The Curious Case of Obama’s Cancelled State Dinner In Saudi Arabia

king abdullah obama

The official word from the State Dept. is that the president’s trip to Saudi Arabia to “ease tensions”  over US foreign policy in Egypt, Syria and Iran, brought the Americans and Saudis closer together, but there are indicators that things did not go terribly well. Reportedly, King Abdulah did not dispatch  “top royals” to the airport to greet Obama when he came in, nor were any sent to see him off. A state dinner that was planned, was called off, and after only a two hour talk, Obama left the king’s desert oasis outside the capital of Riyadh.

Scott Simon of KCBX Central Coast Public Radio interviewed the Wall Street Journal’s Ellen Knickmeyer, one of the reporters who was in Saudi Arabia covering the trip.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I’m Scott Simon. And President Obama is on his way home on Air Force One after a quick trip to Saudi Arabia. The president met with Saudi Arabia’s aging monarch, King Abdullah. Last night and today he met with the Saudi woman who won a U.S. State Department Women of Courage Award. We’re going to turn now to Ellen Knickmeyer, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. She’s in Riyad. Thanks so much for being with us.

ELLEN KNICKMEYER: Yeah. It’s my pleasure, Scott.

SIMON: You know, the Saudis and the U.S. have had so many disagreements publicly in recent years. They thought that the U.S. was wrong not to stand by Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, that the U.S. has been wrong not to arm rebels in Syria, who are trying to replace Bashar al-Assad. Did you see any signs that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have narrowed their differences this week?

KNICKMEYER: You know, that’s exactly what the Americans say happened. They say the trip brought the Americans and Saudis closer together. Saudi, the government, the royals don’t really share much of their state-level affairs with the public. So, Saudis are still trying to figure out how it went on the Saudi side. But there’s not a lot of signs. There was (not?) a particularly warm visit. For example, like, none the very top royals met President Obama at the airport to greet him or to see him off. And then (un?)like the usual state visit, there was no state dinner. It was a two-hour talk and then Obama left and he flew out today.

SIMON: So, those are considered signs that they didn’t get on famously.

KNICKMEYER: Those are early indications that some Saudis think that the government wasn’t really all that happy with the way the visit left. But it’s going in Saudi Arabia, it kind of takes a couple of weeks for the newspapers and other people who are kind of plugged in to really get some of the better word on how it went with the Saudis.

I added in italics what I think Knickmeyer meant to say – otherwise her assertions make no sense. Either she misspoke, or her words were not properly transcribed. You wouldn’t say it was a particularly warm visit, and then follow up with, “none the very top royals met President Obama at the airport to greet him or to see him off.”  Also, when she said, “like the usual state visit, there was no state dinner,” It’s safe to assume she said, or meant to say “unlike the usual state dinner…”

An AP White House Correspondent reported on March 28 that the pre-scheduled state dinner had been canceled with no explanation as to why.

The decades-long alliance between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia has been a pillar of security arrangements in the Middle East. But as U.S. troops have pulled out of Iraq and Afghanistan, the kingdom’s royal family has become increasingly anxious about Obama’s positioning in the region.

Tensions reached a high point last fall after Obama decided against launching a military strike on Syria, choosing instead to back a plan to strip Syrian President Bashar Assad of his chemical weapon stockpiles. U.S. officials say the relationship has improved since then, with both sides making an effort to more closely coordinate their efforts to halt the Syrian conflict.

“We are in a better place today than we were seven months ago,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser.

Beyond Syria, one of the king’s biggest concerns has been the U.S.-led nuclear negotiations with Iran. The Saudis fear Iran’s nuclear program, object to Iran’s backing of the Assad government and see Tehran as having designs on oil fields in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Officials said the nuclear negotiations were a primary topic of Friday’s meeting, with Obama assuring the king that the U.S. was not glossing over Tehran’s other provocations in order to get a final deal.

The president arrived in Riyadh Friday evening, then quickly boarded the presidential helicopter for a 30-minute flight to the king’s desert camp. Obama walked through a row of military guards to an ornate room featuring a massive crystal chandelier and took a seat next to the king, who appeared to be breathing with the assistance of an oxygen tank.

Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice joined Obama in the meeting, his third official visit with the king in six years. While Obama and the king were originally expected to hold a dinner following their meeting, officials said those plans had changed.

The Saudi’s aren’t the only ones who “don’t share state level affairs with the public,” as Ellen Kickmeyer put it.

On March 28, Bill Hennessy reported that the White House did not downplay the schedule change – they tried to deny that one took place at all.

The White House is now denying there was dinner scheduled. They’ve scrubbed all references from the White House web site, they’ve demanded return of printed copies of the schedule (and the state media complied). They’ve even deleted a State Department tweet about the dinner. Before the MSM finishes scrubbing their sites, I grabbed a few screens. Here’s what WaPo said this morning:

wapo-obama-abdullah

 

This is the official explanation an administration flack offered to the press corps, Friday evening.

Q    Just a quick housekeeping thing.  There seems to be some confusion as to whether or not there was supposed to be a dinner after the bilateral meeting.  Can you clear that up?  The State Department actually tweeted out that there was going to be a dinner.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yes, no — there was some discussion of a dinner before we left for the trip, but several days ago, just for logistic reasons and the leaders’ schedules, the decision was made to just have it be a bilat — you know, we were getting in late.  So I wouldn’t read anything into it other than the fact that that decision was made several days ago.  That’s why it wasn’t on the schedule that we put out last night, the public schedule for today.

They were able to have an over two-hour meeting, so they were fully able to cover a lot of ground.  The King was very gracious for this hospitality.

But according to Hennessy, Fox News reported that the State Department’s tweet about the dinner posted Friday was deleted after the White House announced that there was no dinner planned between Abdullah and Obama.

Multiple news sources reported all throughout Friday that there would be a dinner. If the event had been cancelled “several days”  before, it should have been removed from the schedule sooner than the previous night, and an announcement should have been made of the schedule change.

So what we’re left to decide is the usual question that has vexed conservatives throughout the age of Obama. Was the Regime corrupt (because they lied about what happened), or incompetent (because they failed to inform reporters of an important schedule change.)

So what say you? Corrupt or incompetent? Or both?

Linked by Doug Ross and Running From Babylon, thanks!

The Criminal Enterprise Known as the Democrat Party Continued…

The-Democrats

As I noted last week, today’s Democrat party is not the Democrat party of your grandparents (and even if it were, that would be nothing to be proud of – the Dem party has a sordid history of racism, voter fraud, and communist appeasement.)

Now we have a party of corrupt, craven criminals grasping for power in any way they can – lying and defrauding the American public, and silencing dissent – on top of being the party of  racism, voter fraud and communist appeasement.

Here are the next installment of what I think will be a regular feature highlighting the criminal enterprise known as the Democrat party:

Unionized Teachers Refusing To Write Letters of Recommendation Students Need To Get Into College Until They Get A Better Union Contract…

Via EAG News:

Teachers who are upset with union contract negotiations in the Abington Heights School District are taking their frustrations out on students by refusing to write letters of recommendation.

The selfish move, which is a common pressure tactic among education labor unions, will undoubtedly impact the ability of students to apply to college or other post secondary programs, although district officials contend they’re working to address the issue, the Times-Tribune reports.

Union president James Maria told the new site teachers in the district aren’t required to write students recommendation letters, and they don’t plan to until the school board reconsiders its position on retroactive pay. School and union officials have been in negotiations for a new teachers union contract since the last one expired in 2011.

The same people who like to say they are “for the children.” No, these are money grubbing corruptocrats who are only out for themselves.

OFA Stalking Supporters Who Haven’t Donated: “I Know This Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Care”…

Just a tad creepy.

Drew, I know this doesn’t mean you don’t care:

We’ve got our biggest fundraising deadline of the year at midnight tonight.

It looks like you haven’t chipped in yet.

Drew, I know that doesn’t mean you don’t care about fighting for change — we can’t all make a donation every time a fundraising deadline rolls around.

What makes this all work is that supporters like you chip in what you can, when you can. When we each do our part to help, it adds up.

According to our records associated with this exact email address:

– 2014 Membership Status: Not yet
– Suggested Action: Donate $5 or more today.

This is how they treat their friends….

Dem-Appointed Judge Sentences Du Pont Heir To Probation For Raping 3-Year-Old Daughter Because Prison Would Adversely Affect His Life…

Judge Jan Jurden was appointed by former Delaware Democratic Governor Ruth Ann Minner.

Via Delaware News Journal:

A Superior Court judge who sentenced a wealthy du Pont heir to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter noted in her order that he “will not fare well” in prison and needed treatment instead of time behind bars, court records show.

Judge Jan Jurden’s sentencing order for Robert H. Richards IV suggested that she considered unique circumstances when deciding his punishment for fourth-degree rape. Her observation that prison life would adversely affect Richards was a rare and puzzling rationale, several criminal justice authorities in Delaware said. Some also said her view that treatment was a better idea than prison is a justification typically used when sentencing drug addicts, not child rapists.

Did some money change hands? Seeing as the Judge is a Democrat….

Report: Obama Admin Has Released 68,000 Illegal Immigrants With Criminal Convictions Instead of Deporting Them…

Jessica Vaughan, the report’s author, called it a form of “catch and release.” She said agents at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement received more than 720,000 hits on immigrants who could be eligible for deportation but filed charges against fewer than 195,000 of them.

Of those let go, 68,000 had criminal convictions on their records. All told, more than 870,000 immigrants have been ordered removed from the U.S. but are defying the government and refusing to leave.

So what if this endangers the public – you have to break a few eggs to make a permanent Democrat majority.

 New  De Blasio Aide Says She Was “Rooting For” Serial Killer Chris Dorner, Blames Murder Spree On “This Racist, Imperialist Country”…

Via NY Post:

Bill de Blasio’s new mayoral campaign aide is a Twitter terror who has littered the Web site with foul-mouthed rants against everyone from the NYPD to the NAACP.

“NYPD fatally shoot knife-wielding man in Times Square. (VIDEO) F–k. The. Police,” ranted de Blasio volunteer coordinator Kicy Motley on Aug. 11 2012, after cops shot Darrius Kennedy, 51, on Seventh Avenue.

In addition to using gangsta-rap-like language to blast the cops, the campaign aide also slammed the NAACP in January for siding with drink companies against Bloomberg’s soda ban.

“@NAACP aka corporate d–k riders. Standing with soda makers for a few bucks,” she wrote.

In February, she linked to an article highlighting Bloomberg’s pro-gun-control efforts and wrote, “Hey rest of #America, welcome to Bloomberg using his #money to mess up your sh-t.”

She also used Twitter to cheer crazed ex-LAPD cop Chris Dorner, who went on a wild shooting spree across Southern California after claiming he was fired because of racism.

Did De Blasio vet this woman? Of course he did – and they liked what he saw.

CIA Officer Confirms White House Told No Protests Before Benghazi Terror Attack Prior To Susan Rice Blaming YouTube Video…

Yes, still a phony scandal.

WASHINGTON —Before the Obama administration gave an inaccurate narrative on national television that the Benghazi attacks grew from an anti-American protest, the CIA’s station chief in Libya pointedly told his superiors in Washington that no such demonstration occurred, documents and interviews with current and former intelligence officials show.

The attack was “not an escalation of protests,” the station chief wrote to then-Deputy CIA Director Michael J. Morell in an email dated Sept. 15, 2012 — a full day before the White House sent Susan E. Rice to several Sunday talk shows to disseminate talking points claiming that the Benghazi attack began as a protest over an anti-Islam video.

So we now know beyond a reasonable doubt that they blatantly lied to the American people about that. What more –  the corrupt Democrat Media Complex let them get away with it.

SHAMEFUL: REP. JEFF ROORDA COMPARES REP. HOLLY REHDER TO NAZIS DURING DEBATE ON HOUSE FLOOR (AUDIO)

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Roorda read the quote and then asked Rehder, “Who are you coming after next?”

When Roorda was challenged by another Republican for making reference to Nazi Germany, Rooda added, “Lady I never used the word ‘Nazi.’ I hope you don’t think I was comparing you to a 1939-era Nazi German just because you’re doing the same thing that they were.

The shameful comment resulted in condemnation from Speaker Tim Jones.

But of course a Democrat would lash out in such extreme terms at a Republican trying to rein in their corrupt criminal enterprise.

Power Steering: Government Motors Recalling Six Million Plus Vehicles Due to Potentially-Dangerous Defects; No One In Media Asks Where GM’s Top CEO, Barack Obama, Was During All This

Jim Geraghty notes the very underplayed angle here — that the government knew about some of the problems at Government Motors and did nothing, if you can believe such a thing.

Nitrobahn reports:

Seven years ago, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration manager recommended investigating the reason for the non-deploying airbags in General Motors’ 2003-2006 Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion cars. This was revealed in a memo issued by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The chief of NHTSA’s Defects Assessment Division e-mailed other officials in the Office of Defects Investigation in September 2007, saying owner complaints from 2005 and “early warning” data about warranty repairs and injuries justified an investigation. According to an interview between current NHTSA officials and the House committee’s staff, the agency reconsidered after reviewing the data thus deciding not to open a formal investigation.

Geraghty asks: Where the hell is the press? This is not just a GM story; this is a government story. So where the hell are the stories?

 

***

 …even Howie Kurtz’ explanation — he always wants to find non-ideological reasons to explain away ideological bias — itself reveals ideological bias.

He says the press needs “someone to blame” in a story. Apparently, if it’s not clear who to blame, they just have no interest.

Why should “Someone To Blame” be required to generate press interest?

Even if you don’t know who to blame in the Government Motors recall, the story is still worth reporting. You might not know who to blame for the 2005 Thailand tsunami, but the story is still certainly worth reporting.

Let me modify Kurtz’ proposed explanation for something closer to the truth:

When something awful has happened, and it’s not clear that you can blame a Republican for it, or, even worse, that aDemocrat may ultimately be to blame, the press cannot find any interest in reporting the story or asking questions.

The press likes asking questions whose answers they already know. They like asking “Are Republicans to blame?” when they think Republicans are to blame.

As Rush likes to say, the MSM are the “willing accomplices” of the criminal Democrat party.

Democrats are proud of their shock troops in social media. There’s no hate speech like the hate speech lefties spew on Twitter on a daily basis in their relentless attempts to demoralize conservatives.

Take a good look at who these people are:

Ken Jennings ‘quotes’ Andrew Breitbart’s ghost in tasteless Obamacare tweet

‘Hope cancer kills you soon’: Tolerant Left reaches out to Julie Boonstra

Ebony editor assumes RNC staffer Raffi Williams is a ‘white dude,’ tells him to shut up

‘Fake-ass outrage’: Netroots Nation media director Elon James White defends racist Ebony editor