When Reggie Love, President Obama’s ex-assistant, revealed in an interview that the president left the Situation Room during the bin Laden raid to play 15 games of Spades with Love and a few others, the revelation threatened the White House’s carefully crafted mythology surrounding that night. Thursday morning, though, it was Norah O’Donnell and Charlie Rose of CBS News to the rescue of that mythology.
After broadcasting video of Love’s comments on CBS This Morning, co-hosts O’Donnell and Rose immediately dropped every pretense of being objective journalists to spin the news and pre-empt critics:
O’DONNELL: That video from the event was just posted online this week. 15 games of spade (sic) – it was a long raid that was cared out. It took a long way – that operation. And clearly, the President, I think, needed to take a break. But I think some people are going to take that headline out of context today.
CHARLIE ROSE: I take out of that – I want the President to do whatever he needs to do to clear his mind, so he can make the most effective decision he can.
O’DONNELL: Right. That was clearly a tension-filled day.
The image America was given of the bin Laden raid was burned in our minds with a White House photo that showed Obama intensely watching the operation unfold. Love’s revelation undermines that. Now we know Obama couldn’t or didn’t want to deal with the pressure and, for at least part of the operation, had to let off some steam with 15 card games. I personally don’t find the news all that undermining to the president, but it does alter you perception of a president on-the-scene and taking charge.
Regardless, instead of merely reporting the news and shutting up, here are Norah and Charlie playing Palace Guard — running out on the field to defend Their Guy even before the criticism has begun.
This was also a way to signal to the rest of the media that…. Today on the Narrative Plantation you will all assume the following position!
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC