In her July 9 Wall Street Journal column, Kimberley Strassel falsely claimed that there are "contradictions between" union official Tom Balanoff's testimony in former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial and White House Counsel Greg Craig's investigation into the administration's interaction with Blagojevich. Strassel claimed that Craig's conclusion that Obama "had no contact of communication with Governor Blagojevich or members of his staff about the Senate seat" contradicts Balanoff's testimony that Obama had discussed with him his belief that Valerie Jarrett would make a good Senator. However, as Media Matters has noted, this is not a contradiction, as Balanoff was not a member of Blagojevich's staff.
From Strassel's column:
Consider the trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, which is sucking in most of the president's Chicago intimates. The threat to the White House isn't that Mr. Obama will be accused of wrongdoing. The threat is that the trial offers evidence for a growing view that Mr. Obama isn't so much "new politics" as a typical Chicago pol.
We've already seen a hint of the threat. Among the many accusations against Mr. Blagojevich is that he sought to sell Mr. Obama's old Senate seat. Mr. Blagojevich appeared particularly interested in naming Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett in return for a cabinet post or a union job.
When the scandal broke after the 2008 election, the incoming administration scrambled to distance itself from its old Chicago crew. Greg Craig, future White House counsel, was tasked with an internal investigation and dutifully reported that "The President-Elect had no contact or communication with Governor Blagojevich or members of his staff about the Senate seat." Moreover, the president-elect "did not actively seek" to put Mrs. Jarrett in that post. Nothing to see here, folks.
Nothing to see save top union official Tom Balanoff, who last week took the stand in Chicago. Mr. Balanoff testified under oath that the night prior to the election, he was called by Mr. Obama. "Tom, I want to talk to you with regard to the Senate seat," said the future president. According to Mr. Balanoff's testimony, Mr. Obama laid out two criteria for who he'd like to see get the post--good for Illinois, electable in 2010--and then noted that Mrs. Jarrett certainly met those two criteria. Mr. Balanoff testified that he then assured Mr. Obama he'd "reach out to Gov. Blagojevich."
This is a Barack Obama the White House would prefer the public not see.
The White House, trying to tamp down a scandal, has flatly refused to discuss contradictions between the Balanoff testimony and the Craig report. Its bigger concern should be that the trial begins to cast a new and unflattering light on this administration.
From the June 19 edition of Fox News' Journal Editorial Report:
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Following the announcement that President Obama agreed to issue an executive order reaffirming that the recently passed health reform bill maintains current law on federal funding for abortion, conservative media continued to falsely claim that the bill contains federal funding for abortion. In fact, the bill bans federal funding for abortion except in cases currently allowed under the Hyde amendment: rape, incest, and conditions that endanger the life of the pregnant woman.
In a Wall Street Journal column, Kim Strassel wrote that Massachusetts Senator-elect Scott Brown "turned his Senate bid into a referendum on President Obama's health plan" and baselessly claimed that "[a] big reason only 25% of Massachusetts voters strongly approve of ObamaCare" is because their own universal health care program "bombed." In fact, a recent poll shows that a majority in Massachusetts support the 2006 state plan; moreover, Brown had argued during the campaign that since the state already passed health reform, it would not benefit from a national plan.
Kimberley Strassel falsely claimed President Obama "decreed" that debate over Sonia Sotomayor "be a discussion primarily about Judge Sotomayor's biography, not her qualifications." In fact, in his speech announcing Sotomayor's nomination, Obama spoke extensively about her qualifications.
Wall Street Journal editorial board member Kimberley Strassel trotted out the oft-repeated falsehood that President Obama is on a "drive to socialize health care," a charge that echoes the baseless attacks conservatives have made against other progressives' health care reform proposals since the 1930s.
Wall Street Journal editorial board member Kimberley A. Strassel claimed that Al Franken "has been manipulating the socks off the Minnesota system ... by litigating back to life absentee votes that had been rejected on Election Day." In fact, any rejected absentee ballot that was counted in the race was approved by the campaigns of both Franken and his opponent, Norm Coleman. Strassel also claimed the recount "took place behind the scenes"; in fact, the public was able to view the recounting of all ballots and attend all canvassing board meetings concerning the recount.
Bret Stephens claimed that "a relatively small, very effective think tank," the Competitive Enterprise Institute, "has been consistently pointing out the flaws in some of the political conclusions that have been reached" about global warming. But contrary to Stephens' assertion about the quality of CEI's work, Media Matters has documented that two of CEI's television ads contained misleading statements about global warming.