But Can He Shoot a Pirate in His Pajamas?

The jury is still out on just how presidential the president will be if the phone rings at 3 a.m.
The jury is still out on just how presidential the president will be if the phone rings at 3 a.m. (By Gerald Herbert -- Associated Press)
By Al Kamen
Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Some ardent conservatives, even Rush, have taken to praising President Obama for "a great job" in his handling of the rescue Sunday of captain Richard Phillips from pirates in the Indian Ocean.

And Democrats were quick to argue how the successful Navy SEAL mission showed that Obama's opponents during the election campaign -- who raised obvious questions about his scant record of handling crises, especially international ones -- were wrong.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, in response to media requests for a "tick-tock" of Obama's actions, e-mailed reporters key action points showing "the president's deliberate, methodically [sic] efforts." Most showed him staying on top of events.

But while the operation -- and Obama's giving the order to fire if necessary -- turned out to be successful, it isn't likely to quell the bickering or dispel every last concern, for a simple reason: All of Obama's decisions appear to have been made either during daylight or early-evening hours. We still have no evidence of what he would do with the dreaded 3 a.m. phone call.

After all, he didn't do much, except go back to sleep, when press secretary Robert Gibbs woke him at 4:30 a.m. to tell him the lunatic North Koreans had launched a missile. (Must have figured it was going to be a failure.)

FOCUSING ON THE FESTIVE

Speaking of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, peacemaking is always foremost at Foggy Bottom. So on Monday, as the Thai military was out there crushing protesters, she sent this message:

"On this, the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year, it is my great pleasure to wish the people of the Kingdom of Thailand a Happy Songkhran holiday. The United States and Thailand have shared a special friendship for over 175 years. As you celebrate this three-day festival, I offer you the best wishes of all Americans that you and your families may have a joyous and peaceful Songkhran."

Not too joyous for the protesters, with two dead and at least 100 injured. Things were more peaceful yesterday, as it appeared the anti-government folks had surrendered.

ARRGH, SAID A SOURCE

Seems even pirates speak on background nowadays, judging from this wire story:

"MOGADISHU, April 10 (Reuters) -- Somali pirate sources said on Friday that the Norwegian-owned, 23,000-tonne MT Bow Asir tanker captured at the end of March would be released shortly after a $2.4 million ransom was agreed with its owners.

" 'After much bargaining, my friends reached a $2.4 million ransom deal with the Norwegian ship held near Hobyo,' a pirate in nearby Haradheere port told Reuters."

The pirate was "on background" maybe because he did not want to be quoted talking about internal deliberations, was not authorized to speak about sensitive matters, could not talk about personnel issues, or any and all of the above.


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