Right-Wing Media Refuses To Concede That White House Wasn't Responsible For "Branding" Of AZ Memorial

››› ››› FAE JENCKS

Despite numerous reports debunking the claim that the White House was responsible for distributing t-shirts with the slogan "Together We Thrive" at the memorial for victims of the shooting in Arizona, the right-wing media continues to push the claim, now citing a three-year-old post on the public blog of the Obama campaign's Organizing for America website that made use of the phrase "together we thrive."

Name, Logo, And T-Shirts At Event "Were Done Entirely By The University"

UA Spokesman: "The Name Of The Event And The Logo For The Event Were Done Entirely By The University." According to a January 12 PolitiFact article debunking the claim that the White House "branded" the Arizona memorial:

The Drudge Report subsequently ran a headline atop its web page, "Political Theme, T-Shirts at Memorial?" It linked to an AP photo of "Together We Thrive" T-shirts draped over the back of chairs before the memorial service at McKale Memorial Center on the University of Arizona campus.

But officials at the University of Arizona said the White House had nothing to do with the name or the logo.

"The name of the event and the logo for the event were done entirely by the university," said Johnny Cruz, a spokesman for the University of Arizona. "Branding of the event was not done in consultation with the White House, or any elected officials or political organization."

The T-shirts were also the university's doing, Cruz said.

"That was the university's idea," he said. "We wanted to give people something to remember, to symbolize the community spirit."

The university bought the shirts without the use of taxpayer dollars, although he wasn't sure if the cost was borne by donations.

"Almost everything was done by the university," Cruz said, including selection of the location for the event and planning the agenda. Once the president accepted an invitation, he said, the White House helped coordinate some logistics, such as security, but that was the extent of the White House involvement.

And "Together We Thrive" was conceived by a University of Arizona student, he said. [PolitiFact.com, 1/12/11, emphasis added]

Right Wing Media Use Obscure OFA Blog Post To Link Obama To "Branding" Of AZ Memorial

Conservatives Highlight 2008 Posting Titled "Together We Thrive" On Organizing For America's Community Blog. From a February 11, 2008, posting written by John Berry IV on Organizing for America's Community Blogs:

Together We Thrive

By John Berry IV - Feb 11, 2008 12:49:37 AM ET

For too long Americans have been set one against the other, it is a side affect of a free market society. How can profits be maximized, how can I get the work done for the lowest possible costs. This continually sets one group against the other, especially in the blue collar sectors of America. It has become a part of the American Business model, whether it was indentured servants, slaves picking cotton, sharecroppers, the industrious people that built the railroads or todays migrant workers. As long as we remain divided, fighting for the scraps that America has to offer it will be one group against the other.

What I see in Obama is a chance for a revolution. A chance for every group to participate and be heard; A chance to live the American dream that has been denied to so many. Together we can and will change the world and return America to the shining beacon of Hope and Prosperity that we were and that we can be again. Only when we work together do we accomplish feats that rival any ever accomplished in the history of mankind. Diversity is our strength, that is what this campaign brings us a promise of. For many this is a scary prospect and thought, getting to know someone different from myself. We all want the same basic things for example a safe place to live, health and a quality education for our kids.

In a previous career, I was the global leader of Diversity for a global fortune 500 corporation, I have studied the affects of diverse groups working together and the results can not be denied. Together we Thrive!!!!!!!!!!! [Organizing for America, John Berry IV's Blog, 2/11/08]

RedState: "There Is Little Doubt That Whoever The White House's Crisis Campaign Manager Was Who Picked The 'Together We Thrive' Theme Could Not Have Read The Posting Below The Title." From a January 14 blog post by LaborUnionReport posted on RedState.com:

The Tucson event was billed as a memorial to those wounded and those slain on Saturday by a deranged Marx-reading madman. While the President appeared to do his best to set a tone of reconciliation to the divisiveness and rancor his supporters and the media had caused (and are still causing) throughout the week since the shooting, the origin of the "Together We Thrive!" slogan was revealed to be nothing more (and nothing less) than a theme stolen from the Obama for America 2008 campaign--and, more importantly, the message behind the posting was one of those Marxist, Collectivist dribblings that is the cause of so much criticism from the Right over the past two years.

[...]

Given that the theme was so easily identified as being part of the OFA blog back in 2008, there is little doubt that whoever the White House's crisis campaign manager was who picked the "Together We Thrive" theme could not have read the posting below the title. This means that the White House is okey-dokey with the anti-free market message, as well as the references back to indentured servitude and slavery. There is nothing "healing" in that message. [RedState, 1/14/11]

Hoft: It Is "Utter Nonsense" That The White House Had Nothing To Do With Planning The "Tucson Pep Rally." From a January 14 post by Jim Hoft on his blog, Gateway Pundit: "The White House wants you to believe that they had nothing to do with the planning of the Tucson pep rally this week even though the president, the First Lady and several top members of Congress attended the event. Of course, that's utter nonsense. Every shooting memorial needs a special T-shirt." Hoft then linked to John Berry IV's 2008 OFA blog post titled "Together We Thrive." [Gateway Pundit, 1/14/11]

Geller: "The Obama Pep Rally For The Dead Seems To Have Been Orchestrated By His Community Organizing Machine, OFA." From a January 15 post by Pamela Geller on her blog Atlas Shrugs:

In what could only be called a new debased low even for the left, the Obama pep rally for the dead seems to have been orchestrated by his community organizing machine, OFA (Organizaing for America).

I started to liveblog it on Wednesday here: The Cheering in Arizona.

I am watching Obama give what appears to be a campaign speech in Arizona. Call me old fashioned, but the Arizona memorial event was more like a sporting event than a memorial service. The wolf whistles, the whooping and hollerin' for Obama, Big Sis Napolitano, Holder (?) et al is making my skin crawl.

I stopped writing after that. I did not continue. I was repulsed and sickened at the spectacle of the political exploitation Obama and co. had manufactured, at a university, no less, where he could count on a generation of zombies whose brains have been marinated and pickled in a leftist primordial soup for the whole of their education/indoctrination.

Obama making his bones on the bones of the Arizona dead. [Atlas Shurgs, 1/15/11]

Geller later updated her post, linking to a blog post on Zilla of the Resistance that Geller claims provides "the O-history of the repulsive sloganeering." The January 14 post claims that "Together We Thrive" was "a slogan from Obama's 2008 campaign that was used on OfA's website, prior to 'Yes we can.'"

BigJournalism: The Slogan Originated "From President Obama's Campaign Organization Organizing For America." From a January 15 blog post on Andrew Breitbart's BigJournalism written by Ken Larrey:

Did it seem odd to you that even the Fox all-star panel would have us believe that the President with the most micromanaged image in recent memory had no control or influence whatsoever over the preparation, format, and tenor etc. of the commercialized, pep rally memorial we witnessed this week, and that the White House can blame the embarrassment entirely on the University of Arizona? The entire event was about Captain Greek Columns - who gave a half hour speech - and his time to shine and show off his magical healing abilities.

"Togethere We Thrive" sure sounded a lot more campaign like than memorial like. Usually the themes for memorials - assuming they're meant to feature those we're supposedly remembering - are not about "thriving" or "prospering" or anything of that sort. It was a jarring oddity. Now we have an idea where it came from. Not only did the slogan for this Obama 2012 campaign kickoff, "Together We Thrive," originate from President Obama's campaign organization Organizing for America, but it was the title of a post calling for revolution:

[...]

But worst of all is that according to Judi McLeod of the Canada Free Press, at the bottom of the t-shirts is the DNC slogan "Rocking America and Rocking the Vote."

Here's what McLeod reports:

University of Arizona brass did not originate the "Together We Thrive" T-shirt. They merely recycled it for Obama--and recycled it in time for what should have been a dignified Memorial for the dead.

If you were a mourner who took home a "Together We Thrive" T-shirt have a look at the bottom of your shirt. "Rocking America and Rocking the Vote" is a common theme of the DNC, and it's right there on your Memorial T-shirt memento.

Welcome to the era of Obama, where cheering and standing ovations, for the first time in history, became part of the Requiem for the Dead.

If that is true - and it should be easily verifiable as thousands of people now possess those shirts - I'm not sure how that will be explained; the University of Arizona distributed and reportedly purchased the shirts - but not without the knowledge or approval of the President's team. They can't simply be unused Obama campaign T-Shirts (though that would be bad enough) because they specifically say "Tucson and America" on them. I can't wait to hear the explanation on this one, but at the very least, if it is true that those T-Shirts had that DNC "rocking the vote" slogan on them, don't you dare try to blame this whole disgraceful event and the T-Shirts solely on the University. [BigJournalism, 1/15/11]

Rush: 'Together We Thrive' Theme "Was Obama Endorsed." From the January 14 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: It turns out that Together We Thrive comes from the Organizing for America website, which is Obama's website. It was written by John Berry, B-E-R-R-Y, the fourth, John Berry's blog "Together We Thrive," February 11, 2008. So they reheated -- they reheated an old idea. They -- the whole point of this was a pep rally or a political rally for Obama. And, anyway you go back and you looks at the speech again and he says all of these wonderful things followed by 'but.' 'We shouldn't blame...but and I think we have a great thing ... but' and so forth. He didn't tie himself to anything.

"For too long Americans have been set one against the other. It is a side affect of a free market so--." This is - this is from the BarackObama.com page, John Berry, this is the Organizing for America web site on February 11, 2008. Coming up on three years ago. Three years ago, they revived. "[...] How can profits be maximized, how can I get the work done for the lowest possible costs. This continually sets one group against the other, especially in the blue collar sectors of America. It has become part of the American business model, whether it was indentured servants, slaves picking cotton, sharecroppers, the industrious people that built the railroads or today's migrant workers. As long as we remain divided, fighting for the scraps that America has to offer it will be one group against the other. What I see -"

That, that, that's on Organizing for America. This is from an Obama website during the campaign in 2008. "Fighting for the scraps that America has to offer." This is Obama endorsed. "For too long Americans have been set one against the other. It is a side affect of a free market society." And this was the pep rally theme for this brilliant oratory and really smart and articulate nothingness of a speech.

[...]

LIMBAUGH: So this guy, John Berry IV: "What I see in Obama is a chance for a revolution. A chance for every group to participate and be heard; A chance to live the American dream that has been denied to so many. Together we can and will change the world and return America to the shining beacon of Hope and Prosperity that we were and that we can be again. Only when we work together do we accomplish feats that rival any ever accomplished in the history of mankind. Diversity is our strength, that is what this campaign brings us a promise of. For many this is a scary prospect and thought, getting to know someone different from myself. We all want the same basic things for example a safe place to live, health and a quality education for our kids. In a previous career, I was the global leader of Diversity for a global fortune 500 corporation, I have studied the affects of diverse groups working together and the results can not be denied. Together we Thrive." February 2008, Organizing for America.

So, don't doubt me. The pep rally, complete with Medicine Man - we all know what the purpose of that was too, gotta have some religion in there, but let's not go too far. That was brilliant too of Obama, don't you think? So we have delaying for the polls and waiting for the t-shirts to get printed with the new logos. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 1/14/11, emphasis added]

Posts On OFA's Community Blogs Are Not Endorsed By The Obama Campaign

Postings On Organizing For America's Blogs Are Not "Endorsed Or Approved By The Campaign." A disclaimer on Organizing For America's Community Blogs homepage reads: "Content on blogs in My.BarackObama represents the opinions of community members and in no way should be interpreted as endorsed or approved by the campaign." [Organizing For America, accessed 1/16/11]

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