Jay Reding.com

Liveblogging Obama’s Iraq Address

I’ll be liveblogging President Obama’s address to the nation on the topic of Iraq. This will be a new kind of liveblog for this site. Updates will happen automatically, there’s no need to refresh the page. Don’t forget to read about Obama’s record on Iraq. After the speech, I’ll be assembling some commentary from around the blogosphere.

You can also follow the liveblog on my Twitter feed if you are so inclined.

9:08 am

The more childish the MSNBC set gets, the more you know that your arguments are right.

 
9:07 am

Looking at the instant reactions from the left on Twitter, it shows that picking Ryan was the right choice.

 
9:00 am

Based on the MSNBC reaction, it looks like the left is worried.

 
8:59 am

The Obama campaign wants this to be a values election – but the Romney campaign wants that too.

 
8:57 am

Now the talking head at MSNBC is saying that Ryan undercuts Romney’s message on the economy. Again, really?

 
8:56 am

Watching MSNBC is like looking through the window into the alternate universe from Fringe…

 
8:55 am

Yup, MSNBC is talking about foreign policy. Talk about grasping at straws here.

 
8:54 am

And Rachel Maddow is attacking Paul Ryan for not having served in the military. Really?

 
8:53 am

Switching to MSNBC to see how the far left is reacting.

 
8:53 am

In four years it’s gone from hope and change to fear and defending the broken status quo.

 
8:52 am

Obama has to go on the attack to win – but doing that destroys his 2008 mystique.

 
8:51 am

Obama won in 2008 because he said he would be better than a typical politician. Now he’s just another political hack.

 
8:51 am

Romney and Ryan are offering substantive critiques of this administration. Obama is making wild accusations.

 
8:50 am

It shows just how childish they are in this campaign.

 
8:49 am

I love how the left is making fun of Romney for introducing Paul Ryan as President instead of VP.

 
8:47 am

The electoral math would have favored Portman or Rubio. But Romney made the right choice with Ryan.

 
8:47 am

Ryan’s speech shows why he’s a rising star with the GOP.

 
8:45 am

What the GOP needs badly is new blood and someone who can bring conservative principles to the undecided. Ryan does both.

 
8:44 am

Ryan is hitting all the points he needs to hit. Smart and substantive.

 
8:43 am

Our rights come from nature and God, not government. – Exactly right, and why America is exceptional.

 
8:42 am

Ryan draws an optimistic contrast to the record of the last four years. That is what Romney must do to win.

 
8:40 am

It is clear that Romney is not going to run away from his Bain record. And he shouldn’t. He saved thousands of jobs.

 
8:40 am

So far Ryan is very impressive. But the real test will be when he goes one-to-one against Biden.

 
8:38 am

Ryan is going against the new normal – this is a powerful line against the way the last four years have unfolded.

 
8:37 am

But Ryan’s critique of Obama is smart and substantive. That’s what voters need to hear in this race.

 
8:37 am

Whatever the excuses, this is a record of failure. Ryan’s playing the traditional attack-dog role.

 
8:36 am

Debt, doubt, and despair – how Ryan characterizes Obama’s first term in office. Quite accurate.

 
8:35 am

The CW was that Romney would not pick someone who could outshine him. The CW was wrong.

 
8:34 am

And already the Obama campaign is taking their potshots at Paul Ryan: http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/08/obama-camp-takes-first-shot-at-ryan-131750.html

 
8:33 am

One thing for sure: Paul Ryan will not be thrown off his game in interviews like Sarah Palin was.

 
8:33 am

Will this put Wisconsin in play? I would be skeptical, but Ryan represents a swing district.

 
8:31 am

Ryan is a great public speaker. He has a natural sense of cadence, a key skill for a politician.

 
8:30 am

Romney had announced that Ryan would be President rather than Vice President. I’d be OK with that… in 2020.

 
8:30 am

“Every now and then I’m known to make a mistake” – nice moment for Romney.

 
8:28 am

A note on optics: having a candidate descend stairs to get to the lectern is inviting disaster…

 
8:28 am

Ryan is now taking the lectern. Air Force One is playing in the background again. Still love that music…

 
8:27 am

Lots of talk about the middle class in Romney’s speech – contrasting against Obama’s narrative that Romney doesn’t care about the middle class.

 
8:26 am

Getting America back to work is going to be a frequent theme for the Romney/Ryan campaign in this cycle.

 
8:23 am

“He doesn’t demonize his opponents.” – In contrast to our current President, who does.

 
8:23 am

Romney is talking about Ryan’s personal narrative – which is something Romney needs to do more for himself.

 
8:22 am

Mitt Romney resembles the Platonic form of an American politician. Which in some ways works against him.

 
8:20 am

The music announcing Romney is the theme to Air Force One. Absolutely inspired choice.

 
8:20 am

McDonnell’s speech is very spirited, but going on a bit too long. He is announcing Romney now.

 
8:19 am

So, how long before @BarackObama and his campaign accuses Paul Ryan of giving someone cancer? I say no more than a week.

 
8:12 am

Even though the Ryan pick is based on the economy, holding the event there reminds voters of American strength.

 
8:11 am

The optics of holding the announcement on the USS Wisconsin are very interesting.

 
8:10 am

Bob McDonnell is introducing the candidates. McDonnell is the governor of Virginia and a rising GOP star.

 
8:03 am

It is interesting that Romney didn’t go with Rob Portman, who would have helped Romney in the key swing state of Ohio.

 
8:01 am

It will be very interesting to see the polls on how @PaulRyanVP effects the race. Ryan is not well known now.

 
7:58 am

It is interesting that the Ryan pick was more about reinforcing Romney on the economy than filling in foreign policy chops.

 
7:53 am

Fox News is replaying Rep. Ryan at the ObamaCare meetings. It shows how good he can be challenging the President.

 
7:51 am

George Allen is speaking at the event – he’s locked in a close race for the Senate in Virginia.

 
7:49 am

As a policy nerd, picking @PaulRyanVP seems like a very smart move.

 
7:48 am

Obama’s most effective attack lines were that Romney had no plan, and that he was just repeating Bush. That attack is much harder to make with Ryan as #VP.

 
7:44 am

The pick of Paul Ryan could not be more different than the pick of Sarah Palin in 2008, but the effect on the base will likely be the same.

 
7:44 am

Romney and Ryan seem very well matched, which is crucial for having a coherent campaign team.

 
7:43 am

Excerpts of Ryan’s speech can be found here – http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/excerpts-ryans-speech_649757.html

 
7:42 am

Paul Ryan will speak shortly – excerpts are already appearing online.

 
7:39 am

Despite the claims that Paul Ryan’s budget plan is radioactive, a Greenburg/Carville poll showed it polling at 52% in swing districts.

 
7:36 am

@PaulRyanVP already has 7,000 followers, and the announcement was made in the early morning on a weekend…

 
7:35 am

Already, Paul Ryan has an official Twitter account for his VP position – @PaulRyanVP

 
7:32 am

The official announcement is taking place at the USS Wisconsin, docked in the key swing state of Virginia.

 
11:52 pm

The government is stating that bin Laden’s body will be treated according to Islamic customs. Which I hope involves having his head mounted on a pike at the top of the new Freedom Tower in lower Manhattan while the rest of his body is slathered in pig fat and fed to a pack of dogs. Sadly, he will get far more respect from his enemies in death than he ever showed in his life.

 
11:42 pm

The Pakistani government was not informed of the raid before it took place. That’s not surprising – Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, has long been suspected of being in bed with al-Qaeda.

It is also being said that the compound where bin Laden was hiding was constructed five years ago and was made specifically for him. That strongly suggests that at least some elements of the Pakistani government knew that bin Laden was hiding in their country.

It was never really doubtful that bin Laden was in Pakistan, but it’s surprising that he was so close to the Pakistani capital. Then again, there were always rumors floating about that bin Laden was hiding in an urban area rather than the desolate mountains and rivers of the Afghan/Pakistan border.

 
11:36 pm

Allegedly, this was the location of bin Laden’s hideout. It seems too close to the center of town to be right, but it does match the general description of the site.

 
11:22 pm

Marc Ambinder is reporting that the former Seal Team Six performed the operation with help from unmanned drones and helicopters.

Bin Laden was hiding in a large walled estate 80 miles outside Islamabad in the town of Abadabad.

 
11:16 pm

Reports are that President Obama received several briefings over the past few weeks on bin Laden, and gave the go-ahead for the operation on Thursday, April 29th.

 
11:14 pm

Sources are saying that Navy SEALs were involved with the operation near Islamabad.

 
11:11 pm

Thus also demonstrates that despite all of our impressive technology, the deadliest tool in the American arsenal is the US soldier.

 
11:09 pm

If bin Laden was so close to Islamabad, it does suggest that he had a great deal more operational control of al-Qaeda than previously thought. His death could be more momentous than just a moral victory against al-Qaeda.

The other good aspect of this is that what’s left of al-Qaeda has got to be running scared. Now Ayman al-Zawahiri is the most wanted man in the world, and if we can nail bin Laden, he’s certainly not safe.

 
11:00 pm

I never would have predicted that bin Laden would have gone down like this. That we’d actually get him in a firefight, face-to-face. I always figured that we’d have taken him out in a drone strike or he would have died in a cave somewhere. To know that he died knowing that the US was closing in on him is utterly fitting.

I hope he died in abject fear.

 
10:57 pm

Another thought: according to the President, the US had intelligence that Osama bin Laden was near Islamabad since August. It’s shocking that Osama would not have moved in eight months. It’s a sign that he was getting sloppy, and that undoubtedly helped us finally get him.

 
10:54 pm

The story of how this was pulled off has got to be incredible. The sheer amount of skill needed to pull off a covert op in the middle of Pakistan and kill the most wanted man in the world without a single casualty is just amazing.

 
10:53 pm

From one of my Facebook friends: they should take bin Laden’s body back to the US and charge to kick him in the balls. Budget deficit solved. I’d be in line for that.

 
10:47 pm

The President’s speech faltered at first, but he found the right voice and the right tone at the end.

 
10:45 pm

The President’s speech ended on a wonderful note of American unity. A very strong end to a historic speech.

 
10:44 pm

“Today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of the American people.” Very much so.

 
10:43 pm

There’s nothing more just than an evil man meeting his well-deserved end.

 
10:42 pm

The President is striking the right tone now. “Justice has been done.” Indeed it has.

 
10:41 pm

No US casualties in the operation that led to bin Laden’s death. Damn good work.

 
10:40 pm

Apparently the killing of Bin Laden occurred today, and was accomplished by US Special Forces.

 
10:39 pm

President Obama’s speech is not reaching the Churchillian heights I’d hoped for. It sounds like a policy speech, and Obama is stumbling on some phrases. So far not a line that’s worth remembering.

 
10:35 pm

Obama is speaking now.

 
10:34 pm

There are hundreds of people outside the White House now. Remember the “Arab Street?” This is the American street.

 
10:31 pm

Awaiting President Obama, expected to speak shortly.

 
10:30 pm

CBS is reporting that bin Laden was not killed in a missile strike, but was “shot in the head.” Exactly the ending the bastard so greatly deserved.

And to whomever pulled that trigger, thank you.

 
10:27 pm

This may be the most important speech Obama gives. He has a reputation for great oratory—now more than ever he’ll have to live up to it.

 
10:26 pm

Politically, this helps Obama. But the political calculation doesn’t really matter now. This is a good day for America. This is a good day for civilization itself.

 
10:25 pm

There is a risk that this event may destabilize the Pakistani government. And because Pakistan is a nuclear state, there’s a huge risk of nuclear weapons falling into terrorist hands. Hopefully the military and intelligent community have been preparing for this announcement.

 
10:23 pm

Sources are saying that Osama was killed in a “ground operation.” The CIA’s fingerprints are all over this.

 
10:20 pm

They’re singing the national anthemn outside the White House… beautiful.

 
10:16 pm

Time for celebratory glass of Scotch…

 
10:13 pm

Outside the White House, chants of “USA, USA!”

 
10:12 pm

President Obama was to speak an hour ago, but hasn’t appeared yet. On a momentous occasion, finding the right words can’t be easy.

 
10:29 pm

Kristi Noem has a narrow lead over Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin in SD. In ND, Earl Pomeroy was pummeled by Rick Berg. The Dakotas appear to be reflecting their Republican orientation in these House races. But watch Noem. In 2002, John Thune narrowly lost to Tim Johnson because of Democratic votes in the reservations of western South Dakota.

 
10:26 pm

Nate Silver is seeing a 75-seat GOP gain in the House as a possibility. I don’t think it will actually be that high, but even a 60-seat swing is a big move. Remember, the 1994 Republican Revolution was a swing of 54 seats. Tonight’s results are bigger than ’94, at least on the House side.

 
10:22 pm

Pat Toomey looks like he will win. Same for Mark Kirk in IL. That gives the GOP another 2 Senate seats. It also means that President Obama’s old Senate seat is now occupied by a Republican. Schadenfreude, baby…

 
10:17 pm

Bobby Schilling has defeated Phil Hare in IL-17. This is one of the more symbolic races of the night. It was a district that went for Obama by a significant margin, and Hare hasn’t run a competitive race in years.

 
10:11 pm

Ugh, a power outage may delay results in the Nevada Senate race.

 
10:09 pm

Unsurprisingly, California is looking to be a Democratic blowout. Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman spent millions to win, but the simple fact is that anyone with half a brain has already fled California for greener pastures. California’s likely to become a Greek-style economic basket-case in the very near future.

 
10:04 pm

Looks like Toomey was able to pull it out, running ahead of Sestak by about 32,000 votes. I am surprised that it was that close, especially when the other races were such blowouts for the GOP.

 
9:21 pm

The PA Senate race is looking dire for the GOP. Pat Toomey has been consistently ahead in the polls, but is not pulling ahead. If Toomey loses, that will be quite a shock.

 
9:19 pm

It’s looking like Ron Johnson will defeat Russ Feingold in WI. This was not a race that was on the radar screens of political pundits a few months ago. It goes to show what kind of a wave election this is.

 
9:18 pm

It’s interesting – the House is a bloodbath for Democrats, but the Senate is looking rocky for Republicans. CO and IL are both not looking good for Republicans.

 
9:06 pm

The Senate race in CO is looking bad for the Republicans. Ken Buck made a lot of stumbles in that race, and that may be hurting him in key districts.

 
9:04 pm

I love all the announcements that John Thune is projected to win in SD-Sen. Thune was unopposed.

 
9:01 pm

The Star Tribune has declared Betty McCollum the winner in MN-04. Her opponent, Teresa Collett was a professor at my law school. It’s too bad she lost, as she is smart as a whip and would make an excellent elected official. Sadly, MN-4 and MN-5 would elect a dead rat if it had a D next to its name.

 
8:53 pm

The early Senate returns in CO, IL, and PA are all leaning Democrat, but that’s probably due to reporting from larger urban areas.

 
8:49 pm

The next set of interesting elections will be the WI Senate race, where Russ Feingold is likely to lose, and the IL Senate race, where Republican Mark Kirk is doing well in key districts.

The chances of a GOP Senate are basically nil right now, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some interesting Senate races out there tonight.

 
8:41 pm

I’m embarrassed for VA-08. Jim Moran amply deserved to lose. So military service is not public service? Really? Really?!

 
8:40 pm

Christine O’Donnell is giving her concession speech. I’m sorry, but the woman is just vapid. Should be talking about Senator Castle tonight.

 
8:31 pm

Sadly, Sean Bielat wasn’t able to defeat Barney Frank. He was always a longshot, but it would have been nice to see Frank out of office.

 
8:28 pm

Marco Rubio looks very Presidential tonight.

 
8:22 pm

In NH-01, Carol Shea-Porter has lost. The GOP is definitely steamrolling the House vote tonight.

 
8:20 pm

Joe Manchin is speaking in West Virginia. He may be a Democrat, but he will be a VERY conservative Democrat.

 
8:18 pm

CNN says that the GOP will win at least 50 seats tonight. Could it get up to 60?

 
8:15 pm

Fox News has also called the House for the GOP. Again, no surprises there.

 
8:13 pm

I’m watching the SD-AL race closely. Moderate Democrat Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin is in a close race with Republican Kristi Noem. So far Herseth-Sandlin is ahead, but by only 3%.

 
8:10 pm

NBC is predicting that the GOP will retake control of the House.

The question isn’t whether the GOP will take the House, but just how many seats they will pick up.

 
8:07 pm

Rand Paul is giving his victory speech. Will he give a shout-out to Aqua Buddha?

 
8:03 pm

A bunch of projections are coming in. No surprises there. The GOP gains one more Senate seat as John Hoeven is elected to the ND Senate seat.

 
8:01 pm

VA-02 goes to the Republicans. Another sign of a big night for the GOP.

 
8:00 pm

The polls in Minnesota are about to close, along with 13 other states.

 
7:54 pm

Alan Grayson has lost to Daniel Webster in FL-08. Grayson was the one who said the the Republican’s plan for health care was to have people die faster. Good riddance to him.

The GOP gains in the House are looking very impressive.

 
7:47 pm

Todd Young defeating Baron Hill in IN-09 is another sign of a big night for the GOP. My 55-seat prediction might very well be on the low side.

 
7:46 pm

More good news for the GOP. Rick Boucher has been defeated in VA-09. So far, most of the House races are going towards the GOP.

 
7:40 pm

I said that if WV goes to the Democrats, it probably means that the GOP can’t take the Senate. And the networks are starting to call the WV Senate race for Manchin. Both CNN and NBC have called it for Manchin.

But in good news for the GOP, the Republicans have won in IN-08, another bellwether race for tonight. The Senate may be out of reach, but this could be a very good night for the GOP in the House.

 
7:36 pm

Fox News has called the VA-05 race for the Republican. This is one of the bellwether races tonight. The Democrats had spent a lot of time and money supporting Tom Perriello, and it didn’t prevent him losing.

 
7:34 pm

CNN is also calling it for Blumenthal in CT, and Richard Burr in NC. Neither of these races are a surprise. Linda McMahon ran a competent campaign, but she had a tough job in convincing voters to elect a former wrestling CEO and Republican in a deep blue state. Even Blumenthal’s fabrications about having served in Vietnam wasn’t enough to sink him.

 
7:31 pm

Also, in SC01, Tim Scott, an African-American Republican has won.

In the least shocking moment of the race. CNN has called the AR Senate race for John Boozman. Blanche Lincoln was a dead woman walking since the health care vote. Good riddance to her.

 
7:30 pm

Sandy Adams beat out Suzanne Kosmos in FL-24. Good, Kosmos was one of the incumbents I was hoping would get soundly trounced.

 
7:23 pm

Still looking at the VA races, which will be bellwether races for GOP control of the House.

 
7:08 pm

Marco Rubio won in FL – which means that the GOP has another major star in its ranks.

 
7:07 pm

Christine O’Donnell is not a witch; she is toast, however.

 
6:55 pm

Unsurprisingly, Rand Paul won in KY. There’s no shock there.

Word is that the exit polls are not showing good results for the GOP in the WV Senate race. But after 2004, putting faith in exit polls does not seem wise.

 
6:52 pm

WV Senate is too close to call. WV is a bellwether race for this evening. If Raese pulls it out, the Republicans will be having a very good night.

 
6:50 pm

It’s official — Rob Portman is the next US Senator from the state of Ohio.

 
5:45 pm

Polls have closed in parts of KY and IN. There are some key races in those states, although the Senate races in both are almost surefire GOP wins. Rand Paul is well ahead in the KY race, and Dan Coats will cruise to the Senate against Brad Ellsworth.

 
6:24 pm

I’m ending the liveblog for now. Click here to see some post-speech reactions from across the blogosphere.

 
6:20 pm

This was a speech that sounded very much like something Bush would have given. Again, I mean that as a compliment.

 
6:19 pm

“Our troops are the steel of our ship of state.” I love that line.

 
6:18 pm

Obama seems to be getting a bit emotional describing the casualties of this war. As anyone would be. It’s very humanizing.

 
6:17 pm

The stuff about a new GI Bill is nice, but how to pay for all of it?

 
6:15 pm

The economic stuff seems tacked on and artificial. The Iraq section was quite good, but this part doesn’t live up to the tone that Obama set earlier.

 
6:13 pm

Obama’s transitioning to the economy. This makes sense, to a point, but it’s a jarring transition.

 
6:12 pm

The problem with Afghanistan is that it’s much less developed than Iraq was. Afghan civil society is nowhere near what Iraq’s was, even after decades of Ba’athist rule.

 
6:11 pm

This is a speech I could see Bush giving. And I mean that as a compliment.

 
6:09 pm

President Obama gives a nice tribute to President Bush. That’s quite classy, but will piss off the left to no end. I like it for both.

 
6:09 pm

So far this is one of the most Presidential addresses that Obama has given.

 
6:08 pm

“Iraqis are a proud people. They have rejected sectarian war.”

 
6:07 pm

All U.S. troops to leave by the end of next year, pursuant to the Status of Forces Agreement.

 
6:06 pm

“Our combat mission is ending. Our commitment to Iraq’s future is not.” Let’s hope that’s true.

 
6:06 pm

The emphasis on the Iraqi people is good. This wasn’t just a victory for us, it was a victory for the people of Iraq. We did this together.

 
6:05 pm

No, Mr. President, this wasn’t your campaign promise. The withdrawal date was set before you became President. It was in the 2008 SOFA.

 
6:04 pm

“Tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended.” Operation Iraqi Freedom is over.

 
6:04 pm

The President’s tone in regard to the troops is exactly what’s needed here. He came close to blaming Bush, but didn’t do so directly.

 
6:01 pm

Will talking about Iraq now make Obama seem out of touch? By focusing on Iraq, does it make the President look like he’s not concentrating on the economy?

 
6:00 pm

The speech should begin shortly.

 
5:58 pm

I’m guessing that ratings will be low for this speech. It’s the middle of summer, and people are more concerned about the economy than Iraq.

 
5:53 pm

This is only the second time Obama has addressed the nation from the Oval Office. The first time was in response to the Gulf oil spill.

 
5:52 pm

ABC News has excerpts from tonight’s speech on Iraq. President Obama will be speaking from the Oval Office.

 
5:46 pm

Just a reminder, you don’t need to refresh this page. You should be able to get updates automatically. Obama’s speech will begin in about 15 minutes, at 8PM EST/7PM CST.

 

Post-Speech Reactions

This was a workmanlike speech that was delivered well. What’s striking about the speech is how much President Obama sounded like President Bush. Some of the rhetoric was downright stirring. I’m (obviously!) disinclined to like the President, but I found myself mostly liking this speech.

But the weakest part was the part discussing the economy. For one, it was a digression from the topic of the speech. And for another, it was too generic to mean anything. What does Obama intend to do about the economy? Because what’s been done so far hasn’t exactly done much good.

Stephen Green drunkblogged the speech and found it rather bland, other than some stirring rhetoric. I’m not so sure that it was that bad—the President let himself show just a crack of emotion, which helps him.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) found Obama’s speech to be “awkward”.

Apparently Rachel Maddow is positively livid that President Obama had anything good to say about President Bush. I have to admit, if Obama’s pissed off Maddow, that makes me like him more.

Lawprof William Jacobson distills Obama’s speech into one sentence.

At The Daily Kos, praise for the economic section of the speech. What’s interesting about that section is how mushy-mouthed it really is? Exactly what is meant by the President’s desire to “strengthen the middle class?” It’s a boilerplate phrase, which is probably why some want to read more into it than is actually there.

Off-topic, but tonight’s liveblogging was brought by this great liveblogging plugin for WordPress. It’s a great plugin, and the Twitter integration was a definite plus. I highly recommend it.

In speaking of Twitter, the speech wasn’t even one of the trending topics. I’m not sure very many people were paying attention to it.

Jonah Goldberg found much of the speech to be “offensive.”

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