Finding humorous, ironic or jaw-dropping information about President Barack Obama and what goes on around the White House is like shooting fish in a barrel. Most of the bits of information are buried in other stories, given short shrift by the mainstream media or not reported at all. This page will regularly look at some of those glimpses, which you probably haven't seen elsewhere.
Among the gems contained in left-wing Politico's recent invitation to "10 leading historians" to pontificate on President "Obama's rank in the pantheon of American presidents" is this one from Jeremy Mayer of George Mason University, who looks into the future to find "Obama was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Hillary Clinton." Other historians -- no one mentions "debt," "deficit" or "unemployment" -- opine he would have been even more successful except for the "fierce blow back from the Republican right," that his presidency offered a "pattern of good intentions waylaid by a polarized and uncooperative Congress" and that he "will be remembered as a president who, with the best of intentions, tried and failed to end stark, acrimonious polarization in Washington." All this three years before his presidency ends. Can you guess on which political side the historians butter their bread?
Five years ago last week, President Obama signed into law the $830 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus. Peddled as a way to keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent, it proved ineffective, if not worse, when 2009 became the first of four years in a row when unemployment averaged more than 8 percent. But, according to the Wall Street Journal, what was billed as a raft of shovel-ready jobs to put people to work did include $783,000 for a study of why young people drink malt liquor and smoke marijuana, $219,000 for a study of college "hookups" and $92,000 for costumes for mascots like Bobber the Water Safety Dog for the Army Corps of Engineers.
Charles "Chuck" Barkley, the former NBA star, recently interviewed President Obama for TNT. During the interview, Obama was answering whether or not he liked the term "Obamacare" instead of the Affordable Care Act. During the interview, he swerved into this:
What he said: "We'd like to encourage more young people to sign up, partly because since they're healthier, their premiums are actually generally going to be fairly cheap. They can find good options for less than their cable bill, less than their cellphone bill. And it's just part of growing up."
What he meant: We've got to have you young people sign up because, while you're healthy and not making many claims into the system, you'll be paying the freight for all the old, sick people. And, uh, while what you'll pay per month may be about what you pay for your cable or cellphone, don't forget that, um, cable bills go up sometimes. It's all part of our plan to call the shots for you from cradle to grave.
On a recent trip to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, President Obama, showing French President Francois Hollande an area of the home where no other visitors were allowed, opined, "That's the good thing as a president, I can do whatever I want." So it was not out of character when the president, according to the New York Times, stopped HBO head Richard Plepler at the state dinner for Hollande and asked him for advance copies of "True Detective" and "Game of Thrones" to "watch over the holiday weekend," the newspaper said. Evidently, recent snowstorms had made golf impossible.
President Obama talks a lot about income equality but apparently doesn't say it very loudly in the White House. Female White House staffers typically earn 12 percent less than male staffers, according to Mark J. Perry, a scholar at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. The president likes to say publicly that women make 77 cents to every dollar men make, a statistic not borne out by a report prepared for the Department of Labor, but in the White House they average $65,000 to men's $73,729, according to a recent report in the Washington Examiner.
Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., recently introduced Vice President Joe Biden at a Democrat caucus retreat in South Carolina.
What he said: Joe Biden "might be the most important vice president in history."
What he meant: Joe Biden might be the most important vice president in history of the two if he's standing next to Dan Quayle.