In 1996, the late, great New York Times columnist William Safire published a column, “Blizzard of lies,” in which he laid out a series of falsehoods by Hillary Rodham Clinton and declared “Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady — a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation — is a congenital liar.”
Today, Americans of all political stripes are coming to a similar, sad realization about our president. A recent Fox News poll asked Americans “How often does Barack Obama lie to the country on important matters?” Thirty-seven percent said “most of the time,” 24 percent said “some of the time,” and 20 percent said “only now and then.” Just 15% said “never.”
Think about that: 81 percent of Americans believe that Obama lies to them at least “now and then” on “important matters.”
That is simply stunning.
These Americans are right. The latest evidence came when The Post revealed that on Friday, April 20, 2012, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan came to White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler with a specific, credible allegation of misconduct by a member of the White House advance team in Cartegena, Colombia.
According to The Post, he informed Ruemmler that there was evidence that Jonathan Dach registered a prostitute into his room at the Hilton Cartagena Hotel shortly after midnight on April 4. That is specific. And he told Ruemmler that Secret Service agents on the ground had information suggesting the same. That is credible.
Yet three days later, on Monday, April 24, then-presidential press secretary Jay Carney told the American people from the White House podium: “There have been no specific, credible allegations of misconduct by anyone on the White House advance team.”
Carney’s statement was flat untrue.
Carney further declared that “out of due diligence, the White House counsel’s office has conducted a review of the White House advance team and . . . came to the conclusion that there’s no indication that any member of the White House advance team engaged in any improper conduct or behavior.”
Really? Between Friday and Monday they examined all the evidence, interviewed all the witnesses and confirmed that those allegations were completely untrue? Did that weekend review include the actual copies of the Hilton hotel records, which, The Post reported, showed that a prostitute had registered into Dach’s room at 12:02 a.m. April 4? The records even included a photocopy of a woman’s ID card.
So why did Carney tell the American people there were “no specific, credible allegations” when he knew there were? And why did he say that the White House initiated its own investigation “out of due diligence” when he knew it was in response to evidence brought forward by the Secret Service?
Because there is a culture of deceit in the Obama White House — a serial willingness to say things that are untrue to protect the president.
Think about some of the falsehoods this White House has told the country:
They told Americans that no one at the White House edited the Benghazi talking points to blame the attack on an Internet video — until it came out that Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes had urged Susan Rice “to underscore that these protests are rooted in and Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy.”
The president repeatedly told Americans that no one would lose his or her doctor or health-care plan — until it later emerged that White House policy advisers had urged him to drop the line but “were overruled by political aides.”
Obama told Americans that there was “not even a smidgen” of corruption at the Internal Revenue Service (while the investigation was still underway) — but then it was revealed that there had been a spontaneous combustion of hard drives among IRS officials under investigation.
Add to that White House spokesman Josh Earnest’s false claim that Obama “wasn’t specifically referring to” Islamic State when he called them JV terrorists . . . or Obama’s false assertion that the sequester was “not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed” . . . or his false claim that “7 million Americans . . . have access to health care for the first time because of Medicaid expansion.”
The list goes on and on.
One falsehood can be a mistake. Two are troubling. But three, four, five or more in a row? That is a pattern of deceit. Or, in the immortal words of William Safire, a “blizzard of lies.”