First, it came out in July that Barack Obama hadn’t held a meeting of his jobs council since January — because he “has obviously got a lot on his plate,” according to the White House. Now, the Washington Post’s Marc Thiessen reports that Obama was also too busy to attend more than half of the daily national-security intelligence briefings:
President Obama is touting his foreign policy experience on the campaign trail, but startling new statistics suggest that national security has not necessarily been the personal priority the president makes it out to be. It turns out that more than half the time, the commander in chief does not attend his daily intelligence meeting.
The Government Accountability Institute examined President Obama’s schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) — the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country. During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times — or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent — falling to just over 38 percent. By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.
Thiessen goes on to quote National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, who pushes back on the importance of attending the meetings versus simply reading the briefing and says, “The president gets the information he needs from the intelligence community each day.”