)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 12:09 PM

15. Haters gonna hate...nt

Sid

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 11:10 AM

7. Thank goodness he listened to reason, now if he'd only listen to us on free trade...

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #7)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 11:13 AM

9. and jobs, healthcare, wages... n/t

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #9)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 12:12 PM

16. Get a good jobs bill on his desk for his signature, and he'll sign it.

It's not Obama you have to worry about on that one.

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Response to MH1 (Reply #16)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 04:15 PM

39. Then why is he for the TPP, it will gut American jobs.

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 11:39 AM

10. What the fuck does that even mean?

"Style points"? Getting the policy right? You mean like threatening an illegal military action and behaving as though one is a loose cannon on the international stage? That's good policy?

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 11:49 AM

11. Surely it would have been better if Obama had promised from the outset to do squat

about Assad's use of chemical weapons. Assad would undoubtedly have been so touched by such pacifism that he would have turned them over voluntarily.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #11)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 11:53 AM

12. That's a lovely straw man you've constructed

There is a vast gulf of options between your ridiculous "do squat" characterization and threatening illegal acts of war.

I know that the Obama administration and many here on DU have been portraying those as the only POSSIBLE options between which to choose.

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #12)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 03:17 PM

37. I'm sure a sternly worded letter would have worked just as well...

...along with hand-wringing, tisk-tisking, and when the Assad's people kept gassing children, finding some way to to blame his actions on the United States and/or Israel, as people like you always do.

- C.D. Proud Member of the Reality Based Community

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Response to ConservativeDemocrat (Reply #37)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 03:22 PM

38. people like me. LOL

Conservative "Democrat"

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #38)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 11:57 AM

59. Poor child.

You can't think of anything to say, so you put scare-quotes around Democrat.

Yes. People like me, the center part of center-left, are the strength of the Democratic Party. Screaming fuck-wits who constantly bash Democrats, because reality never intrudes on their daydreams and insipid anti-Americanism are its weakness (if they vote for Democrats at all - instead of being Naderites who gave us Bush).

For the record, I'm happy that the President drew a line against innocent children being gassed to death, and took the necessary steps to keep it from happening again. And I'm quite confidant that if he hadn't taken the steps he did, would have seen more of real actual WMDs in the Syrian civil war.

- C.D. Proud Member of the Reality Based Community

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 12:07 PM

14. ???

geez On this one, get a clue.

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #14)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 12:34 PM

19. Here's one for YOU!

Threatening an illegal act of war = WRONG policy.

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 01:43 PM

31. who's cannons were loosed?

all I saw was cannons threatened...

walking softly...carrying a big stick...and not being afraid to use it if necessary.... IS good policy!

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 02:34 PM

35. Well, it's definitely been a stylish thing to do...

these past few decades.

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 10:31 PM

42. means let's not get specific on how it all came about

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 12:00 PM

13. I think that dropping a policy that is likely to fail when the opportunity arises to employ a better

policy is a sign of good character and an agile mind. I am grateful to Obama for being flexible and seizing and opportunity when one arises. This new policy could save many lives to say nothing of a lot of American tax money.

Good job, Mr. President.

If this does not work out, back to Plan A. But if it does work out, the world will be very grateful and a lot of Syrians will be thanking you for their lives.

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 12:15 PM

17. “If that goal is achieved, then it sounds to me like we did something right"

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 12:23 PM

18. I'm critical he went military bully first, but agree with statement sentiments

Good result on the offing now just pursue this via legal channels (UN, Haugue) to build up institutions and process

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Response to on point (Reply #18)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 12:56 PM

24. He did not go "military bully first" --Russia has been blocking UN action against Syria.

After 2 years of diplomatic efforts being blocked by Russia and China, and things going from bad to worse (gassing of 400 children), Obama finally proposed a limited strike to hit Assad's CW launching capabilities. And that was when Russia finally came to Jesus.

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #24)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 01:30 PM

29. The US DOES NOT have the right to attack anyone it wants. Syria is not a threat to US

Attacking it would be a war crime, just like attacking Iraq was. The Security council may be block now, but that is the legal pathway. Work on institutional problems identified, but use the machinery to make it stronger

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Response to on point (Reply #29)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 10:22 PM

40. You admit that the Security Council has been blocking our efforts to address Syria...

so you were obviously wrong when you claimed that Obama went "military bully first." The threat of military force was a last resort after two years of blocked efforts...and one that finally forced Russia to engage in ridding Syria of CW. It is a good result, yet you found a reason to complain about these hopeful developments, using false assertions about Obama.

And you are wrong about Syria's use of chemical weapons not being a threat to us. Fighting chemical weapons use is in our national interest.

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #40)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 10:35 PM

43. It is not our job to police Syria. That is for the UN to do

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Response to on point (Reply #43)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 02:38 AM

55. We're not policing Syria. Neither is the UN. nt

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Response to on point (Reply #43)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 12:58 PM

61. We are part of the UN and probably the most important part.

And if the UN HAD been able to pass a resolution of force, you do realize that would mean we would still be using our military to bomb Syria right?

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #24)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 01:41 AM

46. See how it is, Sunseeker.. they get in on the tail end of

negotiations and think they know everything there is to know about it.. and don't mind spouting off about it on the internet.

EarlG got it on 9/11/13 or thereabouts.



http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=3673218

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Response to Cha (Reply #46)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 02:45 AM

56. Yes, I guess that post is a fine example of "A" on Earl's pic.

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #56)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 02:50 AM

57. EarlG knows his

DU.

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Response to on point (Reply #18)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 01:46 PM

33. Theodore Roosevelt's motto

As you know the phrase originated with Theodore Roosevelt. The first reference of the phrase by Roosevelt was in a letter to Henry L. Sprague (January 26, 1900). The following is from American Treasures of the Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trm139.html) -

This letter contains what is thought to be the first recorded use of the phrase "Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick," which was later to become a trademark description of Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy. Here, Roosevelt, then New York’s governor, waxes happily in the knowledge that he has forced the state’s Republican leaders to abandon their support for the renomination of the corrupt Louis Payne as the state’s insurance commissioner.
.
Wikipeidia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Stick_Diplomacy) Says Roosevelt got the term from a West African proverb, "Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far". There are other sources which say the phrase originate with Roosevelt himself. The following is from Phrase Finder (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/329050.html) -

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Response to VanillaRhapsody (Reply #33)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 01:52 AM

47. Thank you for this, VR.. that phrase has been going through

my mind for over a week now.

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Response to Cha (Reply #47)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 02:04 AM

50. Your welcome...

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 12:42 PM

21. Breaching international law now is reduced to 'style points'

How is this going to help prevent breaches of 'international norms' and accompanying atrocities in the future?

The Bush junta at least put on an entertaining show at the UN and got a very elastic resolution out of it to cover the breach it was about to commit. That didn't exactly turn DU into a fan-club back then.

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Response to Celefin (Reply #21)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 01:46 PM

32. Yup...

the Prez is too cool for school, I guess

*sigh*

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 12:42 PM

22. Thank you Mr President! nt

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 12:45 PM

23. Okay, that was a cool way to slap down the DC Villagers....

You have to remember that whole "red line" comment was a YEAR ago. The DC Villagers like Chris Mathews dragged it up as if Obama had absolutely NO CHOICE but to invade Syria after chemical weapons were used because THOSE ARE THE RULES.

He actually said that if Obama DIDN'T invade that "He's finished as Commander In Chief".

We all know about the FOX "News" bubble but the DC bubble is even WORSE. Especially after Reagan turned the office of the President into a sales office. The entire attitude is the President's job is to sell his policies to the people and the congress and the idea of CHANGING a policy to fit the circumstance is simply NOT DONE. What's admired in DC is to stand firm and be the most stubborn asshole in the world DESPITE the facts going against you.

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #23)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 01:59 AM

48. Brawawawaaaa @ Tweety.. I can fully believe he said that..

"He actually said that if Obama DIDN'T invade that "He's finished as Commander In Chief".

And, isn't he suppose to be some kind of genius political analyst?

lol.. "What's admired in DC is to stand firm and be the most stubborn asshole in the world DESPITE the facts going against you."

We saw that way too up close and personal with Dubyadown the decider.. who Tweety swooned at when he came out with "Mission Accomlished "

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Response to Cha (Reply #48)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 02:19 AM

53. "isn't he suppose to be some kind of genius political analyst?"

His choice for President in '08 was Rudy Giuliani who he admired for cracking down on the homeless so phone booths in New York didn't smell like pee. It was on an episode of Imus and he also said, "America wants a little bit of fascism."

http://mediamatters.org/research/2007/02/07/saying-the-country-wants-a-little-bit-of-fascis/137970

He has a father figure fetish that extends into an admiration for authoritarianism. Probably from his prior experience as a choir boy. That was evident with the way he swooned over Fred Thompson who he described lovingly thus:

Does have sex appeal? … Gene, do you think there’s a sex appeal for this guy, this sort of mature, older man, you know? … Can you smell the English leather on this guy, the Aqua Velva, the sort of mature man’s shaving cream, or whatever, you know, after he shaved? Do you smell that sort of — a little bit of cigar smoke?


http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2007/06/14/13950/matthews-probes-thompsons-smell-sex-appeal/

Oh yeah,...he's a real genius all right...

The only purpose he serves is to act as a window on the worse of the worse of the DC Villagers.

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #53)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 02:29 AM

54. Rofl.. there could be whole volumes written on

Last edited Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:49 PM - Edit history (1)

Failed Tweetyisms!

"America wants a little bit of fascism." Guess not. Tweety wants it.

"Does have sex appeal? … Gene, do you think there’s a sex appeal for this guy, this sort of mature, older man, you know? … Can you smell the English leather on this guy, the Aqua Velva, the sort of mature man’s shaving cream, or whatever, you know, after he shaved? Do you smell that sort of — a little bit of cigar smoke?"

Fred Thompson gives any sane person gag reflex.. next?

Thanks for the on the Tweetyster, Spitfire.


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Response to Cha (Reply #54)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 11:20 AM

58. He was talking to Gene Robertson at the time who looked like he thought Tweety was coming out...

http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/06/matthewsaquavelv5.320.240.flv

Poor Ann Marie Cox on the panel unable to keep a straight face. Meanwhile, the well scrubbed white boy Republican was more than willing to agree with the Tweetster.

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 01:08 PM

25. Even though it's made from lemons . . .

President Obama's Syrian lemonade tastes far better than Republican war koolaid ever did.

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 01:14 PM

26. Great way to handle all of the theater criticisim.

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 01:16 PM

27. I just glad we're not bombing a new country. nt

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #27)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 01:51 PM

34. You and me both

that's really all that matters when it comes down to it.

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 10:26 PM

41. Style / image is all some care about thanks to commodity fetishism.

Obama always had options to do the right thing without "looking bad."

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 01:19 AM

44. As well he should. That's just media speculative bullshit.

That doesn't have a clue what went down. They're too busy looking for their next "Scamdal"..


mahalo cal

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 02:12 AM

52. As he should. Crisis diplomacy is a seat of pants affair.

Though graduate students in fifty years should have fun, when all this is declassified.

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Response to cal04 (Original post)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 12:51 PM

60. K & R

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