Being a Democrat Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

Sunday, 12 Jan 2014 06:20 PM

By Greg Richter

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spent almost two hours apologizing at a press conference in Trenton before taking the hour-plus drive to Fort Lee to apologize face-to-face to the mayor for traffic snarls caused by members of his staff.

Christie used the word "apologize" 21 times and said "I'm sorry" three times in the press conference where he addressed the scandal embroiling his administration. He also fired his deputy chief of staff and distanced himself from other associates who were behind lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in September.

That hasn't gone unnoticed by Republicans who point out that President Barack Obama hasn't been as forthcoming on the multiple scandals that have occurred on his watch.

"America's a forgiving people. But they're forgiving when you take ownership, you admit mistakes, you take corrective action. And that's what Chris Christie showed," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Sunday on "Meet the Press."

"He stood there for 111 minutes in open dialogue with the press. Now, only if Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would give us 111 seconds of that would we find out some things we want to find out about Obamacare, Benghazi, the IRS."

Christie trusted people who lied to him, Priebus said, and he fired them. Obama, on the other hand, "doubles down on Eric Holder. He doubles down on Hillary Clinton and Lois Lerner and Susan Rice," Priebus said.

The House of Representatives voted in July 2012 to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in civil and criminal contempt of Congress over withholding information from the investigation of the bungled Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation.

But there has been no punishment, and the administration is still trying to keep the documents out of Congress' hands. As recently as November an Obama-appointed U.S. District Court Judge refused to grant the White House it's request to dismiss the case without first hearing it.

After the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, Obama's U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice went on all five Sunday talk shows and called the attacks a spontaneous response to an anti-Muslim video made by someone in the United States. The State Department and intelligence community determined that the attack was a pre-planned by Muslim extremists, but the administration continued for weeks to hold onto the video story. A recent New York Times article made the same claim.

After it became clear that the State Department had ignored requests from Ambassador Chris Stevens for more security, the White House blamed the lack of response on mid-level State Department officials. Stevens and three other Americans died in the Benghazi attacks.

The Benghazi attack happened during the heat of re-election, but even after Obama won a second term, a series of scandals broke in mid-2013. Few apologies were offered, and even then they were less than the "heartbroken" words offered by Christie, who called his staffers "stupid" and "deceitful."

When the IRS targeted tea party and other conservative groups for added scrutiny, the administration initially blamed "rogue agents" at the Cincinnati office. Lois Lerner, head of the division that handles tax-exempt groups, retired in September, after being placed on paid leave.

Obama said he knew nothing of the IRS's actions. He said the same of the NSA spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel or that the HealthCare.gov website wouldn't be ready to function properly when it was set to go live on Oct. 1.

He initially said he did not know people would not be able to keep health insurance plans they liked, though he had promised repeatedly and unequivocally that they could. After media outlets began airing clips of him repeating the promise, Obama took to the microphone to clarify, "What we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed."

His administration then began to blame insurance companies for offering "bad apple" plans and making changes to plans since the law's enactment in 2010.

When that didn't work, Obama finally sat down with NBC News, saying of people who had lost plans they liked "I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me." His words sounded more like he was sympathizing than apologizing.

In the case of the Obamacare website rollout, he let Kathleen Sebelius, his secretary of Health and Human Services, do the mea culpa.

Christie noted in November that Obama should do more than just apologize for the botched Heathcare.gov website. He should also confront the issue of people not getting to keep their doctors and plans, he told "Face the Nation" just after winning re-election.

Rep. Adama Kinzinger, R-Ill., said on ABC's "This Week" that Christie "took the bull by the horns" and fired people.

Kinzinger said that is a big difference from the way Obama handled things.

"Whether it's the IRS, whether it's Benghazi, whether it's 'You can keep your health insurance if you want it.' Nobody's been fired over that," he said.

In fact, Obama appointed Susan Rice his national security adviser, a move some critics said would allow her to claim "executive privilege" if asked to testify about Benghazi. Lerner was placed on paid leave before retiring and no one has been fired over the Obamacare rollout.






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