Archive for the ‘Debates’ Category

Benghazi: Hillary didn’t exactly throw herself on her sword UPDATED

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Hillary, speaking from Lima, Peru,

Clinton: I’m responsible for diplomats’ security

“I take responsibility,” Clinton told CNN in an interview while on a visit to Peru. “I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”
But she said an investigation now under way will ultimately determine what happened at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed on September 11.
“I take this very personally,” Clinton said. “So we’re going to get to the bottom of it, and then we’re going to do everything we can to work to prevent it from happening again, and then we’re going to work to bring whoever did this to us to justice.”

Carefully worded, indeed:

  • She alone is in charge of “60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts.”
  • She “takes this very personally”
  • And once the investigation is done [when?],  “we’re going to work to bring whoever did this to us to justice.”

Which brings to mind Tonto’s question to the Lone Ranger, “what do you mean ‘we’ kimo-sabe?”

Of course, the investigation’s not going to come up with anything until well after the election. By inauguration time, no matter who wins (unless the media can blame Romney), Benghazi will be yet another one of those disappearing story lines Jennifer Rubin writes about.

Hillary’s carefully-worded statement is hardly surprising, considering how Bill had the lawyers over the weekend. It is, as Jim Geraghty calls it, The Endless, Empty Refrain of ‘I Take Responsibility’

There’s a strange habit in politics of public figures declaring that they’re “taking responsibility” for something going wrong… but then not following up with any particular action, contrition, or consequence.

Absent from any of this is any kind of clearly outlined and verbalized American foreign policy, something that affects not only Libya, but our own hemisphere, Monroe Doctrine be damned.

The question, Who is responsible for what in Libya? remains unanswered.

But back to Hillary: Da Tech Guy is right on the money, pointing out that Hillary Makes The Smartest Political Move of this Cycle

This is the move of a political master. Consider what this accomplishes:

Seemingly:

It is a statesman like move, going forward and not ducking responsibility in a way nobody has been willing to do.

In Reality:

It covers her, by taking responsibility it heads off all kinds of stories that might come up with a theme of finding fault. Why should congress investigate to pin blame when it’s already been accepted?

Seemingly:

It supports the president, by taking the blame she shields the first Black president both showing herself a good soldier to the party and most importantly to the black community.

In Reality:

It undermines Obama by making her look strong, and him look weak. He is now forced to make some kind of statement second as a response. It’s the 3 AM phone call with her answering while he goes to Vegas.

Seemingly:

It ends press coverage on what the Obama Administration should do next, blame assigned move on.

In Reality:

It doesn’t end coverage it changes it.  What will the president do about this?  It puts Obama in a box.  Blame is assigned so what is the punishment?   If Hillary is responsible does he ask for her resignation, does he fire her? With his electoral prospects already sinking he dare not do either, and God help him if she resigns on her own. It would be another example of her acting while he is paralyzed.  It is the final act of Carterization of the president.

Seemingly:

It makes her vulnerable as every commentator on the right calls for her head in the hope of embarrassing Obama and taking her down a peg.

In Reality:

It gets her in good with the base of her party.  I can see the fundraising e-mails now.  “She’s taken responsibility and those nasty right wingers are piling on”  This will coin money for her.  That doesn’t even take into account how the press will react.

Seemingly:

It hurts  her 2016 election prospects after all she is responsible for an attack on the US on the Anniversary of 9/11 no less.

In Reality:

Not only does this make her look presidential (Expect comparisons to JFK’s Bay of Pigs speech from the MSM)  but it neutralizes her primary opponents on the subject, in fact for the second time in twelve years she will be able to paint herself as the victim of the irresponsibility of a man who should have known better.

Seemingly:

It hands President Romney a ready-made issue in 2016 to use.

In Reality:

It puts Romney in a box.  Every president has foreign policy failures and Mitt will have his share.  Imagine the debate  answer: “President Romney is right.  I was secretary of state during the Benghazi debacle and I took full responsibility for it.  What I would like to know is when the president will take responsibility for (insert relevant issue here)”.  It  will put and keep Mitt on the defensive.

The Bottom line is forgetting all the national security and moral issues involved. Hillary has done the thing that most helps her in the long run while all the time managing to undermine her foes on both the left and the right in one fell swoop.

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right thing to do, it IS but as usual the right thing is generally the smart thing and this was the smartest thing anyone in this administration has done in a while.

This story may continue, but in terms of its negative impact there will be little if any on Hillary Clinton from this point on.

Indeed.

As for tonight’s debate, expect Obama to repeat Hillary’s words, maybe even verbatim. The media will declare him the winner no matter what.

UPDATE,
The Diplomad asks:

The real issue is not whether another inch of concrete, or a few armed guards would have made the difference in Benghazi. Given the size and violence of the attack, I doubt that would have done much. The real issues are what was that facility and what was it doing that was so important given the security environment? Why was the Ambassador there on 9/11?

Even more important, note later on her garbled comments about the key matters, to wit, the attack, the Obama misadministration’s characterization of the attack, and the nature of its response to an attack that went on for some six hours. Nowhere does she say that she contacted the White House, the Libyan government, or that she proposed any particular action. Nowhere does she explain the difference between the statements put out by Rice, Obama, and herself, blaming the attack on a virtually unseen video, and the statements by State and CIA career officers that State never concluded that the attack was the result of an anti-video demonstration gone rogue.

The McCain campaign’s incompetence in handling Sarah Palin

Friday, November 7th, 2008

… and whose brilliant idea it was to keep Palin away from the conservative media while throwing her to CBS?

Nicolle Wallace’s:

Palin was being handled by Nicolle Wallace, a veteran of the hardball politics of the Bush-Cheney campaign (she had been a press-bashing director of communications). Recruited by Schmidt, Wallace had come from a stint as a commentator at CBS. She had the disastrous idea of making Palin available only for a series of high-profile media interviews, and then overprepared her with a cram course of talking points. It was embarrassing to watch Palin grope for answers to Katie Couric’s questions—and thanks to YouTube, more than 10 million voters witnessed it. “She is not a dumb person,” said a senior McCain adviser. “She is an intelligent person, but we made her so uptight.” Some old McCain hands on the campaign were sharply critical of the Bush-Cheney alumni brought onboard by Schmidt. Wallace and the others had not only botched the handling of Palin, in the view of the old McCainiacs; they didn’t understand that McCain needed to be McCain. (Wallace took responsibility, in an edgy kind of way: “I keep trying to get someone to write that it’s my stupid strategy,” she told a NEWSWEEK reporter. “I should be fired. I’ve offered my resignation twice in the spirit of Dwight D. Eisenhower, taking responsibility, and no one will take it.” In truth, Wallace was in a tough place: Palin was no longer taking much coaching from her. Feeling that she had been overmanaged for her one-on-one debut with a network anchor—Charlie Gibson of ABC—Palin had rebuffed Wallace’s help with her Couric interview.)

This was a huge tactical error. Even people like myself, who are not campaign veterans of any kind, remarked on the obtuse stupidity of the move.

Apparently Wallace is now behind the Palin bathrobe stories that I posted about at LadyBlog. Let’s hope Wallace will start a new carreer at the IHOP.

UPDATED
TigerHawk wants Palin in the Senate, taking over Stevens seat.

I disagree. She must build a reputation as an effective, responsible governor. Palin should not only continue to add to her executive/administrative experience as governor, but the stink of Stevens’s indictment would carry over to her if she were to take his seat. Palin should build on her strengths as an outsider to the inside-the-beltway crowd.

Let the Alaskans hold a special election if they must.

Instead, Betsy suggests a plan of action for Palin:

  • Read up on conservative ideas and policies
  • Guest on conservative radio
  • Writing columns on issues rather as Fred Thompson has been doing,
    In fact, I’d recommend that she get to know Fred Thompson better and find a way to couple her energy with his ability to understand and explain conservative positions.

  • Show up at campaigns in 2010
  • And work the Sunday TV talk shows

To Betsy’s suggestions I add that she continue showing up at Larry Kudlow’s show every time he discusses energy policy. Palin would be a wonderful guest at CPAC, for instance, and other conservative venues. She should also help with Republican fundraising, too.

She has proven to be a riveting presence. Now she needs to become a formidable candidate. The choice is hers.

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Checking out the plumber’s references…no time to check ACORN

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Perhaps The Caucus is looking to hire a plumber from Ohio to do work in Manhattan? Otherwise, why have their reporters do valuable investigative work on Joe the Plumber?

The Caucus found that Joe’s not a licensed plumber, which according to Ohio law, Joe only needs for commercial work, not residential work. I guess that means that they won’t be hiring Joe to fix the Grey Lady’s sewer disposal.

Jim Geraghty has a theory different from mine: the NYT’s checking Joe not to offer him a plumber job but instead,

This is the way our opponents operate now. Destroy anyone who stands in your way. Humiliate them. Make sure that anyone else who ever wants to skeptically question Barack Obama knows that every last bit of their dirty laundry will be aired for all the world to see. Bristol Palin, Trig Palin, — hey, it’s all fair game. They’ve got to make an example of them. Show them that this sort of dangerous speech won’t be allowed in the New America.

Nah, surely the NYT wouldn’t, would they?

————————————————————————

McCain’s new ad,

‘Joe the Plumber’ forced to launch a ‘Fight the Smears’ site.

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And the winner of the debate is… Joe the Plumber!

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Joe the Plumber, Joe Wurzelbacher, asks Obama a succint and clear question, and is not favorably impressed by the answer:

Here’s Joe’s name brought up at the debate the first time:
When McCain explains why Joe’s against Obama’s economic plans, notice Obama’s condescending tone to both McCain and Joe: “[Joe]’s been watching some ads of senator McCain’s,” as if Joe doesn’t have enough brains in his mind to judge what’s right for him and his business:

Obama can condescend all he wants, but Joe is still not impressed: “Obama speaks well but talk is talk.”

Joe gets condescension from Ben Smith at Politico, too:

Katie gets the first interview with Joe Wurzelbacher and, like everyone else in America, he talks like a pundit.

Joe probably has a great deal more knowledge and experience in real-life business and economics than most pundits… possibly more than Ben himself.

Joe weighs in: “A sense of family has to be brought back to America as opposed to a sense of entitlement.”

The economy is the central issue right now. No amount of tax increases and income redistribution shell games is going to change that.

And people like Joe realize it. That’s why Joe won last night’s debate.

Rob says, Thank Goodness for Joe the Plumber.

Read The Heritage Foundation’s The Obama and McCain Tax Plans: How Do They Compare?

UPDATE
Welcome, Opinionator visitors! Please visit often.

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Premature elocution

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Moe found at Drudge that the Obama campaign released their debate talking points a tad early. Here they are, in their full glory:

* This is John McCain’s last chance to turn this race around and somehow convince the American people that his erratic response to this economic crisis doesn’t disqualify him from being President.

* Just this weekend the weekend, John McCain vowed to “whip Obama’s you-know-what” at the debate, and he’s indicated that he’ll be bringing up Bill Ayers to try to distract voters.

* So we know that Senator McCain will come ready to attack Barack Obama and bring his dishonorable campaign tactics to the debate stage.

Obama continues to lead on the economic crisis with a rescue plan for Main Street.

* Over the course of the campaign, Barack Obama has laid out a set of policies that will grow our middle class and strengthen our economy.

* But he knows we face an immediate economic emergency that requires urgent action – on top of the plans he’s already laid out – to help workers and families and communities struggling right now.

* That’s why Barack Obama is introducing a comprehensive four-part Rescue Plan for the Middle Class – to immediately to stabilize our financial system, provide relief to families and communities, and help struggling homeowners.

* This is a plan that can and should be implemented immediately.

* Obama has shown steady leadership during this crisis and offered concrete solutions to move the country forward – and his Rescue Plan for the Middle Class builds on the plans to strengthen the economy and rebuild the middle class that he’s laid out over the course of this campaign.

* Already in this campaign, he’s unveiled plans to give 95 percent of workers and their families a tax cut, eliminate income taxes for seniors making under $50,000, bring down the cost of health care for families and businesses; and create millions of new jobs by investing in the renewable energy sources.

* John McCain has been erratic and unsteady since this crisis began – staggering from position to position and trying to change the subject away from the economy by launching false character attacks.

In short, the O campaign’s talking point is that McCain’s “erratic and unsteady”, i.e., nuts.

Any of you doing drinking games during the debate perhaps should consider doing the drinking after the debates as the Dem hacks on CNN, MSNBC et al, parrot the “talking points” over and over. Double shots for every time someone says “erratic“.

You still have a couple of hours to stock up on booze.

UPDATE
Well, it didn’t take long for the NYT to regurgitate

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Listen to Betsy, John

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

In the flurry of speculation and opinion preceeding tonight’s debate, Betsy offers excellent advice for John McCain:
Focus on the economy and how tax increases will affect all of us,

McCain has to be able to explain his proposals for the economy and health care in clear language that also explains how his ideas will affect people. He needs to expose the myths behind Obama’s tax cuts for 95% of people and how it’s really money handouts. Show people that Obama’s math doesn’t add up for all the proposals he has plus his tax cuts. There is no way he’s going to fund that just by taxing the top 5% more.

Especially business taxes, which the US’s are the highest in the world

Point out that taxes on businesses are passed on to customers so we’ll all be paying those higher taxes. And it will affect all of our 401K’s.

And also on how harmful it will be to have all branches of government in the hands of one party,

And McCain should be specific. Talk about Obama’s support for taking the secret ballot away from workers or the money for ACORN that the Democrats wanted to seed into the bailout proposal. Remind people that we’ll never see offshore drilling with Democratic control of the government. Then connect that to people’s gas bills.

This is a particularly important point. You can forget about offshore drilling or for that matter any kind of drilling or exploration of US oil, just as you can forget a strong military under an Obama administration.

Some Republicans may fool themselves into thinking that if Obama comes to power in the middle of a recession and puts through Congress his disastrous policies, the people will then turn to the Republicans in the 2010 Congressional elections as they did during the Clinton years and turn the ship of state around towards conservatism. Allow me to make a prediction:


That’s not going to happen.


The Republicans lose, and they’re going to be out of the game years, possibly decades. One can even wonder, permanently?

For starters, back in the days of Newt Grinwrich’s Contract With America, Newt had been building a large network of support for years, with clear issues. There is a complete lack of leadership among Republicans and they have NOT, I repeat, have NOT come up with anything near a “Contract With America”.

Additionally, the media and academia are busy building a myth of Obama, the likes of which we’re only starting to see. Bush Derangement Syndrome will continue for many many years to come. The Dems will blame every darned thing on Republicans and nobody other than perhaps the bloggers (IF the internet is not censored by then) will have the hardheadedness to contradict the meme. It will not matter that the Democrats created the subprime mortgage disaster; it will be blamed on the Republicans, and if there’s a worldwide depression it will be blamed on the Republicans. Look at how the Dems have completely obliterated the reality of the Civil Rights Movement era: the Republicans are seen as “racist” on every turn.

The cult of personality is such that Howard Stern, of all people, illustrated the blind support for Obama in this exchange (h/t GoV):

School books are already out with pages of praise for Obama. Do you think that will stop once he’s president?

The President of the United States not only nominates judges to the Supreme Court, he appoints the Federal judges. Think about it: a liberal majority in Congress, in the Senate, in the federal courts, and in the Supreme Court, too.

You’re looking at all branches of government, the media and academia tightly controlled by one party. A party which is the master of propaganda.

Now, consider the existing voter fraud carried out by ACORN (and ACORN received $800,000 from the Obama campaign): With paperless voting machines, who’s going to investigate when the results favor the stranglehold on power?

And another issue: Who will stop any censorship on the internet, on talk radio, on any dissenting organ? Let’s imagine one scenario like we’re seeing now: The president of the world, as Obama sees himself, wants to be seen as a friend of the world, and a socialist country doesn’t want a website owned by one of their nationals to be hosted by a server in the US? What do you think Obama’s position will be? What do you think McCain’s position would be?

Listen to Betsy, John. The game’s a lot bigger than just tonight’s play.

UPDATE
Welcome, Vodkapundit readers. Please visit often.

Posting on ACORN today, RightWing Sparkle

As I was saying, straight from Kos:

I’ve been making the case the last couple of weeks that we can’t just focus on winning in November, but that we have an imperative to take advantage of a historic opportunity to break the conservative movement’s backs and crush their spirits. In the White House, that means getting Obama a broad popular and geographic mandate for change. In the House, that means annihilating the Republican caucus and working toward a 100-seat Democratic majority. In the Senate it means getting to a 60-seat filibuster proof majority.

Go read Ace’s whole post.

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You call that a debate?

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Let me get this straight:

Nothing on abortion.
Nothing on corruption.
Nothing on immigration.
Nothing on guns.
Nothing on courts.
Nothing on voter fraud.

Nothing on Wright, Ayers, Dorn, Rezko, Auchi.

And Tom Brokaw moderating? The pastor did a better job.

John Hawkins has a reaction roundup.

Show of hands

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Creative Minority Report has a hilarious video of how CNN counts a show of hands.

Here’s the video:

He asks,

Now, does she forget that we can see her? Or does she think we can’t count?

Yes, and yes.

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Biden’s big lie, and his 13 14 21 22 other lies

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

UPDATE
Scroll down for lies #15, #16-22, #23

Biden’s big lie:

Ace posted Biden’s 14 lies, of which the one above is #2:

JOE BIDEN’S 14 LIES TONIGHT

1. TAX VOTE: Biden said McCain voted “the exact same way” as Obama to increase taxes on Americans earning just $42,000, but McCain DID NOT VOTE THAT WAY.

2. AHMEDINIJAD MEETING: Joe Biden lied when he said that Barack Obama never said that he would sit down unconditionally with Mahmoud Ahmedinijad of Iran. Barack Obama did say specifically, and Joe Biden attacked him for it.

3. OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING: Biden said, “Drill we must.” But Biden has opposed offshore drilling and even compared offshore drilling to “raping” the Outer Continental Shelf.”

4. TROOP FUNDING: Joe Biden lied when he indicated that John McCain and Barack Obama voted the same way against funding the troops in the field. John McCain opposed a bill that included a timeline, that the President of the United States had already said he would veto regardless of it’s passage.

5. OPPOSING CLEAN COAL: Biden says he’s always been for clean coal, but he just told a voter that he is against clean coal and any new coal plants in America and has a record of voting against clean coal and coal in the U.S. Senate.

6. ALERNATIVE ENERGY VOTES: According to FactCheck.org, Biden is exaggerating and overstating John McCain’s record voting for alternative energy when he says he voted against it 23 times.

7. HEALTH INSURANCE: Biden falsely said McCain will raise taxes on people’s health insurance coverage — they get a tax credit to offset any tax hike. Independent fact checkers have confirmed this attack is false.

8. OIL TAXES: Biden falsely said Palin supported a windfall profits tax in Alaska — she reformed the state tax and revenue system, it’s not a windfall profits tax.

9. AFGHANISTAN / GEN. MCKIERNAN COMMENTS: Biden said that top military commander in Iraq said the principles of the surge could not be applied to Afghanistan, but the commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force Gen. David D. McKiernan said that there were principles of the surge strategy, including working with tribes, that could be applied in Afghanistan.

10. REGULATION: Biden falsely said McCain weakened regulation — he actually called for more regulation on Fannie and Freddie.

11. IRAQ: When Joe Biden lied when he said that John McCain was “dead wrong on Iraq”, because Joe Biden shared the same vote to authorize the war and differed on the surge strategy where they John McCain has been proven right.

12. TAX INCREASES: Biden said Americans earning less than $250,000 wouldn’t see higher taxes, but the Obama-Biden tax plan would raise taxes on individuals making $200,000 or more.

13. BAILOUT: Biden said the economic rescue legislation matches the four principles that Obama laid out, but in reality it doesn’t meet two of the four principles that Obama outlined on Sept. 19, which were that it include an emergency economic stimulus package, and that it be part of “part of a globally coordinated effort with our partners in the G-20.”

14. REAGAN TAX RATES: Biden is wrong in saying that under Obama, Americans won’t pay any more in taxes then they did under Reagan.

Phyllis posted on Palin as Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington, but I see it more of The Farmer’s Daughter’s story line. Not from the romantic story point of view, but from the point of a woman of integrity going into politics.

The McCain campaign needs to have Palin EVERY DAY from here to the election out in front, on TV, on radio, and on the trail. Every day.

Andy McCarthy has excellent advice for the McCain campaign:

The thing to bear in mind, and for the McCain campaign especially to bear in mind, is that Palin is weakest where she is shackled to McCain. Loyalty is big in my book, and Sarah is duly mindful of the opportunity McCain has given her — she’s loyal. But when it comes to the base McCain must galvanize — the base that loves her and is suspicious of him — she’s more valuable to McCain when she doesn’t sound like she’s reading his script.

I’ll add links to this post during the day.

Others posting on the debate:
The Winner Is…
VP Debate analysis: Palin hits home run
Rosie the Riveter clones Harry Truman, doggone it, scores knockout below words
Joe Biden’s 14 Lies
Biden’s command of the facts
Democrats: Party of the White Flag of Surrender with video:

“Everyman?”
Did Katie Couric win the election for John McCain last night?
Sarah Palin scores

LIE #15
Joe Biden’s alternate universe, via Instapundit,

In Thursday night’s vice presidential debate between Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin, Biden said the strangest and most ill-informed thing I have ever heard about Lebanon in my life. “When we kicked — along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, “Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don’t know — if you don’t, Hezbollah will control it.” Now what’s happened? Hezbollah is a legitimate part of the government in the country immediately to the north of Israel.” [Emphasis added.]

What on Earth is he talking about? The United States and France may have kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon in an alternate universe, but nothing even remotely like that ever happened in this one.

Nobody – nobody – has ever kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon. Not the United States. Nor France. Not Israel. And not the Lebanese. Nobody.

As commenter Steve points out,

The most wack statement was his insistence that he wanted NATO to go into Lebenennon and that this was an obvious idea that he and Barak supported…I had no idea what he was talking about.

Lies #16 – 21:
National Review

The Constitution
Iraq-Afghanistan spending
Violence against women act
Restaurant
Arms control treaty
West Bank elections
Pakistani weapons

Adding throughout the day.

Regarding the West Bank elections, Charles posts,

not only did Biden confuse the West Bank and Gaza, he blatantly lied when he said that Barack Obama did not support the Palestinian elections that put Hamas in control of Gaza.

When it rains, it pours: #23

Biden wrongly claimed that McCain had said “he wouldn’t even sit down” with the government of Spain. Actually, McCain didn’t reject a meeting, but simply refused to commit himself one way or the other during an interview.

Update, Saturday 4 October
The lies Biden told

goes to it.

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While I watch the debate, you can watch the Obama channel

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

I have the pleasure of watching the debate with my son. It really puts some perspective, after a very busy day and a barrage of news on politics and the economy, to come back from a local function and be able to enjoy a quiet evening at home with my son, who’s a very insightful and intelligent young man. He wanted both of us to watch the debate together. I am honored to.

Palin’s doing great.

While Biden drones on and on, I’ve been browsing some of my favorite blogs and came acress a bit of news from The Anchoress:

Hey, when you need to buy your own satellite channel, you need lots of bucks.

Say what?

The Obama channel

Channel 73 on the Dish Network is now The Obama Channel.

And what does it play?

The channel plays his two-minute ad laying out his economic plan on a loop, over and over.

Since variety is the spice of life, they added

Thursday, viewers said, the Obama channel started airing a wider variety of Obama content than just his two-minute ad, including other ads and the video that introduced him at the Democratic National Convention.

Between ads and the DNC video, they also play this one (h/t GoV):

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