Tags: obama | stumbles

Obama Stumbles Out of the Gate

Monday, 19 Jan 2009 04:46 PM

By Jim Meyers

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Barack Obama has yet to be sworn in as president, but he’s already been bedeviled by a series of miscues and unfortunate revelations.

Among them:

  • Obama named Timothy Geithner as his Treasury secretary, only to find out that Geithner had failed to pay $34,000 in taxes several years ago.

    Geithner, who in his post would be the head of the IRS, did not pay self-employment taxes for money he earned from 2001 to 2004 while working for the International Monetary Fund.

    He paid some of the taxes in 2006, after an IRS audit, but it wasn't until days before Obama tapped him to head Treasury that he paid back the rest.

  • New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew his nomination to be Obama's commerce secretary amid a grand jury investigation.

    The jury is investigating how a California company that contributed to Richardson's political activities won a New Mexico state contract worth more than $1 billion.

  • The arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was an embarrassment to Obama, whose ties to the governor run primarily through Chicago slum lord and felon Tony Rezko.

    Rezko served as the political godfather for both Blagojevich and Obama, helping both to rise in Chicago and Illinois politics. Obama himself has credited Rezko with helping bolster his political career.

    Rezko raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for both politicians.

    The FBI charges that Blagojevich conspired to sell the Illinois Senate seat vacated by Obama.

  • Obama personally endorsed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s stance against seating Roland Burris to replace Obama in the Senate after Burris was appointed by scandal-scarred Gov. Blagojevich.

    But Obama and Reid eventually had to back down, and Obama conceded that when the Senate seats Burris “I’m going to work with Roland Burris just like I work with all the other senators.”

  • Obama’s choice for Attorney General, Eric Holder, acknowledged that he made mistakes in the 2001 pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich when Holder was Clinton’s deputy attorney general.

    Rich's wife was a major donor to the Democratic Party and to Clinton's library. Holder urged Rich's lawyer to solicit a pardon directly from the White House.

    Holder has also been criticized for his role in the April 2000 government raid that led to the return of a Cuban boy, Elian Gonzales, to his homeland, and for the pardons of 16 Puerto Rican nationalists responsible for a series of bombings that killed six people and injured dozens more.

  • Obama’s appointment of Leon Panetta as the new CIA director drew howls of protest from Sen. Diane Feinstein, chair of the Senate intelligence committee.

    Panetta has no experience with the intelligence community, and Feinstein issued a statement making it clear she preferred a career intelligence professional.

  • Reports surfaced that Obama’s choice to be his global warming czar, former EPA administrator Carol Browner, was listed as one of 14 leaders of a socialist group's Commission for a Sustainable World Society.

    The organization calls for "global governance" and says rich countries must shrink their economies to address climate change, according to the Washington Times.

  • Obama was also criticized for his appointment of Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as secretary of Homeland Security.

    “He could have selected a Rudy Giuliani or a Louis Free or a Ray Kelly — anyone with real life experience in battling terrorists,” political analyst Dick Morris observed.

    “Instead he chose a governor with no knowledge of the subject whose obvious credential is her proximity to the border.”

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