Earlier this week, while speaking at a tech conference in Las Vegas, former president Barack Obama once again repeated the fiction that his administration was scandal-free. Newsweek reported on the event:
President Barack Obama took a light swing at his successor during a tech conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday. His eight years in office were scandal free, he told the audience.
“I didn’t have scandals, which seems like it shouldn’t be something you brag about,” Obama joked.
President Donald Trump’s presidency has thus far been racked with scandalous allegations, but Obama later hedged his barb. “But actually,” he said, “if you look at the history of the modern presidency, coming out of the modern presidency without anybody going to jail is really good. It’s a big deal.”
Obama has made this claim several times in the past as have various Obama administration alumni. This most recent claim comes on the heels of the revelations that the Obama administration spied on Trump’s campaign. The worst thing about the article is how Obama’s claim that he “didn’t have scandals” went virtually unchallenged by Newsweek political reporter Nicole Goodkind, who wrote the article. Naturally, I confronted her about this on Twitter, and she replied: “If you read the article I mention that he had scandals!”
What does the article say about Obama’s scandals? Not much:
The former president’s foes would disagree with that analysis, pointing to the 2012 Benghazi attack, his failure to close Guantanamo Bay, an IRS plan to scrutinize tax-exempt political groups based on the particulars of their politics and problems with the Affordable Care Act website.
Goodkind gave a mere 44 words to address Obama’s scandals, and this is a pathetic list at that. First of all, Obama’s failure to close Gitmo wasn’t a scandal. It was a broken campaign promise that his “foes” didn’t want him to fulfill anyway. Goodkind also went to extraordinary lengths to water down the few scandals she felt compelled to mention. She couldn’t even write the words that Obama’s IRS targeted conservative groups for improper scrutiny before the 2012 election season and then covered it up until after the 2014 midterms.
So, what other scandals did Goodkind neglect to mention? I documented 30+ scandals in my book The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama. A quick scan of the table of contents of my book would have given Goodkind a large selection of scandals to prove just how laughable Obama’s “scandal-free” claim is. She could have mentioned the Senate seat for sale scandal (often referred to as BlagoGate) where Obama was involved in illegal negotiations with Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich to nominate an Obama-preferred candidate to fill his vacated Senate seat in exchange for a cabinet position for Blagojevich. Or how about how the fact that the Obama/Holder Justice Department dropped a slam-dunk case against the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation on Election Day 2008? Or the slush fund scandal where the Obama administration negotiated huge settlements for big banks for their role in the subprime mortgage crisis, then gave them incentives to donate to left-wing groups to reduce their settlement obligations? The Fast and Furious scandal is another great one she missed, which perhaps makes sense because the Obama administration was directly at fault for bringing guns into Mexico that were involved in the shooting death of a Border Patrol agent. As a reporter, Goodkind also forgot to mention that the Obama administration spied on members of the media, and abused the Espionage Act to target reporters and their sources. There’s also the massive cover-up of the thousands of deaths of veterans who died waiting for care from VA hospitals due to an increasing backlog of claims. Another juicy scandal was the manipulation of intelligence to meet Obama’s public rhetoric on the War on Terror, the Iran ransom scandal, Uranium One, Project Cassandra, and several others a political reporter at Newsweek ought to be aware of. All of these and many more are documented in my book along with details about how the media downplayed or outright ignored each of them.
And that’s really what this Newsweek article has done—downplayed or ignored Obama’s scandals by giving trivial lip service to what “the former president’s foes” consider scandals. Goodkind may have mentioned Benghazi, but failed to acknowledge the real scandal was how the administration falsely blamed the attack on a YouTube video, and actively denied that it was a pre-planned, coordinated terrorist attack in order to protect Obama prior to the 2012 election.
Heck, in the past week, we’ve learned that the Obama administration had a spy embedded in the Trump campaign. It’s bad enough that Obama feels comfortable repeatedly claiming to have been scandal-free, but why is the media letting him get away with these claims? We expect Obama to lie, but the media is supposed to hold our leaders accountable. They didn’t while Obama was president, and they’re still covering for him now, and if we don’t expose the truth now, Obama’s scandal-plagued presidency will be forgotten.
Matt Margolis is the author of the new book, The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis