One of the hallmarks of the Obama Administration has been a pass-the-buck mentality where President Barack Obama rarely claims responsibility for scandals or failures. In 2013, this trend continued, with federal agencies, political allies, servicemembers, and even whole countries thrown under Obama’s bus.
After sequester cuts took effect, President Obama explained to ABC News in March that the decision to cancel White House tours was ultimately made by the Secret Service and not by the White House, adding his administration attempted to look for ways to continue White House tours for school groups.
“This was not a decision that went up to the White House,” said Obama.”What I’m asking them is: are there ways, for example, for us to accommodate school groups who may have traveled here with some bake sales? Can we make sure that kids potentially can still come to tour?”
“What the Secret Service explained to us was that they were going to furlough some folks,” Obama explained. “What furloughs mean is people are going to lose a day of work and a day of pay, and the question for them is how deeply do they have to furlough their staff and is it worth it to make sure that we got White House tours if it means you have a whole bunch of families who are depending on a paycheck who are suddenly seeing a 5 or 10 percent reduction in their pay?”
President Obama announced in May that acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steve Miller, resigned following reports that IRS staffers engaged in partisan activity that unfairly targeted conservative organizations who attempted to attain tax-exempt status.
The president stated he directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to accept Miller’s resignation saying he wanted to “make sure nothing like this ever happens again” by holding individuals accountable.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was given a backhanded farewell by President Obama in June and market analysts quickly picked up on the remarks made by Obama. In a PBS interview with Charlie Rose, Obama suggested he would not renominate Bernanke saying, “I think Ben Bernanke’s done an outstanding job. Ben Bernanke’s a little bit like Bob Mueller, the head of the FBI, where he’s already stayed a lot longer than he wanted or he was supposed to.”
Jim Cramer said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that Obama’s comments regarding Bernanke “amounted to a presidential tweet about removing the Fed chairman, something that was done with little thought about the impact this comment would have on the markets.”
In early July, the Egyptian people–with the support of its military–overthrew Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government. President Obama and his administration urged the Egyptian military to hand over control of the country back to the civilian regime saying he was “deeply concerned” by the military’s actions to take down Morsi and suspend Egypt’s constitution. Obama then ordered the U.S. government to look into the United States’ foreign aid to Egypt. U.S. law bans foreign aid to be distributed to any country whose elected leader is toppled in a coup d’etat.
“I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsi and his supporters,” Obama said.
Where was Vice President Joe Biden all year? Biden appeared to be absent all of 2013, and by July, Washington Times columnist Charlie Hurt noticed the Vice President was nowhere to be seen on the official White House photo page one week. He writes:
The picture posted this week on the official White House photo page says it all. Obama and Clinton sitting at a picnic table for a private lunch in the bushes–just one-on-one. Both are relaxed and laughing. Obama is demurring, looking down. Clinton is dominating confidently, gazing directly at Obama with a pleasant smile on her face.
The White House message is clear: this is a woman who is so capable, so in charge and so likable, she might even be a better president than the current one.
So where is Biden? Virtually nowhere, at least if you are looking for him in pictures on the White House’s official photo stream.
Sure, in the early years, Biden made it into plenty of official pictures, especially when Obama still needed him for re-election. But now? They are not even faking it.
In a review of more than 100 of the most recently posted official pictures, Biden cannot be found but four or five times. One was just posted Tuesday, the first picture of Biden to make the feed since June 13.
Vogue editor Anna Wintour dutifully fundraised for President Obama’s re-election campaign and, according to reports, Wintour was hoping the fruits of her labor would result in getting appointed U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. However, while her efforts helped Obama return to the White House in November of 2012, the U.K. ambassadorship went to Matthew W. Barzun in July. Shelby Bryan, Wintour’s longtime partner, told the Daily Telegraph “a little bit of male chauvinism” was the reason why Obama snubbed Wintour for the coveted spot.
Immediately following the government shutdown, the White House ordered that all open-air memorials be closed to the public. However, older veterans–many in wheelchairs, were previously scheduled to visit Washington D.C.’s World War II memorial.
The White House rejected a request from Steven Palazzo (R-MS) to allow the veterans to visit the memorial. Regardless of the barricades placed around the monument by Park Services, veterans and Republican congressmen removed the barriers to visit the site.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) posted on his Facebook page in late October that a House GOP leader told President Obama that the Republican “cannot even stand to look at” the president during a recent negotiation over the government shutdown and raising the nation’s debt ceiling. However, immediately following that claim, White House Press Secretary jay Carney denied the incident ever happened. Business Insider reported:
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner was baffled by Durbin’s allegation.
“The Speaker certainly didn’t say that, and doesn’t recall anyone else doing so,” Michael Steel, Boehner’s spokesman, said in an email Wednesday morning.
Brendan Buck, also a Boehner spokesman, released a statement after Carney’s remarks.
“Senator Durbin’s accusation is a serious one, and it appears to have been invented out of thin air,” Buck said. “The senator should disclose who told him this account of events, retract his reckless allegation immediately, and apologize.”
The White House released a statement calling the information exchange between Durbin and a White House official a “misunderstanding.” Durbin continued to stand by his statements, though, and raised money off the questionable remarks. The number two Democrat in the upper chamber, however, eventually did relent, posting the following on his Facebook page:
I appreciate this clarification from the White House that explains recent conflicting reports on the GOP quote. It is important now to move beyond the unfortunate events of the last few weeks and work together constructively so that we’re not faced with another shutdown showdown or debt-ceiling debacle.
Four sources actively involved in the creation of Obamacare told NBC News that the Obama administration knew for at least three years that millions of Americans would lose their health insurance despite a repeated campaign pitch by Obama himself that Americans could keep their present plans after the passage and implementation of the new health care law. The White House argued those who lost their insurance will be offered better coverage from the Obamacare exchanges instead, and that many Americans can get tax subsidies that offset increased costs.
Israel was shocked by the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran in late November. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal a “historic mistake” that would place Israel and other nations around it in danger. Initially agreed upon in Geneva between Iran and the P5 plus 1, the deal releases about $4 billion in Iranian oil sales revenue from frozen accounts as well as lifts restrictions on Iran’s trade in gold, petrochemicals, and vehicle parts. Iran, in turn, will be expected to restrict its nuclear activities. The deal was reached over the past year and was only revealed to the Israelis in the last two months.