In his January 8 Washington Times column, Washington Times' editor emeritus Wesley Pruden accused President Obama of "first treating" the attempted attack on a Northwest Airline flight as "merely an amusing story" and falsely claimed Obama described the event as "an isolated incident."
From Pruden's January 8 Washington Times column:
After first treating the Detroit panty bomber as if it were merely an amusing story ("an isolated incident") that an airline passenger could dine out on for a few days, President Obama is giving a good imitation now of a man getting a late education. Maybe the education will take. It's too soon to say. He said late Thursday that he won't fire anybody. "Ultimately, the buck stops with me. When the system fails, it's my responsibility."
FACT: Obama did not describe the attempted terrorist attack "an isolated incident"
Obama has repeatedly described incident as "attempted terrorist attack," and at no point has described the attack as "an isolated incident." In his first public statements on the incident, Obama described the event as an "attempted terrorist attack," and an "attempted act of terrorism." The following day, Obama again described the incident as an "attempted terrorist attack," as he did on December 31, 2009, while discussing the attempted attack. During his January 2 weekly address, Obama spoke of the "attempted act of terrorism aboard that flight to Detroit on Christmas Day." He described it as an "attempted terrorist attack" on January 5 and as the "failed Christmas terrorist attack" on January 7. At no point in his public remarks has Obama described the attempted attack as "an isolated incident."
FACT: Right-wing media have distorted Obama's remarks to claim he blamed attacks on "an isolated extremist"
Kilmeade claimed in his "original statements" Obama didn't make "clear" that attempted attack "was a plot," not "an isolated extremist." Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed that in his January 5 remarks, Obama "contradicted himself" because in "[h]is original statements the day, three days after the attack was, an isolated extremist would have had no chance against an alert citizenry, to paraphrase. He now made it clear this was a plot, we're at war, it wasn't an isolated extremist."
In fact, Obama discussed "those plotting against us" before highlighting the actions of "courageous citizenry" against "an isolated extremist." In his original December 28, 2009 response to the attack, Obama never suggested that the attack was not a "plot." Rather, he said, "We do not yet have all the answers about this latest attempt," adding, "[t]hose plotting against us seek not only to undermine our security, but also the open society and the values that we cherish as Americans. This incident, like several that have preceded it, demonstrates that an alert and courageous citizenry are far more resilient than an isolated extremist." From Obama's December 28 address:
Third, I've directed my national security team to keep up the pressure on those who would attack our country. We do not yet have all the answers about this latest attempt, but those who would slaughter innocent men, women and children must know that the United States will more -- do more than simply strengthen our defenses. We will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us, whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia, or anywhere where they are plotting attacks against the U.S. homeland.
Finally, the American people should remain vigilant, but also be confident. Those plotting against us seek not only to undermine our security, but also the open society and the values that we cherish as Americans. This incident, like several that have preceded it, demonstrates that an alert and courageous citizenry are far more resilient than an isolated extremist.