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Obama’s Partisan Jabs Overlooked


Former Time White House correspondent John Dickerson found the Obama speech confusing over at Slate, and he noticed what most network anchors and reporters ignored — the partisan jabs:

Obama’s tone was methodical and emotionless. He often sounded like a reluctant warrior. He told the West Point students about signing condolence letters and greeting coffins arriving at Dover. “As your commander in chief, I owe you a mission that is clearly defined, and worthy of your service,” said Obama. There were repeated references in the speech to the honor of their service.

The president said twice that he didn’t take his decision “lightly.” This seemed like an obvious shot at Dick Cheney and other critics who had complained that he had taken too long to make his final decision. (On the day of the speech, the former vice president claimed that Obama had shown “weakness.”) Obama also spent considerable time reminding his audience about the troubled history of the Afghan war since the attacks of 9/11, implying that if Bush and Cheney had taken a little more time during the first seven years of the war, there would be no need for him to be giving the speech — or sending more troops into danger.

I didn’t see a line of questioning today in Joe Biden’s round-robin of network TV interviews about the fact that Obama is hardly changing the tone in Washington or bringing all sides together with that kind of rhetoric. Instead, CBS’s Harry Smith asked John McCain if Obama succeeded in his attempt to ”rekindle the flame of unity among the American people.”


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