Ann Compton on Obama: He Launches ‘Profanity-Laced’ Tirades Against Press

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Ann Compton on Obama: He Launches ‘Profanity-Laced’ Tirades Against Press

The journalist, who retired in August after a 40-year career, revealed to C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb: “I have seen in the last year Barack Obama really angry twice. Both were off-the-record times. One, profanity-laced where he thought the press was making too much of scandals that he did not think were scandals.” [MP3 audio here.]

She explained, “And I don’t find him apologetic. But I find him willing to stand up to the press and look them in the eye, even though it was off the record and just give us hell.”

After Lamb wondered if the President had a point, she chided, “We cover what we are allowed to cover. And when policy decisions and presidents are inaccessible and don’t take questions from the press on a regular basis, I think they reap what they sow.”

Despite Obama’s apparent rage against the press, he hasn’t had much to complain about. The Media Research Center documented how journalists covered-up his failures and scandals.

Earlier in the hour-long C-SPAN interview, which aired on Sunday night, but was recorded in October, Compton slammed the “opaque” administration:

ANN COMPTON: Before I walked out the door on September 10, I was a strong voice for complaining that this particular administration has been more opaque than any I have covered about what the President does in the Oval Office everyday. He is far less accessible on photo-ops with meetings. Even some meetings on the record, meeting in the Roosevelt room with financial leaders from, from Wall Street or on issues with environmental groups, or with issues with environmental groups, with public opinion leaders, I think most presidents have been far more forthcoming than the second Obama term, in terms of what the President is doing every day and we almost never get photo-ops.

She added that it’s fine for the White House to take its own photographs, but “those same elements should not be blocked from the White House press corps.”

Interestingly, on Compton’s last day in August, the President called on her for a final question. She chose to ask about the police shooting in Ferguson, not the concerns she expressed to C-SPAN.

(H/T to Heritage’s Mike Gonzalez for first noticing Compton’s comments and tweeting about them.)

A partial transcript of the October 30 segment is below:

ANN COMPTON: Before I walked out the door on September 10, I was a strong voice for complaining that this particular administration has been more opaque than any I have covered about what the President does in the Oval Office everyday. He is far less accessible on photo-ops with meetings. Even some meetings on the record, meeting in the Roosevelt room with financial leaders from, from Wall Street or on issues with environmental groups, or with issues with environmental groups, with public opinion leaders, I think most presidents have been far more forthcoming than the second Obama term, in terms of what the President is doing every day and we almost never get photo-ops. 

I think I went through a time of three or four months where I was never in the Oval Office once on my pool day. Part of this may be that the President feels a little bit on the ropes. His job approval rating is down to 40 percent consistently for the last couple of years since his reelection. He also has his own tools. He is the first president with his own journalistic tools. They’ve all had photographers. He has his own videographers. He has a newscast on Friday mornings on WhiteHouse.gov. It is anchored by his former deputy, now press secretary, Josh Earnest. I think it is fine if the President of the United States wants to present his own version of what he did all week. Most of it is behind the scenes shots of him with Supreme Court justices and leaders coming in from Wall Street. It is fine that he puts it on the internet and that everybody can see it. Those same elements should not be blocked from the White House press corps.

54 minutes in

[Recounting her experiences dealing with presidents.]

COMPTON: Every president is a human being as well as a president. And I’m often asked for favorite moments. Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait. George Herbert Walker Bush goes to Camp David and convenes his war cabinet, comes back tot he White House. He stops in front of my camera and says, the Arab world is united against Saddam Hussein. I blurt out, “Mr. President, Arab leaders like King Hussein have flown to Baghdad and embraced him. President Bush barked at me and said, “I can read. What’s your question?” The next day, before  before he sends American troops to the war, he writes me a letter, saying, he was not pleased with his answers to me. below his signature, GB, is initials, he drew a happy face wearing a frown. Imagine the president of the United States taking a moment in history like that to apologize to the press.

55:50

LAMB: So, off of that experience, how many other presidents were that aware of what they said to you and how many just did not pay attention at all and you had no personal reaction from them?

COMPTON: I think most presidents realize – had a personal connection. I don’t think they ever — we were ever in a confrontation-type moment where they felt the need to apologize. I have seen in the last year Barack Obama really angry twice. Both were off-the-record times. One, profanity-laced where he thought the press was making too much of scandals that he did not think were scandals. Another where he took us to task for not understanding the limits he has with foreign policy and the way he’s dealing with the Middle East and Iraq, and Afghanistan. And I don’t find him apologetic. But I find him willing to stand up to the press and look them in the eye, even though it was off the record and just give us hell. 

LAMB: Does he have a point?

COMPTON: From his point of view, he may. But we cover what we are allowed to cover. And when policy decisions and presidents are inaccessible and don’t take questions from the press on a regular basis, I think they get — they reap what they sow.

CLAIM: OBAMA CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR ATTACKED ROMNEY WITH LEAKED IRS DOCS

CLAIM: OBAMA CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR ATTACKED ROMNEY WITH LEAKED IRS DOCS


One of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign co-chairmen used a leaked document from the IRS to attack GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the 2012 election, according to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

NOM, a pro-traditional marriage organization, claims the IRS leaked their 2008 confidential financial documents to the rival Human Rights Campaign. Those NOM documents were published on the Huffington Post on March 30, 2012. At that time, Joe Solmonese, a left-wing activist and Huffington Post contributor, was the president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Solmonese was also a 2012 Obama campaign co-chairman.

Both the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein and HRC described the leak as coming from a “whistleblower.” The Huffington Post used the document to write a story questioning former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s support for traditional marriage. The document showed Romney donated $10,000 to NOM. HRC went a step further than the Huffington Post in its criticism of Romney and accused him of using “racially divisive tactics” in a press release.

Solmonese, then still the HRC’s president, said in the release he felt Romney’s “funding of a hate-filled campaign designed to drive a wedge between Americans is beyond despicable.”

“Not only has Romney signed NOM’s radical marriage pledge, now we know he’s one of the donors that NOM has been so desperate to keep secret all these years,” Solmonese added.

Solmonese resigned his position at HRC the next day and took up a position as an Obama campaign co-chair. He had announced the then-pending resignation from HRC the previous autumn.

NOM announced Tuesday that it will sue the IRS for this alleged leak. Under immense political pressure, Attorney General Eric Holder launched a criminal investigation into the IRS’s actions. Congress will conduct ts own investigation.

In early April 2012, NOM published documents which it said showed this leaked confidential information did not come from a “whistleblower” but “came directly from the Internal Revenue Service and was provided to NOM’s political opponents, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).”

NOM discovered that when HRC published its confidential financial documents, it failed to conceal the source of the documents. “After software removed the layers obscuring the document, it is shown that the document came from the Internal Revenue Service,” NOM asserted in its April 2012 release.

“The top of each page says, ‘THIS IS A COPY OF A LIVE RETURN FROM SMIPS. OFFICIAL USE ONLY,’” the statement continues. “On each page of the return is stamped a document ID of ‘100560209.’ Only the IRS would have the Form 990 with ‘Official Use’ information.”

NOM president Brian Brown argued in that April 2012 release that the leak was made to benefit President Obama’s re-election campaign against Romney, his GOP challenger. “The American people are entitled to know how a confidential tax return containing private donor information filed exclusively with the Internal Revenue Service has been given to our political opponents whose leader also happens to be co-chairing President Obama’s reelection committee,” Brown said.

“It is shocking that a political ally of President Obama’s would come to possess and then publicly release a confidential tax return that came directly from the Internal Revenue Service,” he declared. “We demand to know who is responsible for this criminal act and what the Administration is going to do to get to the bottom of it.”